From supercar to supreme cruiser, our reviewers sample some of the latest and greatest from the automotive world, starting with the Mercedes-AMG G 63
Rain; hail; wind; floods. The north European summer offered it all this year. So, we decided to do a country drive with a difference by calling on the AMG G 63. If you have been to a big metropolis recently, you will have seen these, often driven by gentlemen from major oil-producing regions (and we don’t mean Norway). Don’t let that put you off, though, as the G 63, cartoonishly tall and square with rounded-off corners, is a cool-looking bit of design.
The details are even cooler. Doors have been engineered for the opposite of ‘soft-close’: they need to be shut with a slam, and make a satisfying whump on doing so. You have to climb onto a sill to get into the car, and the noise on start-up sounds like a dozen hungry Rottweilers.
But this is not a car only for poseurs. Its passengers agreed it was the most comfortable SUV they had sat in (and these are connoisseurs of the high-end SUV). Smoother than a Lamborghini Urus, less floaty than a Rolls Cullinan, and utterly distinctive and fun.
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The same could be said for the driving: bumbling out of London, it felt like driving a very nicely engineered small house. A fast one, too, as putting your foot down reveals comical acceleration, aided by well controlled suspension that doesn’t lean too much, but also doesn’t bump you around, either. A very hard trick to get right and one which most manufacturers of fast SUVs don’t manage.
Once we were in the countryside, and since this was a road trip in supposedly one of the most adept off-road vehicles in the world, we had to resist the temptation to head off across the fields to test its abilities. We suspect the car would have been fine (it was even wearing Scorpion all-terrain tyres!), the farmers less so.
Fortunately, it rained on our country hotel retreat. Chewton Glen, in Hampshire, is a hotel that has been around long enough, and been reincarnated enough, that it knows what to do in the rain: big indoor pool with picture windows, big hydrotherapy area (indoors and out), and plenty of salons inside in which to chill out.
But, as the rain poured down, sending mini-streams across the windows and the tarmac, there was only one thing to do. Take the G 63 out along country roads.
To say it was in its element would be a gross understatement. It seemed the car grew even stronger and more grippy in the driving rain. Several centimetres flowing across one part of one road didn’t phase it, with not even a tricky twitch of the wheel; braking and accelerating was not just managed, but done with aplomb.
For us, the most important observation was not on the night of the heavy rains, but ahead of the journey home the next day. This tall, quirky looking, idiosyncratic machine is not just super-fast and capable. It is exceptionally comfortable to be in over long distances, which is something we didn’t expect, and, most refreshing and unexpected of all, it’s genuinely fun to drive.
We expected it to be a hoot in town, due to its height, its power and the way instant reactions have been programmed into its being. As a city car you may wish to take into account its size, height (for car parks) and the attention it commands, most of it good, some of it less so. But it is also a highly enjoyable companion on a long drive. And it still looks super-cool on a run around town, particularly if you place a two-metre-high, two-metre wide man in stubble, wrap-around shades, and a shiny suit with a bulge in the passenger seat.
Find out more: mercedes-amg.com
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue.