• 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

WHY I LOVE MY VEHICLE: 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

Mark of Success. Besides its performance, the iconic G-wagon is also a source of motivation for this Mercedes-Benz enthusiast

Avatar By: Renée Suen February 5, 2022
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Cars play a large role in Markham-based Gordon Su’s life. Besides the pleasure found in driving and maintaining them, they’re also central in his lifestyle. Focused primarily on residential real estate, the sales representative with Royal LePage Your Community Realty is on the road for work and has even taken his car enthusiast clients to Shannonville Motorsport Park.

However, it’s his involvement from being in car clubs, including Mercedes Benz True North, that completely immersed the loyal Mercedes-Benz owner in the culture of modifying cars, recreational track racing, and getting involved in brand-related events. Despite loving his sedans – Su relies on a 2008 E300 as a daily driver and takes his modified 2008 C63 AMG out to the track, it’s the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG that he treasures most.

Admitting there’s a lot of hype behind the vehicle – it’s extremely popular with A-listers and is one of the best recognized popemobiles supplied to the Vatican – Su picked up his G-wagon in the summer of 2018 from Mercedes-Benz Markham. Defending his purchase as one that a true car enthusiast would get, Su tells us what he loves most about his G-wagon.

“You see a lot of celebrities purchase [the G-wagon] as a [status] symbol,” said Su, “But it’s also something a true enthusiast would get. I like it because of the distinction and craftsmanship behind it. It wasn’t designed for civilian use: before 1979, it was a military vehicle, which then became popular in the ‘90s, when it started being mass produced. The truck has over 40 years of heritage for military use on all terrains – from the arctic to the desert – so it’s very functional and way more capable than it’s required to be on the pavement.

“The motor is handcrafted and assembled by one technician whose name is stamped on for workmanship. It’s ridiculous how much power is behind the motor. It’s a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8, so this thing from factory is 544 horsepower, which is more than necessary for city use. And it’s been modified, so it’s now over 700 horsepower. It can go very fast on a straightaway, but not so much with turning.

“It has three differential locks; you have the power you need for any type of terrain, whether it’s climbing rocks, going through the mud, the swamp, even in deep water. And because it’s meant for off-roading, it gives you the confidence that you’ll be okay in the city if you’re stuck in a storm.

“I took it to a few off-road trails in Oshawa’s Ragland pits after a big rainstorm, and it did not disappoint,” said Su. “I took it over the dunes, down into muddy roads and through the forest – that’s when I had a true appreciation of what off-roading meant. Given that most of these cars only see paved roads, it gave me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I had driven it the way it should be. It was a lot of cleaning up afterwards, but it was worth it.”

2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

“And you know, most crazy people [like me] do sink more money into these cars,” said Su of the other modifications he’s made to his G-wagon. “I took it to Eurocharged Canada and tuned the electronic control unit and changed the exhaust pipe to a valved system.”

For esthetics, Su picked up a set of 22-inch XO Luxury Milan summer wheels, added Brabus Style lower lip LED lights, and numerous carbon fibre accessories including the engine cover, steering wheel, all the way to the gas cap. For off-roading, he had installed a bush guard, light guards, plus front skid guard. In his spare time, Su details his vehicles, admitting that a primary reason his G-wagon is kept in pristine condition is because he only takes it out on special occasions, including closing a sale or when he’s celebrating achievements like receiving the President’s Gold Award, which he’s won five times since joining the brokerage eight years ago.

“The car reminds me to continually work hard,” said Su. “I only drive it occasionally as a treat, so to speak, for celebratory reasons. Or when there’s a bad snowstorm, [like the one that hit the GTA last month]. It’s probably the safest truck to take out.

“Since I was a child, I always saw the G-wagon as something that had an obnoxious form that was so boss. Unlike most SUVs or cars that became more refined with curves, this car had an attitude that survived through years of design changes because it was built on a strong platform that never aged. I see the G-wagon like a Rolex – it’s finely built. It has such a strong presence with design features that no other cars can [duplicate], like when you close that steel door. Because it has those old school lock actuators, it sounds like a bank safe closing. It’s a nice touch. That’s why for 40 years it never changed until it’s 2019 redesign.

“They also hold their value pretty well. Because there’s a large demand and limited supply of G class vehicles – Mercedes-Benz has stopped production of the 2022 model due to supply-chain issues and are canceling a lot of allocations – the new G-wagons are selling over $100,000 of their factory price! So, I’m happy I have mine because of its holding value: there’s a lot of people who want to get into a G-wagon, and they’re looking into used car alternatives since they can’t get their hand on the new one.”

Su admits that he won’t sell his vehicle despite the demand and the generous offers it could command.

“I’m a true enthusiast. I like to hold on to my things (like my first Mercedes for over seven years; this G-wagon for over five years). I had the opportunity of trading my old one for a new one, but I’m so attached to my toys. I like to tune my cars and make it unique to myself, and for that reason, I don’t want to go through the hassle of giving that all up.”

This article was edited for space and clarity. Want to be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle? email us at wheels@thestar.ca.

Renée S. Suen is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer/photographer and a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rssuen

HERITAGE AND DISTINCTION

“I love that it’s still relevant in its obnoxious form: It’s pretty much a box,” said Su. “It’s had that character since the late ‘70s. It has so much heritage and distinction behind it. It’s also something that you can’t miss. Like a Land Rover Defender, maybe the Hummer, and this, you would recognize it right away. It has that wow factor.”

TRUE ALL-TERRAIN PERFORMANCE

“So, the G-wagon even has a reference for deep water,” said Su of a moulding running along the side of vehicle. “If you don’t let the water come above the horizontal rubber trim (that’s located just below the [air] intake) when you’re in deep water, you [don’t have to worry about] flooding the engine because the doors [provide a] near air-tight seal (which keeps you dry inside too). The truck is manufactured in Austria and is certified to have been driven at different elevations and angles. So, you can be reassured in the capability of the cars purchased from this manufacturing plant because they are tested to perform at their optimum.”

THE SOUND OF POWER

Su had also added a Capristo valved exhaust system, a polished high-grade, high-performance electronic controlled exhaust with valved triple mufflers, to his ride. It allows Su to have the best of both worlds: subdued sound for city driving and an aggressive, deeper note at wide-open throttle.

“Through my key [fob] I can control the exhaust,” said Su. “So, it’s normally quiet, but when I want to have fun and show it off, I can open the flaps so the exhaust fumes will bypass the muffler and go straight into the tailpipe which amplifies the noise by five to 10 times for that loud roar or rumble that turns heads.”

THE SPECS:2013 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

BODY STYLE: SUV

DRIVE METHOD: AWD

ENGINE: 5.5L V8, 544-hp; 560 lb.-ft. torque

FUEL ECONOMY (CITY/HIGHWAY): 18.5/13.6 litres per 100 km

CARGO VOLUME: 1280 litres

PRICE: MSRP $149,900 in 2013

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