This can’t fool even the most innocent of us. What seems from a distance to be the super-special Mercedes-AMG G63 6×6 is actually a copycat, rolling off the assembly line of BAIC.
BAIC has been building and selling a clone of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV for several years, using the designation BJ80 for it. That was the only body variant of the G-Class made in China. Up until the 2018 Beijing Auto Show, when the company displayed the unimaginable: a copy of the insane G63 6×6, that Mercedes sent onto the roads and in the off-road mostly, back in 2011.
Only the boxy design and the 3-axle configuration is actually being followed by the Chinese. The original 3.8-ton version is set in motion by a twin-turbocharged 5.5.-liter V8, capable of rolling 536 horsepower, while BAIC’s BJ80 6×6 gets a 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, capable of delivering 250 horsepower. It lacks the complex axle geometry and the five lock differentials that the original got from the AMG engineers. No word on the Chinese dragon’s performance, but the Mercedes takes 7 seconds from a standstill to 100 km/h and it hits a top speed of 160 km/h. With a starting price of over 400,000 Euros, the 6×6 with the star in the radiator grille was sold out soon after its official debut.
Daimler is BAIC stakeholder, owning 12% of the Chinese-based company. BAIC locally manufactures various Mercedes models for the Chinese market, but the G-Class is not on the list. The BAIC reps say that their BJ80 6×6 is not a copy, but o tribute to the German mad machinery.