Review: Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG

first_imgThe G-wagen, from its very birth, was meant to be a war machine. You see the German armed forces wanted their own squad carrier, which led Mercedes-Benz to create the Galendawagen, German for ‘cross country vehicle’. But like the Humvee in the US, the G-wagen soon caught the fancy of civilians and over the years, Mercedes-Benz has been giving it more bling than the army would need. The German manufacturer also decided to send the G-wagen to its tuning division–AMG. The result was the G55 AMG.As far as looks go, you either hate it or you love it. It is boxy with 90 degrees being the dominant angle that pervades through the length, breadth and height of this SUV. For its part, to further enhance the G55’s awesome road presence, AMG has added a chrome bullbar, Mercedes sports grille, massive alloys, side exhausts and badges and logos in every nook and cranny. The massive 5.5-litre supercharged V8 is a work of art. Moreover being hand-built, you also get a little plate with signatures of the guys who made it. The interiors instantly bathe you in luxury. There’s a large multifunction steering wheel behind which sits a rather small and old school dash. The electrically adjustable seats are comfortable and from the driver’s perch, visibility up ahead and around is top class. The rear seats follow the theatre style pattern. They also have individual DVD screens.Start her up and the exhaust spews out a sinister burble before settling down. Slot the stick in ‘D’ and if you have given it the full beans, expect to get pushed into the seats as the G55 takes off rather ferociously while your ears suffer an assault from the AMG exhausts.With the 100 kmph dash taken care of in 5.8s, the G55 can give many a low slung sports car a run for its money. As the speed climbs rapidly the automatic gearbox shifts seamlessly to complement the engine well and in no time the speedo hits 180 kmph.This lunacy has a profound effect on the fuel economy for the trip computer at this point was indicating 28.8l/100 km (3.5 kmpl). The G55 is also uncomfortable at high speed. Even on smooth tarmac, it has a tendency to bob around. However, this stiff nature does show its benefits around corners where it exhibits minimal roll and good handling. The brakes have enormous bite. Last but not the least, the G55 AMG is a true blue off-roader too and to this effect the SUV gets lockable differentials and height adjustable suspension to ensure that its underbody is safe and sound.The G55 is surely one of the coolest SUVs in the market today. On the downside though its ride quality and the steering could have been better. And then there is the small issue of price. With a tag of Rs. 1.24 crore, Mercedes would probably have done better had it introduced the stock G-wagon and had this as an option for the power hungry.Tour reportThe G55 AMG has a super torquey and extremely powerful engine, is an SUV with go-anywhere abilities, lots of entertainment options and safety equipment. To boot, it also gets two rows of seating with comfortable seats and good amount of space for all. So that should see its touring quotient soar. The only thing that pulls it down is the car’s fuel efficiency.Engine: 5439 cc, V8, petrolMax power: 507 [email protected] rpmMax torque: 700 [email protected] rpmGearbox: 5-speed autoWheelbase (mm): 2850LxWxH (mm): 4662 x 2007 x 1931Price: Rs. 1.24 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rating: * * * *Close upThe three buttons at the top of the dash, between the AC vents, are for locking each of the three differentials of the G55 AMG. They are easy to reach and the buttons are easy to operate.Despite its rugged, off-roader, go-anywhere nature and character, the G55 AMG boasts all the luxury one would expect in a Mercedes-Benz. So rear passengers get individual DVD screens.The electrically adjustable seats of the G55 AMG are comfortable and from the driver’s perch, visibility up ahead and around is top class. The rear seats follow the theatre style pattern.The boot is a large flat bay and can hold quite a bit of cargo. Note the additional crossbar behind the rear seat, for extra support when the vehicle is being driven over rough roads.Hyosung ST7Just the other day I was taking stock of the appliances and gadgets I use at home. And almost everything I own is Korean. So, when I was invited to ride a couple of Korean high-end motorcycles recently, I was excited. The motorcycles in question were from Hyosung but are being assembled by Garware Motors in India, the motoring arm of the large Garware enterprise. And it began with the ST7. It is what Americans call an entry-level cruiser. In India, it’s just below the truly expensive and high-end cruisers displacing over a litre. This one though employs a 678 cc V-twin. But, before we get to the engine, it must be said, for sheer presence, the ST7 steals the show–loads of chrome, a low stance, fat tyres, easy-to-reach handlebars and a chunky engine. Even after you mount the bike, the feel of the cruiser stays with you. The engine though is anything but refined. Also, the gearbox takes some effort to slot in and even though the clutch is relatively light to use, shifting on the ST7 isn’t smooth.On the move, the low and mid range punch of the engine is quite potent. So, if you are generous with the throttle, you’d be sitting over 100 kmph before you know it. And the ST7 can sit at this speed all day long without complaint. Then on, things begin to get buzzy again, even though the bike will get to about 140 kmph without trying too hard. It wallows and floats so much at over 120 kmph that you need a brave heart to keep the ST7’s throttle pinned. It’s also not very comfortable around bends. On anything less than perfect roads, the bike’s front end jars.The bottomline: Buy the ST7 if you love posing. It’s a bike you would like looking at. It will be the cheapest cruiser at less than Rs. 7 lakh.-Vikrant Singhadvertisementadvertisementlast_img