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Mercedes brings most powerful G-Class to US

AMG G 65 gets power from a twin-turbo 6.0 V12 that puts out 630-hp and 738 lb.ft. of torque.

Published: April 12, 2015, 12:30 AM
Updated: April 14, 2015, 1:09 PM

Mercedes-AMG G 65 - Stephen Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, presents the Mercedes-AMG G 65 at the 2015 New York International Auto Show.

Lost in the name game Mercedes-Benz is playing with its models is the North American introduction of the world’s most powerful SUV.

For the 2016 model year, the M-Class becomes the GLE-Class, with Mercedes renaming all its SUV Classes GL (except for the iconic G-Class), and adding segment size to the name — GLK becomes GLC to designate its compact C-segment size; M is GLE for the midsized E-segment; GL becomes GLS for its full-size S affiliation; and there’s a coming GLA, A-segment model.

The only mainstay on the “truck” front is the iconic G-Class, but that is making news of its own with Mercedes planning to introduce the biturbo V12 Mercedes-AMG G 65 to be sold alongside the current twin-turbo V8-powered G 63 starting in fall 2015.

The classic and classy G-Class first ventured into North America in 2002, and the G 65 has been available in other parts of the world since 2012, but North Americans’ exposure to the large off-roader’s AMG-ness has been limited to the G 63 AMG.

Power for the newest Mercedes-AMG G 65 is provided by a twin-turbo 6.0-litre V12 that puts out 630-hp and 738 lb.ft. of torque, supplying enough oomph to get the hulking SUV to 100 km/h in less than 5.5 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 230 km/h. Despite the increases in power, the performance figures are only slightly better than the current model using a 5.5-litre twin turbo V8 (which took just an extra 0.1 of a second extra to get to 100 km/h), due to the additional weight.

Mercedes is looking to improve on record U.S. SUV sales in 2014, where they topped the previous years’ by 11 percent and accounted for one third of M-B sales.

“With the G 65, Mercedes-Benz is reacting to a growing number of customers seeking more performance and exclusivity in the luxury off-road league,” stated a company release.