LOS ANGELES, California — There are a handful of times in my life where I recall feeling like a total badass. One worthy of mention is winning the President’s Award for Educational Excellence complete with a gold pin in fifth grade. Freshly added to that list is the day I spent driving a 2017 Mercedes-AMG G65 and its boisterous V-12. Our visitor arrived at our headquarters wearing a radical alien green and as you may have guessed, everyone wanted a piece of the action.
By luck of the draw, I got to spend a day with it. Shortly after I gained possession of the key to the Incredible Hulk, a former colleague invited me to a group pho lunch. Perfect timing.
After grasping the G-Wagon’s door handle, I carefully pulled the hefty door open and instantly felt its high quality build. Being 5’1 made getting into the G65 was an exercise of its own. Fortunately, its seats are tall enough to elevate any driver to an all-seeing-eye level and its better vantage point. A noteworthy element is the power adjustable headrests, a clever but uncommon feature.
Upon activating the G65, a slight thrusting of the gas pedal ignites the 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12. The SUV comes equipped with an AMG sport exhaust system that amplifies sound through twin tailpipes on either side, its roaring letting everyone know who is running the show.
A drive on the busy streets of corporate El Segundo can be chaotic, even on a quick trip to a nearby restaurant. I temporarily muted the audio until I sensed the appropriate genre of music to play. The G65’s eye-popping appearance must have convinced other drivers to clear the way because lanes just opened up.
While waiting for my delicious bowl of pho, a colleague inquired about the vehicle I was driving. As I pointed out the window, the entire group turned their attention to the Incredible Hulk. Everyone wanted to know the price tag and I just smiled, giving a rounded figure. Two insisted on hitching a ride back without even bothering to seek permission. With jubilant faces and lightning speed, they were clutching the door handles—a remarkable reaction I had never witnessed before with other cars.
Later, I broke away from my after work freeway-to-San-Pedro-routine and instead took a slow paced drive through Rancho Palos Verdes. I connected my phone to the G65’s infotainment system and initiated my Metallica playlist on Spotify, but found that it was not quite suitable for this flamboyant SUV. The high-gloss chrome radiator grille, screaming alien green color, V-12 Biturbo badges, twin exhaust tailpipes, and black wheels pointed all said “hip hop.”
Increasing the volume only confirmed the conclusion and I decided to save my Metallica playlist for when I find myself navigating a Ford F-150 Raptor in Baja. One thing I greatly appreciated about the Mercedes infotainment system is that when you mute a song, it actually pauses the song, so you never miss a tune.
I took the Crenshaw Boulevard route to Palos Verdes, which proved to be the perfect alternative route. As I drove through the luscious neighborhoods, I noted other drivers giving me the right-of-away at all-way stop signs even when it was evidently theirs. Either they wanted a prolonged view of the omnipotent G-Class or were just being polite.
Along Palos Verdes Drive West, I made several detours, including one near Trump National Golf Club. During sharp turns, turning the steering wheel can entail more effort. En route to San Pedro, the AMG high-performance braking system kicked in on the slopes of the road. It was the perfect safety mechanism against anxious drivers who erratically jumped in front of me.
By the time I got into San Pedro, the sun was clocking out and I hurriedly set up the G65 for a mini photo shoot. A woman at a nearby playground became enamored of the alien green Mercedes. After observing her attempts to take a selfie with the G65 from afar, I invited her over and offered to snap her picture, earning Automobile a follower.
Making my final set in a nature preserve parking area, I parked illegally to get the best angle of Incredible Hulk. A passerby expressed how cool the G-Wagen looked in this attention seeking color and asked if I was listing it for sale, a question that made me laugh.
Moments later, I saw park rangers approaching and, with my body language, signaled that I was ready to move. The rangers drove by slowly as they studied the G65, smiled, and carried on without saying a word. Phew.
Of all encounters during my brief time in the G65, one that astonished me. Los Angeles drivers do not simply give the right-of-way, but at a two-way stop, a driver to my right in cross traffic came to a complete stop to allow me to make a left turn despite not having a stop sign. He waved at me and refused to proceed until I made the left turn. As other drivers began to pile up behind him, I made the turn. Once parked, I was not sure if I was angry toward the driver for obstructing traffic or proud of the special treatment the G65 had received.
This was my first time behind the wheel of a G-Class SUV and it made an adolescent dream a reality. Driving the Mercedes-AMG G65 I quickly realized I was maneuvering something exceptional. If the Incredible Hulk was to be reincarnated into a vehicle, this German SUV would be it. This alien green, mean-looking machine rightly earned its respect from the streets of L.A.
2017 Mercedes-AMG G65 Specifications
|PRICE||$221,325/$236,325 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||6.0L SOHC 36-valve Twin-Turbocharged V-12/621 hp
@ 5,000-5,300 rpm, 738 lb-ft @ 2,300-4,300 rpm
|LAYOUT||4-Door, 5-passenger, front-engine, 4WD SUV|
|EPA MILEAGE||11/13 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||187.5 x 80.9 x 76.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.2 sec|
|TOP SPEED||143 mph|