When you were a kid, did you ever bothered to find if your toys would have had a more practical purpose other than to amuse and entertain? I don’t think so. Irrational things are sometimes the best to enjoy: there’s no need to think or to exercise your mind in finding an answer on something that was built for fun. Also because such things are the best to experience.
The Mercedes Benz AMG 6×6 is a smile machine. Or, better, given its ginormous size, it’s a whole factory of smiles and happiness. We all were rightfully educated to become adults, but we all have to remember how to be like kids from time to time. Things built only for amusement are not just for kids but are for everyone who can enjoy them.
However, such a Teutonic Behemoth makes sense since it was conceived to be the ultimate in terms of offroading and luxurious, long-distance (mpg and tank size permitting) cruising. It looks like an Army vehicle designed by a 6-year-old, it’s huge and has 6, SIX wheels and is powered by a hand-build 5.5 liter, twin turbo V8 which will spin ALL its wheels at the same time! It has 5 differentials, a truck bed, a 20liter air compressor to inflate and deflate the tires and it looks just like it’s ready for war. It weighs at around 3.8 tons and will do 0 to 100 in under 8 seconds. Who cares anyway, by the time you’ll get this thing to speed, you’ll crush everything you’ll find on your path and not even notice. Let’s dump data numbers in the trashcan: just assume they’re as huge as the 6×6’s size.
I believe that the only legitimate question regarding this vehicle is: is it really capable as it seems? Yes. After all, what else should you expect from a Company which has been building Unimogs since 1978 and military Geländewagen from 1979? If you knew Mercedes Benz, you had all the clues to guess the answer.
This six wheeler was a production vehicle, and it wasn’t some German tuner’s extravaganza. It was built in the same Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria, where regular production G wagons are still hand assembled.
So, why the 6×6 was built? Simple enough: at the time of its production (2013-2015) sales of the G wagon were through the roof and Mercedes had the parts for a six-wheeler laying on the shelf, which was originally designed for the “Project Land 121” issued by the Australian Army, which needed to fulfil their need for new, multi-task lightweight and fast vehicles in order to replace their fleet of ageing Land Rovers.
Aside from acquiring specifically equipped 4×4’s regular G’s, the soldiers from Downunder asked Mercedes to develop a new six-wheel transmission system. Based on the chassis and parts of the regular G, the new tactical vehicle was equipped with two portal rear axles and 5 differentials, paired with a new transfer case. Such a system equipped a wide range of reconnaissance, first aid and logistic vehicles, now in full force and active service.
This military version, interestingly, doesn’t even look as intimidating or gargantuan as the civilian version. It is powered by Mercedes’own 300 CDi Common rail diesel V6, with only 185 hp and 400 Nm of torque. On the other hand, the 6×6 by AMG has 550 hp and a whopping 760 Nm or torque, which is the same engine of the standard G63.
Describing AMG’s 6×6 as a jacked-up G wagon may not be the most enthusiastic compliment, but in reality, it is. It is based off many parts from regular production and it rides on Ohlins suspensions and has massive-articulation solid axles. They ride wonderfully: consider them to be no different than Aladdin’s magic carpet.
Despite the weight, the 6×6 has a very car-like performance, and it is so refined that it almost commands to be used daily, size permitting. When the vehicle turns, you feel the rear wheels and differential work: I don’t want to think what kind of mechanical carnage it’s happening down there.
80 of these Behemoths have been built and 15 of these have been upgraded by Brabus to 700 hp and their own unique specification.
So…how is it to drive? You sit high, WAY higher than any regular SUV: the whole think feels more like a medium sized truck. The super-long suspension travel paired with the massive axle articulation makes the 6×6 incredibly comfortable and well suited for long journeys. Driving it on the roads above Cortina is no different than driving a flat-bed truck, for which you need to constantly consider the length and always be careful in taking corners, especially because it doesn’t have rear-wheel steering. What’s annoying about the 6×6 Mercedes engineers should have installed rear wheel steering and put front and rear view cameras permanently on: you don’t see much in front of you and neither in the back. Not that a rear-end accident should worry you, given the fact that you’re in a military vehicle! Aside from that, the 6×6 is fun, and it’s great to drive. Irrationality and cars based in pure emotion and personal satisfaction are what enthusiasts love most, and thank God there are still some left out in this world. Long live Mercedes Benz AMG 6×6!