Mercedes-Benz quite humorously calls its G-Class off-road beast “forever young.” Because it’s been around in essentially the same form since 1979 without much more than a brush-up every now and then, it’s become something of a too-strange-to-live-too-cool-to-die phenomenon for the automaker, cheating death most recently in 2005 when Mercedes introduced the GL-Class, ostensibly to replace it. And yet, the G-Class lives on.
But because Mercedes-Benz finally got the point that the G-Class wasn’t going anywhere, it finally decided to stop worrying and love its military-grade monster. For 2013, the G-Class has gotten much love.
On its North American website, the German automaker posted pictures of its G63 AMG high-performance version. With the refresh, it’s the furthest visual departure a G-Class has had from the standard models since the pope rode in one. The new vehicle differentiates itself with large air inlets adorning its front bumper; AMG-specific wheels, tires, and suspension tuning; and a cubist interpretation of the grille adopted by the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG with two horizontal strips of chrome running from end to end.
Inside, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG looks pretty much like every other G-Class you’ve ever seen, except with an updated steering wheel and center console, carbon fiber trim on the dashboard, and a shifter handle taken straight from the SLS AMG supercar. Standard G-Class models have wood trim and a different shifter.
But, admit it, if you’re looking at a G63 AMG, it’s not necessarily because you simply like the G-Class. It’s because you kinda sorta want to see a three-ton brick defy the laws of physics courtesy of an engine that almost has no place in a vehicle like this. It’s a turbocharged 5.5-liter V-8 that cranks out 544 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque, or more pulling force than most heavy duty pickup trucks have. Power meets the ground via a seven-speed automatic.
Because of its low-volume, hand-built nature, the G63 AMG won’t come cheap when it arrives at dealerships this August, with a starting price of $124,450. But you probably already knew that, as its not considerably more than the outgoing 500-horsepower model.
If you can’t get your hands on Mercedes-Benz’s uber-ute now, however, the automaker recently said it’ll keep the assembly lines open til at least 2020 when you’ll still be able to pick up a “young” G-Class.