AMG’s New Trick Suspension Turns the G63 Into a Legit Rally Car

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The Mercedes-AMG G63 is the best car Mercedes-Benz makes right now. While the company has largely turned away from fire-breathing V-8s, its long-standing retro-inspired off-roader is still rocking a 4.0-liter twin-turbo eight-cylinder for 2025, now supplemented by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. But the engine is no longer the coolest part underneath the skin of the G63. That award now goes to its state-of-the-art suspension system.

The system first appeared on the SL in 2021, made possible by that car’s mild-hybrid equipment. It’s called AMG Active Ride Control. Instead of traditional sway bars linking one side of the suspension to the other, the G63 connects valves at the stem of each damper via interconnected hydraulic lines, with an electronically controlled pump adjusting fluid pressure to each shock. The tech turns the G63 from an ultra-capable off-roader to a legit rally car.

Available as an option when you go for either the AMG Off-Road package or the AMG Performance package, AMG Active Ride Control gives the G63 an even wider range of talents, improving both on-road handling and off-road capability. In practice, it performs miracles. 

“One of the main goals was to improve driving performance on-road and to improve comfort,” Tobias Goedecke, G-Class chief engineer, told me at the 2025 G-Class launch event. “By activating these hydraulic actuators, which we placed at the stem of the damper, we are able to reduce rolling as much as possible.”

Because there’s no physical sway bar connecting the two opposing wheels, the system can isolate suspension response to each corner individually, improving the ride. AMG Ride Control keeps the valves on each corner closed while the G63 is traveling in a straight line, so if you hit a bump with the left front corner, the bump isn’t transferred across the truck, keeping it from shaking the cabin. In situations like this, you’re effectively driving a car with no sway bar at all. Slapping potholes in the G63 feels more peaceful than it’s ever been.

Things change drastically once you turn the wheel. Once AMG Ride Control senses you’re going into a corner, the valves open and the hydraulics are pressurized by the system’s centralized motor. The outside dampers are stiffened while the inside dampers are depressurized, eliminating roll, cambering the G’s body into the turn. This lack of roll means the G63 can turn in far quicker than before, making it feel far closer to a sports car on stilts than an off-road-focused SUV. On the road you have three suspension settings to choose from: Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Because there are separate valves for rebound and compression in each damper, the system can generate a substantial split in stiffness between each mode. Unlike some cars, with little differentiation between drive modes, switching from one mode to the next in the G63 will immediately change the suspension’s attitude.

But AMG Active Ride Control only really comes alive once you use it off-road. 

“A G-Class wouldn’t be a G-Class without off-road capability,” Goedecke says.

The lack of sway bars allows for maximum suspension articulation. This means the G63 can keep all four wheels planted as often as possible; It’s the ultimate goal for any off-road-focused suspension system. Combine that level of traction with three locking differentials and a low-range transfer case, and you have the most well-rounded super SUV on the planet.

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Where the system is at its best, though, is on a pothole-filled, rock-lined rally stage. During a drive event in southern France for the 2025 AMG G63, Mercedes let me go wild on a mile-long set of dirt twisties complete with giant puddles, sharp rocks, ruts, and dozens of other imperfections. It’s the type of place where you’d only feel comfortable going quickly in something like a Bronco Raptor or a real, actual rally car. 

And thanks to AMG Active Ride Control, the G63 feels right at home here too. The truck had no qualms backing into corners and powersliding out of bends, dipping wheels into six-inch-deep holes and sliding across jagged rocks at 60-plus mph. While the G63-specific tires did a lot of the work here, it’s the suspension that shined, ironing out most of the imperfections before they ever reached my seat. 

Body roll is minimized thanks to a subsystem Mercedes calls AMG Active Balance Control. 

Used to compensate for body roll, this system uses the dampers to adjust just how much body roll you’d like to see while cornering. There are three levels you can choose from (Low, Mid, and High), allowing the driver to further tailor the driving experience. In practice it works wonders, eliminating tilt from the high-riding G without ruining the ride. This is exactly the type of suspension the G63 needed; It improves on-road handling and off-road capability without sacrificing anything.  

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The only downside to AMG Active Ride Control is its availability. It’s an optional extra on the G63, available only if you option either the AMG Performance Package or the AMG Off-Road Package Pro. It’s not available on the base G550 or the all-electric G580 with EQ Technology, the latter of which could certainly use it. 

Representatives at the event wouldn’t tell us why this hydraulic suspension was being kept an AMG exclusive. It’s a head scratcher, considering this suspension’s broad appeal and wide use case. I suspect It’ll trickle its way into other trims soon enough. After driving every new G-Wagen for sale back-to-back, it’s clear the electric G580 would benefit from the G63’s Active Ride suspension. We need an AMG-ified electric G ASAP, Mercedes.

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