There's an inescapable sense of inevitability around the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63. The moment the all-new G-Class debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January, the power-drenched AMG variant was already a foregone conclusion. Officially, anyway, the G63 made its debut at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show, although the company had spilled the beans on its particulars a few weeks before.
Although the new G-Class doesn't look much different from its predecessor, it's dramatically different under the skin. It's a fully contemporary truck carefully made to look like a fossil. Compared to the outgoing G-Class, the new one is hundreds of pounds lighter yet stiffer; there's far more space inside — particularly in the back seat; and its on-road manners have been enhanced through the adoption of a double-wishbone front suspension layout and rack-and-pinion steering. That's right, the old G-Class' solid front axle and recirculating ball steering have been binned.
In creating the G63, the engine bay received the most attention. Gone is the outgoing G63's 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8, replaced with a version of the corporate 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 found in the "lesser" G550 and many other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. However, this engine has been massaged for use in the G63 to generate 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque, some 14 hp and 66 lb-ft more than the old 5.5-liter engine. It's a fully modern powerplant — it packs twin-scroll turbos, a stop-start function, intelligent alternator control, and a cylinder deactivation system that shuts down half of its cylinders in casual driving to improve fuel economy. Like the new G550, the G63 has a nine-speed automatic as the only available transmission.
A revised transfer case imbues the new G63 with a rear-biased torque split, now 40-60 instead of its predecessor's 50-50. The upshot is better traction during hard launches. It helps hurl the 2019 G63 to 60 mph in a claimed 4.4 seconds, some 0.9 second quicker than the old G63. Keep in mind that this is a near 3-ton truck with the aerodynamics of an office park. The G63 remains terrifically silly.
If you accidentally find yourself off-road in the new G63, rest assured it has plenty of hardware to help get you unstuck. It retains the three locking differentials found in the previous G63, while the low range is even lower at 2.93:1 compared to 2.10:1. Never mind that its street-biased, low-profile summer tires have little business touching anything but tarmac. It's available with 21- or 22-inch wheels, each 1 inch larger than those of its predecessor. Did we mention this is a truck? Yes, I believe we did.
Externally, the new G63 differs from lesser models by its revised front bumper, vertical bars in the grille, wider fender lip extensions, and exhaust pipes that poke out forward of the rear wheels. Furthering the cause of enhancing comfort, adaptive dampers replace the conventional units on the existing G63.
Despite the outgoing model's horrid driving dynamics and cramped packaging, its appeal is undeniable — the G-Class enjoys some of the wealthiest and youngest buyer demographics in the automotive industry. As such, in creating the new G63, Mercedes-AMG was shrewd to hew as faithfully as possible to the aesthetics of the old one. You can expect to see the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 in showrooms later this year at a price that's sure to eclipse the $143,795 starting point of the existing model.