Never mind four–wheel–drive. Mercedes–Benz’s luxury–performance AMG division is taking off–road driving to a new level with six–wheel–drive.
Mercedes-Benz has released technical details and photos of a production-ready AMG “6×6” version of its G–Class sport utility vehicle — a pickup truck variant named the G63 AMG 6×6 — which the automaker said it could bring to market quickly if consumers’ interest is strong.
Technically there’s nothing new about the G63 AMG 6×6, Mercedes-Benz said. It is based on a military–spec six–wheel–drive G model that the Australian army has used in various configurations since 2010. Moreover, AMG used only readily available G model parts (both consumer– and military–grade) to build it.
What is unique, however, is this G variant’s combination of AMG tuning and styling with the military–grade drivetrain — a mix that Mercedes–Benz said makes it both sporty on–road and as agile as a caterpillar–track vehicle off–road.
Under the hood is the same 544 horsepower, 5.5-liter twin-turbo V–8 engine that powers the currently available four–wheel–drive G63 AMG. This is mated to an AMG seven–speed automatic transmission and the front–wheel–drive components from the AMG G63. The four rear wheels are driven by components taken from the military–spec 6×6 vehicle.
Helping to drive all the wheels are portal axles also taken from the military–spec parts bin — and never previously used in a “civilian vehicle,” Mercedes–Benz said.
Other noteworthy engineering tweaks include five differential locks that can be engaged while the vehicle is moving; an off–road low–range gear ratio in the transmission’s transfer case; adjustable gas pressure shock absorbers; and a tire–pressure control system. That last feature will quickly inflate or deflate the vehicle’s enormous 37–inch tires while the vehicle is moving.
As giant as those tires are, though, they are not disproportionate.
The G63 AMG 6×6 is massive by any measure. It is more than 7.5 feet tall, more than 19 feet long, and nearly seven feet wide. It weighs nearly four tons. And its ground clearance allows it to drive through more than three feet of water.
Yet all this brawn is balanced by AMG styling and luxury, including carbon fiber trim on the LED light strips above the windshield and for the large flared wheel arches; a stainless steel roll-over bar above and around the flatbed; a bamboo lining in the flatbed; and an interior cabin outfitted in leather and Alcantara, with a carbon–fiber–trimmed center console between two individually adjustable rear seats.
To–date, Mercedes–Benz has built two examples of the G63 AMG 6×6 — one painted white and the other grey.