2019 Mercedes G63 exists at intersection of brute force and finesse

When Mercedes-Benz introduced the all-new 2019 G-Class, it gave AMG credit for a lot of the engineering work that finally brought the truck into the 21st century. It’s on these sturdy, performance-ready bones that the German brand’s in-house tuner built the 2019 G63, which will make its debut next month at the Geneva Auto Show.

The G63 receives its own version of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that powers other members of the AMG lineup, including the C63, the E63, and the GT. In this application, it pumps out 577 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 627 pound-feet of torque between 2,500 and 3,500 rpm. Its output flows to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission and a sport-tuned version of Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

Those numbers impress on paper. In real life, they translate to a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed that’s electronically limited to 137 mph. Buyers who need to go faster — presumably well-heeled drag racers or those who commute on Germany’s Autobahn — can hit 149 mph by ordering the optional driver’s package. 137 mph sounds plenty fast to us, though.

The all-new G63 is powerful and fast, but you don’t need us to tell you that. Its predecessor already ticked both boxes. One of the major differences between the two SUVs is that the 2019 version is much more engaging to drive on a twisty road. In its default configuration, the all-wheel drive system sends 60 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels and the rest up front. AMG added an adjustable suspension system on both axles and speed-sensitive steering to give the G more bite in the corners and a more polished ride in everyday driving conditions.

It can still hold its own off-road, though. Like the normal G-Class, the G63 rides on a ladder frame, it offers three differential locks, and it lets the driver shift into low range when the going gets really, really tough. Three built-in off-road modes named sand, trail, and rock, respectively, provide the basis for stress-free driving when the pavement ends.

Flared wheel arches hint at the horsepower lurking between the fenders. The AMG treatment also brings wider alloy wheels, bigger air vents punched into the front bumper, the Panamericana grille that’s quickly spreading across the portfolio, running boards, and side-mounted exhaust outlets, a hallmark carried over from the last-generation G. Step inside to find a three-spoke steering wheel with galvanized shift paddles and, when ordered, carbon fiber trim on the center console.

We’ll see the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 in the metal for the first time next month at the Geneva Auto Show. Sales will begin before the end of the year. Mercedes will release pricing information in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date, which the brand scheduled for later this year.