Feast your eyes on the most powerful 12-cylinder off-road vehicle in the world

On one hand, a go-anywhere, do-everything car like the Mercedes-AMG G65 is already fine on its own. There’s not a lot this hulking machine can’t do. It’s fast, powerful, luxurious, and has all the utility chops to literally go places others can only dream about going. On the other hand, there is something appealing about having a car like the AMG G65 and still have options to do something with it. Maybe slap on an aerodynamic kit? Perhaps an engine tune? The possibilities are all there, and these possibilities are being brought to life – yet again – by Brabus.

I don’t suppose it deserves another mention as being one of the best Mercedes-AMG tuners in the business, and yet, here we are again. Brabus’ new program for the Mercedes-AMG G65 V12 touched down at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and as you might expect, it’s dripping in modifications. It features a wide-body aerodynamic body kit, a fancy-schmancy interior dress-up, a new set of wheels, and a massive engine upgrade that, at least according to Brabus, makes this vehicle “the world’s most powerful twelve-cylinder off-road vehicle.” At some point, all of Brabus’ claims become irrelevant because we already start to expect greatness out of its programs without the tuner telling us all about it. That’s what it feels like looking at the AMG G65 Brabus 900PS. The tuner may as well be right in saying that no other 12-cylinder off-roader is as powerful as this beast, but we expected that already to begin with. That’s clout that only years of excellence can justify.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG G65 V12 Brabus 900PS

Exterior

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Exterior
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It’s easy to think that the Mercedes-AMG G65 is one of those models that don’t really need any exterior additions. I mean, just take a look at it. Its identity is cemented as the only Mercedes model that doesn’t adapt the automaker’s changing styling language. It has a look that’s unique to its own. On top of that, it’s also built with a take-no-prisoners mindset, the kind that has no whims about where it goes and what it looks like, as long as it gets there.

That philosophy rings true in the case of the AMG G65 and we see it here with the addition of a distinctive wide-body kit that’s dripping in carbon fiber

But as unique as the AMG G65 is, Brabus has proven time and again that it too doesn’t care about perception. If there’s any space or room for upgrades, it’s going to maximize it. That philosophy rings true in the case of the AMG G65 and we see it here with the addition of a distinctive wide-body kit that’s dripping in carbon fiber. Notice the oversized hood that’s dominated by air vents on three sides? Notice the wide fenders and the flared wheel arches? And while we’re at it, check out the front grille and the headlamp casings. That’s what dripping in carbon fiber means. Even the wheels aren’t standard 19-inch rims anymore. Those are massive 23-inch forged alloys, all wrapped up in Yokohama tires.

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Exterior
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The upgrades seem excessive and in some ways, they are. But they’re also par for the course when it comes to working on a car like the AMG G65. Certainly, Brabus isn’t the only one that’s adopted this kind of approach on the SUV. Remember Mansory’s “Gronos” program for the G63 and G65 back in 2013? In some ways, that one featured an even more outlandish exterior upgrade than this new kit from Brabus, all thanks to an approach that involved covering pretty much the whole surface of the SUV in carbon fiber. It also had 23-inch wheels on offer, all wrapped in high-performance Vredestein Ultrac Vorti tires.

2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG Gronos by Mansory High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2013 Mercedes G65 AMG Gronos by Mansory High Resolution Exterior
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Note: photon of the Mercedes G63/65 AMG Gronos by Mansory

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the kind of personalization that Mercedes-AMG can offer through its AMG Performance Studio. A recent example of what’s possible from this option was displayed in full bloom by the G-Class Designo Manufaktur Edition back in May. Sure, it was showcased for the G500 variant, but the possibility of getting the same treatment for the G65 is there.

Interior

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Interior
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Brabus’ upgrades in the interior of the Mercedes-AMG G65 falls under what I like to call a ‘luxury overhaul.’ The truth is that the tuner could have left everything untouched and it wouldn’t have mattered. Instead, Brabus went for a more nuanced upgrade of the interior, covering most of the interior’s surface area in different shades of fine leather. The most significant change though can be found in the rear section of the cabin. That’s where Brabus really went full-steam “tuner extraordinaire.”

The most significant change though can be found in the rear section of the cabin

The seating arrangement in the rear, for example, was changed completely as the tuner opted to go for a pair of individual seats instead of the standard three-seat bench found on the standard model. In addition, it extended the center console all the way to the rear, creating a nice separation between the two rear seats. Speaking of which, the extended console itself comes with a 4.3-inch touch panel, cup holders with heating and cooling functions, and even a built-in safe with an electrically-operated drawer.

This kind of approach works for the AMG G65, but it’s far from the only kind of treatment that other tuners have done in the past. Mansory, for example, is no stranger to dropping its own load of premium leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber on programs like the Gronos. Other tuners like Hamann, GSC, and ART have adopted similar approaches in the past.

Mercedes-Benz Launches G-Class Designo Manufaktur Edition And Exclusive Edition Interior High Resolution
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Note: interior photo of the Mercedes G-Class Designo Manufaktur Edition.

For my money though, the best source of interior upgrades for the AMG G65, or any other AMG model for that matter, is through the Performance Studio. Not only are these upgrades done in-house, but the choices customers have are just as vast as they are in the tuning world. Take the previously mentioned G-Class Designo Manufaktur Edition for example. It was all dressed up in black, perforated Nappa leather with matching red contrast stitching holding the seats together. More red accents can also found on the seat belts, dash stitching, and on the AMG Performance flat-bottom steering wheel. And if those aren’t enough, the Performance Studio also put in a piano black trim on the center console, a chrome “designo manufaktur Edition” plaque just ahead of the gear shifter, and turning options like the Seat Comfort package, the leather dash, illuminated door sills, and a black microfiber headliner standard.

Drivetrain

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Drivetrain
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As intriguing as Brabus’ upgrades for the AMG G65 have been so far, the main attraction of the program is without question the engine upgrade. This is why this particular AMG G65 is regarded as the “most powerful twelve-cylinder, off-roader in the world.”

What’s interesting about the engine upgrade here is that it’s similar to what Brabus did to the AMG S65 Cabriolet Rocket 900. The first order of business was increasing the displacement of the V-12 engine from the standard 6.0 liters to 6.3 liters. From there, the tuner reworked a host of engine mechanicals to line them with the bigger displacement and sync them all together. Once all of that was done, the result of all that work is a knee-buckling output of 888 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque. Do the math and that equates to an added output of almost 300 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. It certainly takes a tuner with a penchant for the extreme to work this kind of program into a car that probably doesn’t need the upgrades since it already has over 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque on its own. But this is Brabus so what did you expect?

The AMG G65 Brabus 900PS is actually 0.1 seconds quicker to 62 mph than the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car

Thankfully, the tuner is still careful enough to acknowledge that utilizing all of that torque wouldn’t be in the best interest of the SUV and the people riding in it. So, it capped the torque figures to 885 pound-feet, still more than enough to help the AMG G65 sprint from 0 to 62 mph in an incredible 3.9 seconds on its way to a limited top speed of 168 mph. Go back to that acceleration time and you’ll realize that the AMG G65 Brabus 900PS is actually 0.1 seconds quicker to 62 mph than the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car. That’s balls-to-the-wall speed for such a big car.

But yes, once more, this type of power gain isn’t new to the AMG G65. Let’s go back to the Gronos program from Mansory. That one was launched in 2013 and while it mostly focused on software upgrades to the V-12 engine, the tuner was still good enough to increase the output of the engine to 840 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Then there’s ART, which presented its own program for the AMG G65 around the same time as Mansory did. It featured an engine upgrade that saw an increased output of 749 horsepower and 681 pound-feet of torque, all thanks to its own ECU-centric upgrade.

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Drivetrain
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Check out how all these programs compare in the table below.

Model/Tuner Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG G65 Brabus 900PS 888 horsepower 885 pound-feet (limited) 3.9 seconds 168 mph (limited)
Mercedes G65 AMG Gronos by Mansory 840 horsepower 738 pound-feet (limited) n/a n/a
Mercedes G65 AMG Streetline by A.R.T. 749 horsepower 681 pound-feet (limited) n/a n/a

Pricing

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Exterior
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I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but for those who are interested in the Mercedes-AMG G65 Brabus 900PS, it’s important to consider this one last important thing about the vehicle. Brabus is only building 10 units of this pièce de résistance, with each unit priced at €666,000. That converts to around $800,000 based on current exchange rates.

Competition

Mercedes G65 AMG Spyridon by Hamann

2013 Mercedes G-Class Spyridon by Hamann High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2013 Mercedes G-Class Spyridon by Hamann High Resolution Exterior
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If there was a tuner that could compete with Brabus for the title of top Mercedes tuner in the business, it’s Hamann. The tuner’s work on Silver Arrows cars stretches some years and back in 2013, it presented the Spyridon kit for the AMG G65. Among its many features – it had an aero kit and a plush interior offering – the Spyridon program also had an engine upgrade program that included ECU upgrades and an aftermarket exhaust system. The result was an increased output for the AMG G65’s V-12 amounting to 702 horsepower and 818 pound-feet of torque.

Read our full review on the Mercedes G65 AMG Spyridon by Hamann.

Conclusion

2017 Mercedes-AMG G 65 Brabus 900PS High Resolution Exterior
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For the record, I have no issues with the standard Mercedes-AMG G65. I think it’s one of those vehicles that don’t necessarily need upgrades for it to reach its full potential. That said, I’m not opposed to what Brabus is offering here, especially if there are some people who are willing to spend what the tuner’s asking for to get one of the 10 units it plans to build. There’s something about the AMG G65 that appeals to a large swath of people, whether it has a Brabus kit or not.

  • Leave it
    • * Definitely not for everyone
    • * A standard AMG G65 is impressive enough already
    • * Supercar price tag is insane

References

Mercedes-AMG G65

2013 Mercedes G65 AMG Exterior
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Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG G65.

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