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New Mercedes-AMG G 63 2024 review: a step forwards, but it’s far from perfect

The Mercedes-AMG G 63 struggles to match the Bentley Bentayga and Range Rover in this price bracket

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

Clever new suspension is a big step forward for the Mercedes-AMG G 63, making it feel like a performance SUV capable of embracing bends for the first time. Other updates include welcome new tech and a power boost, although the plus points of excellent off-road ability and lovely cabin quality are countered by tight rear-seat space and some questionable on-road manners. 

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While the whole Mercedes-Benz G-Class line-up has had a mid-life refresh, it’s the G 63 that is the main support act to the all-new electric G-Class.

Because while there’s a new G 500 petrol engine, and a very sensible G 450 d that’s been given an extra 37bhp to take it up to 362bhp, the range-topping Mercedes-AMG G 63 also gets a clever new suspension system that should bring a huge step up in on-road ability. 

All G-Class models, including the AMG, get a series of minor updates to welcome the model’s mid-life status, including some very minor cladding to help airflow and some new wheel designs, but it’s nothing you’re going to spot unless they’re parked side by side. There’s also a 20bhp increase in power thanks to new 48V mild hybrid tech, which chips a tenth of a second off the 0-62mph time, taking it down to 4.4 seconds.

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On the inside there are bigger changes. Keyless entry, wireless phone charging and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto all make an appearance for the first time, along with updated infotainment housed in the same big 12.3-inch screen, and a new steering wheel with Mercedes’ slightly irritating raft of touch-sensitive buttons that are easy to hit by accident. But at least the AMG gets a chunky sports steering wheel.

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The thing that transforms the G 63, and unfortunately only the G 63 because it’s not available on the rest of the line-up, is the new AMG Active Ride Control suspension.

While Mercedes reckons the all-new car back in 2018 brought a big step in the day-to-day useability of what was traditionally a pretty agricultural premium SUV, the engineers say the latest iteration is a five-fold improvement on the model it succeeds. Hydraulics replace the mechanical anti-roll bar, and the result is a G-Class that you’re happy to push through corners instead of approaching them with caution. 

The new suspension system is designed to reduce body roll in particular, and it gives confidence to approach bends at speeds that would have been somewhere between scary and stupid before. It’s not a complete miracle worker – bumps and ripples in the road are still an Achilles heel, and there’s a bit of forward-to-backwards pitching – but everything is a lot more composed with this update. 

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Were you to be bold enough to try a bit of rapid off-roading in your very expensive performance SUV, it’s more World Rally Car than Dakar truck on gravel tracks. And all the while, the ludicrous (in a good way) side-exit exhaust pipes impersonated a tiger going from low purr to aggressive growl as the revs rise. 

The G 63 is everything it always was, including ridiculously expensive. It kicks off at almost £185,000, and the top-spec Magno Edition model eases up over £203,000 on the road. That’s a heck of a lot of money for a car that does as much poorly as it does very well; rear-passenger space is way below the Range Rover or Bentley Bentayga you could have for the same money, for example. 

But the G 63 is distinctive and iconic, and has a worldwide following very little else can match. It’s massively improved but still dynamically flawed - mainly due to Mercedes’ insistence that it needs to be this brilliant off road as well as on it. But it certainly makes for a car with character to match its price tag.

Model:Mercedes-AMG G 63 4Matic
Price:£184,595
Powertrain:4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo petrol
Power/torque:577bhp/850Nm
Transmission:Nine-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:4.4seconds
Top speed:137mph
Economy/CO2:19.1mpg/335g/km
Size (L/W/H):4,873/2,187/1,971mm
On sale:Now
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As Editor, Paul’s job is to steer the talented group of people that work across Auto Express, Carbuyer and Driving Electric, and steer the titles to even bigger and better things by bringing the latest important stories to our readers. Paul has been writing about cars and the car industry since 2000, working for consumer and business magazines as well as freelancing for national newspapers, industry titles and a host of major publications.

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