Mercedes-Benz in Malaysia has not only held the top position in the premium luxury class but also strengthened that position in recent years with an ever-widening range. Customers now have a choice of sedans, SUVs and even coupes and within each category, different variants to suit different budgets and tastes.
This year has been no different for the brand that wants to offer ‘The Best or nothing’ and as in 2017, there have been an amazing number of new product introductions – certainly a huge difference from the days when a new model would be introduced every couple of years. Now, it’s every couple of months and only just 12 days ago, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) introduced the updated C-Class range, including the new C-Class Coupe.
Tonight, at the Sepang Circuit, the company had yet another event – the launch of three new ‘63’ SUV models from the Mercedes-AMG brand. It’s a fitting way to end another successful year, at least where the media is concerned since this event is the last one, said Mark Raine, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars at MBM.
Mercedes-AMG G 63 – from RM1,464,888 (with SST but not insurance premium)
The G-Class has a 40-year history and appeared around the same time as the modern SUVs (then called 4×4 dual-purpose vehicles) like the Mitsubishi Pajero and Isuzu Trooper. Like many models from Mercedes-Benz at that time, it was ‘over-engineered’ – not a bad thing for an off-road vehicle – and proved to be extremely capable. While many armed forces in Europe were early users because of the strength and capability, it only gained appeal among private owners later in its life as SUVs started to increase in popularity. That it remained in its original form also gave it a uniqueness and of course, Mercedes-Benz eventually offered customisation options as well.
The second generation, at a glance, looks like the original but a longer look will show that it is also different, updated in details but retaining that classic slab-sided look of SUVs. It even has a side-hinged rear door and a spare wheel mounted on it – something you rarely see these days.
There are different variants of the new G-Class but for the Malaysian market, MBM is bringing in only the Mercedes-AMG G 63 version. This comes with an AMG 4-litre V8 biturbo engine which generates 585 bhp/850 Nm which enables the 2,700-kg vehicle to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 4.5 seconds.
The maximum speed is limited to 220 km/h but if you add the AMG Driver’s Package, you can go another 20 km/h faster. With the AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive, the G 63 would also be able to speed over rough terrain with greater speed, stability and safety than many other SUVs. The suspension system, completely redesigned by Mercedes-AMG, features coil springs all-round. For the first time the front axle has an independent, double wishbone suspension; a rigid axle with a 5-link suspension is used at the rear.
Mark Raine refers to the G-Class as the ‘Godfather of SUVs’ and with the addition of AMG bodystyling on the G 63, it certainly has an imposing presence on the road. The package includes AMG-specific front apron and radiator trim, trim insert in the exterior protective strip, AMG wheels plus AMG flared wheel arches, striking side pipes and red-painted brake calipers.
When asked how many units he expects to sell, Mr. Raine said it is more a question of how many he can get from the factory as fast as possible. “We already have many orders but to be frank, Malaysia is a ‘mini’ market where this kind of product is concerned and bigger markets like the USA, Russia and the Middles East have priority where allocations are concerned,” he explained.
Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S – from RM915,888 and GLC 63 S COUPE – from RM933,888
AMG may have made its name on the racetrack but with the advent of SUVs, it has also used its engineering talent to create high-performance SUVs and the GLC63 confirms this. “The Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S and GLC 63 S Coupe are two high-performance cars in an SUV skin making them powerful predators in their element, in any terrain. They exude an aura of athletic dynamism and sheer power coupled with overwhelming traction and driving dynamics. These two are all about appearance, features, performance and sound” said Mr. Raine.
Differentiated by styling, both cars have the 4-litre 8-cylinder biturbo engine developed by Mercedes-AMG (and each engine is completely assembled by the same person) with an output of 510 bhp/700 Nm. That enables the cars to cross 100 km/h in a claimed 3.8 seconds after moving off and continuing to a top speed of 270 km/h.
The engines are mated to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission, which made its debut in the Mercedes-AMG E 63 4MATIC+. This transmission offers extremely short response times and the driver can execute fast multiple downshifts and double-declutching to have a highly emotive experience.
A striking characteristic of the exterior design is the expressive front end. The new GLC 63 4MATIC+ is the first Mercedes-AMG Performance vehicle to feature the Panamericana grille, previously seen only on the AMG GT sportscars. By dispensing with a traditional finemeshed grille, the cooling technology is visible – a typical attribute from the world of motorsport and a further differentiation from the other GLC models. Wider wheel arch claddings at front and rear lend emphasis to the muscular looks.
With the AMG Night package in high-gloss black, the racing-inspired looks are enhanced, complemented by the matte black 21-inch AMG cross-spoke forged wheels. The racing feel is also reflected in the interior with sports seats are upholstered in Nappa leather and ARTICO man-made leather in black nappa for the dashboard and beltlines, as well as the red designo seat belts.