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CARS

Big is better

The Mercedes-AMG G 63 makes the biggest statement in the super hot luxury SUV segment

Mercedes-AMG G 63

IT IS NOT EVERY day that one gets to be behind the wheel of the Mercedes-AMG G 63, unless you are Ranbir Kapoor or Arnold Schwarzenegger or one of those celebrities who proudly own the SUV. Anyway, I did, and what an experience it was! Especially since I was trying to negotiate it through Mumbai traffic for an appointment at Apollo Bandar. Happy to report that I managed to grab this bull (Edition 463) by its four-spoke steering and drive it for almost 80km in the city.

But geez, what’s this ‘G’ that everybody is going gaga over in the Mercedes-Benz’s SUV lineup? The ‘G’ in Mercedes Benz’s G-Class stands for Gelandewagen (German for cross-country vehicle). It could also be ‘G’ for grandiose, or even generous, depending on how you choose to see this vehicle, because the possibilities are limitless with this Rs 2.17 crore (ex-showroom, Mumbai) SUV brought in as a completely built unit. “From strategic decisions of launching global products in India, expanding our dealer network to introducing innovative customer-centric programmes, Mercedes-Benz India has pioneered every aspect of the Indian luxury car industry,” says Roland Folger, managing director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.

The AMG G 63 is not only among the fabled German carmaker’s longest-running models (39 years), but also a hugely popular one with celebrities all over the world. Folger says, “Women customers are increasingly preferring an SUV as they find it enjoyable to drive one.” Kim Kardashian has one; so does Kylie Jenner.

Luxury, gadgets, ability to wade through water and jump a few feet are some of the thrilling reasons why this vehicle seems such an attractive proposition. After all, what is to complain about an SUV that rides on 21-inch tyres and takes just 5.4 second to touch 100kmph. If you want to take this to the Rann of Kutch or do some dune bashing in Rajasthan’s Khimsar, it would make for a great companion. But in cities, you may want to be careful before throwing caution to the wind because even for a second you should not lose sight of the fact that it has a 5.5 litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine mated to an AMG Speedshift Plus 7G-Tronic automatic transmission. And, did I mention that the top speed is electronically limited to 210kmph?

What makes this SUV appealing is its ruggedness, and that is why it has found great use for militaries all over the world. Maybe that is why it continues to be a big hit with the well-heeled and the well-travelled or the “burgeoning aspirational buyers with international exposure,” as Folger says.

Panellists' pick

* Mercedes-Maybach: An extension of the Mercedes S Class, the Maybach defines luxury motoring at its best with rear seat recliners, customised upholstery and the Intelligent Drive features

* Lexus RX: The seven-seater Lexus RX range is all about comfort and convenience. Equipped with a power-fold three-row seat and three-zone climate control, the new models offer a four-year, one lakh-kilometre, maintenance plan

* Porsche Cayenne: Lighter than most other luxury SUVs, the Cayenne offers a good grip on the road, thanks to the Pirelli P-Zero tyres and carbon ceramic brakes. The standard model comes with a turbocharged 3.0-litre turbo V6 engine and self-levelling air suspension

* Land Rover Range Rover Evoque: If you are looking for a highly personalised SUV, this is the car you must check out. Offering a range of body styles—three-door coupe, convertible or five-door hatchback—the Evoque is compact, fashionable and highly pragmatic