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Old warriors never die, they just get more powerful and expensive. At least if they’re from Mercedes-Benz.
The G-Class was originally designed for military use, but has been produced commercially since 1979, which makes it the oldest vehicle on sale in the United States. Over the years, what started as a relatively bare-bones machine has morphed into a high-end luxury SUV, with a starting price of $116,325. “Starting” being the operative word.
That’ll buy you an entry level G550, while the high performance G63 AMG goes for$138,057 before you add any options. But despite their lofty prices, they’ve both sold so well that Mercedes is turning things up another notch with the introduction of the $218,825 G65 AMG.
It has a 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V12 that barely fits in the engine bay and churns out 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful SUV in the known universe. Nevertheless, it rides on solid front and rear axles, just like a Jeep Wrangler, and has three locking differentials for serious off-roading, if you don’t mind scratching the available matte-finish paint.
The hand-built G65 has been on sale in foreign markets for a couple of years, and Mercedes-Benz didn’t originally plan to go through the expensive regulatory process to bring it to the United States, but interest from its customer base was so strong, it couldn’t be denied.
As increasingly strong and immortal as this truck seems to be, maybe they should think about changing its name to The Highlander.
Oh, right, scratch that. (But not the paint, please.)