2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 Revealed In Advance of Geneva Motor Show
More Torque and a New Look for the Monster SUV
The Mercedes-AMG performance brand officially announced the 2019 G63 today, less than a month after revealing the all-new G-Class in Detroit. And while the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 gets a lot from its more plebian sibling—including all-new bodywork, a substantially revised suspension layout, and a new interior—it also improves upon its predecessor, with more power and torque than before.
Most obvious are the changes to the exterior. Compared to the outgoing G63, the 2019 model is smoother and more polished, with tighter panel gaps and better-integrated bumpers and fender flares. Like the 2019 G-Class, the G63 still retains the nameplate’s signature bodyside molding, fender-mounted front turn signals, exposed hinges, and flat side glass. Like its G550 sibling, expect the G63 to lose weight compared to its predecessor in spite of a longer wheelbase and increased width, thanks in part to aluminum doors and an extensive lightweighting program. And like the G550, the G63 enjoys a 55-percent improvement in torsional rigidity.
However, it eschews the “normal” G’s front grille for a more aggressive, inward-canted opening with vertical chrome bars, a design that is spreading across AMG’s entire lineup. (The grille is inspired by the two Mercedes-Benz 300SL racecars that campaigned in the Carrera Panamericana in 1952, sweeping the race with a 1-2 finish.)
Under the skin, however, is where the G63 gets really interesting. The 2019 model’s 4.0L twin-turbo V-8 gives up 1.5 liters of displacement to the old truck, but with 577 hp, it outstrips its predecessor by 14 ponies. Torque output is even more impressive, with 627 lb-ft available from 2,500 and 3,500 rpm. That’s 66 more than the 2018 G63, with a wide torque curve and reduced lag thanks to the turbos’ twin-scroll design and location within the V-engine’s valley. AMG claims the 2019 G63 will hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, nearly a second quicker than the vehicle it replaces. In a rare-for-AMG nod to prudence and good sense, the brick-shaped G63 is limited to 137 mph or 149 mph when equipped with the optional AMG Driver’s Package.
Mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission and fit with cylinder deactivation, the new engine should also be more efficient than the old one; still, if you’re buying a G63 (or any AMG), you’re probably not too concerned with fuel economy. Nevertheless, the cylinder deactivation program shuts down four cylinders under light loads, with AMG claiming it’s available between 1,000 and 3,250 rpm with the transmission in Comfort mode.
If Comfort is too tame, the AMG-tuned transmission can also swap to Sport or Sport Plus, both of which offer snappier shifts, multi-gear downshifts, and a strange-sounding double-declutching function. As one might expect, the transmission also features Manual mode, with gear changes happening under the direction of the steering wheel–mounted shift paddles.
As on all G-Class SUVs, the AMG G63 gets fulltime four-wheel drive with a selectable low range. In regular driving, the 4Matic system routes 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels, providing a sportier driving experience than the outgoing model’s 50:50 torque split. A much lower reduction ratio (2.93:1, compared to 2018’s 2.10:1) provides greater climbing power, though we’d like to meet the person who buys an AMG-branded SUV for its off-road capability. A new multiplate clutch actuates the center differential lock, while the front and rear differentials are now electromechanically actuated for even quicker response.
Inside, the AMG receives the more pedestrian G-Class’ totally updated interior design, and it looks just as good on the performance model. The G63 gets an AMG Performance steering wheel standard, enhancing the truck’s modern interior design. The D-shaped wheel is covered in rich Nappa leather with galvanized shift paddles, so it should be a delight to grab onto in spirited driving. Integrated control buttons on the wheel activate the infotainment system and other vehicle functions.
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 arrives in the U.S. late this year, with pricing to be announced. It will be formally unveiled in the flesh at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next month, but until then, the company gave us plenty of photos to drool over.