"What will they think of next?" That is what we ask ourselves whenever Brabus comes out with one of its wild creations. When that next time arrives, we are blown away by what the folks from Bottrop have engineered. The German tuner has an appetite for bonkers projects based on the G63, and some of its outrageous creations fill niches that Mercedes won't. After a pickup truck and a V12, it's time to meet the "ultimate desert dunes racer."
Essentially a hardcore buggy, the Brabus 900 Crawler is one the most spectacular G-Class-based project we have ever seen. It's right up there in terms of insanity with Mercedes' own G63 6x6 and the Maybach G650 Landaulet, but without a road-legal status. Yes, the doorless and windowless G can't be driven on public streets as the aftermarket specialist didn't want to make any compromises just for the sake of keeping the license plate.
Brabus 900 Crawler based on the Mercedes-AMG G63
With an enormous 53 centimeters (20.8 inches) of ground clearance, the Crawler lives up to its name and should be able to handle just about any type of difficult terrain out there. For the sake of comparison, the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler have only 29.4 cm (11.6 in) and 27.4 cm (10.8 in) of maximum ground clearance, respectively.
As with other outlandish G builds, Brabus installed portal axles to enhance the vehicle's go-anywhere capabilities. The revised suspension comes with bespoke height-adjustable struts that have up to 16 cm (6.3 in) of spring travel to tackle extreme terrain. It sits on one-piece forged wheels with meaty 40x13.50 R20 off-road tires, backed by 400-mm front and 370-mm rear disc brakes.
Then there's the engine, which sees its displacement being bumped to 4.5 liters. The twin-turbo V8 now makes a whopping 888 horsepower (662 kilowatts) at 6,200 rpm and 1,250 Nm (922 lb-ft) from 2,900 rpm. However, torque is electronically capped at 1,050 Nm (774 lb-ft) to preserve the nine-speed automatic gearbox's reliability. Despite being built to go off the beaten path, the Crawler still does 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in only 3.4 seconds. Flat out, it's limited to 100 mph (160 km/h) because of its off-road tires.
After removing so many body panels and using carbon fiber for the remaining pieces, the AMG G63 has lost a lot of weight. Mind you, it's still quite the porker as it tips the scales at 2,065 kilograms (4,553 pounds), but we'll remind you the standard vehicle weighs a hefty 2,485 kg (5,478 lbs) in European specification. Doing the math, the Crawler has lost about 420 kg (926 lbs) of fat. It's an impressive achievement considering Brabus added portal axles and a tubular frame made from high-strength steel.
Regarding pricing, you'd better sit down for this one. The Crawler costs €749,000 before the value-added tax (VAT). That works out to approximately $793,000 at current exchange rates. For your money's worth, you'll be getting four carbon helmets and an intercom system. Brabus intends to make only 15 vehicles and will deliver a third of them before the end of the year. Five more will be shipped in 2023 and the last five in 2024.