We're not sure if the world is ready for this - the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 off-roader has been confirmed for production. The G-Class works in Graz, Austria will build 20-30 a year, starting in 2014, at about €410 000 (R4.9 million) each.
Based on the super-tough G320 CDI six-wheeler originally built for the Australian army, the pre-production prototype you see here has been thoroughly worked over by the adrenalin junkies at Affalterbach, using almost exclusively off-the-shelf componentry from three different sources to produce a truly outrageous beetle-crusher.
It starts with a current-series G-Class chassis and an AMG V8 biturbo engine that delivers 400kW and 760Nm, mated to a Speedshift Plus 7G-tronic auto box with paddle-shift.
Then it gets interesting, with a low-range transfer case feeding power to a G63 front end and the double-axle rear set-up from the Aussie military model with five (count them, five!) individually lockable-on-the-fly differentials.
The geared-hub portal axles are borrowed from sister company Unimog, with 12'5” rims running monster 37” off-road tyres, giving it 460mm of ground clearance and a safe wading depth of a metre. Oh, and the tyre pressures can be adjusted on the move as the terrain changes.
The suspension is also off the shelf, using the front springs from the G63 Guard armour-plated version, the hardest standard springs in the G-Class range for the first rear axle and the softest available coils for the second rear axle, for maximum articulation in the rough and a firm, comfortable ride on tar, modulated by rally-proven, adjustable gas-pressure shock absorbers.
Just how big is it?
Try 5867mm long, 2111mm wide and 2209mm high, with a kerb weight of just under four tonnes.
Some more numbers: It'll accelerate to 100km/h in less than six seconds, is electronically limited to 160km/h flat out and, driven carefully, will return 18 litres per 100km.
The styling is typically AMG (if you can say that of something with this number of wheels!) with the signature “twin blade” grille and flared wheel arches - but with integrated LED light strips in carbon-fibre panels above the windscreen, a distinctive stainless-steel roll-over bar and a load box lined with tough and durable bamboo.
Affalterbach were given a free hand with the interior trim, and the cabin fully lives up to AMG's reputation for sporty luxury, with a contemporary dashboard featuring new instruments and a large, central colour display.
The four electrically adjustable individual seats are heatable and ventilated, and are trimmed with special 'designo' leather in either classic red or light brown, with contrasting topstitching and diamond-pattern quilting.
The rear compartment has a special centre console, and the headliner and pillar trims are finished in alcantara.