A Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG on a Racetrack Is a Bad Idea

Matt Farah finds more G-Wagen excitement off the beaten path.

Mercedes Benz G63

With so many civilian-spec Mercedes-Benz G-Class trucks haunting the malls and traffic jams of Southern California, you might as well call it the "Los Angeles-Class." (Oops—turns out the Navy already uses that term for its nuclear-powered attack subs.)

Still, Matt Farah was tired of seeing LA's sad-looking G-Wagens operating at a tiny fraction of their go-anywhere capability, so he shanghaied one to the western Mojave. He wanted to see if the 40-year-old platform—refreshed with AMG's latest 563-horsepower, 5.5-liter biturbo V8—could run with the track-day crowd at Willow Springs raceway.

As ideas go, this one could have been better. Matt turned a few laps, apex-blocking the hoard of Vipers, BMW M3s and Honda S2000s that comprised the track's paying customers, before deciding that a steeper and scrubbier part of the Willow Springs property was better suited to the G63's very particular set of skills.

Sorry. Next time he'll ask first.