Engine transplants have been around since the dawn of tuning time and we have watched in wonder as bright men with spanners forced the largest possible powerplant through the smallest possible aperture to create a bucking bronco the original manufacturer never envisaged. This, though, is something else. This is the Mansory G-Couture, the military G-Wagen crammed full of, wait for it, an SLR 722 engine. Seriously.
The Geländewagen has proved increasingly popular with tuners since the one-time German troop carrier somehow crossed the line and became popular with executives, entrepreneurs, and the odd rapper. Spinner wheels, neon lights, hydraulics, it has seen them all, but this is the end game, the atom bomb of G-Wagens. If you're asking yourself why, then you just don't get it. "Because they can" is the only reasonable answer, and that seven obscenely rich men will pay for it.
And as it explodes into life in the grand entrance hall of Mansory H.Q. in Hof, just a stone's throw from the Czech border, it almost doesn't matter that the car makes no logical sense. This is quite simply the biggest, baddest, most extreme machine of its kind and Mansory will have no trouble at all selling all seven, even with a price of $750,000 for the "very basic version." The car before our eyes costs upwards of $1,000,000 and they will get more expensive.
Company owner Khourosh Mansory has never been one for timid conversions and has brought us everything from the widebody Bentley to the naked carbon-fiber Bugatti Veyron and a "distinctive" blue-and-yellow Panamera. The naked carbon look has become his calling card in recent years and he went for the works with the G-Couture.
The front apron and rear skirt are completely new, but there are obvious problems with ditching the main body and so the roof and side panels are simply added over the original steel. So the carbon on show here isn't designed to save weight; it's all about the looks, and whether you love it or loathe it there is no denying the car's pure impact. Its angular appearance serves to increase the size and everywhere I look there's another razor-sharp edge, another vent, another box section. And look at that carbon fiber closely and you'll see another trick-there are metal fibers running right through it to create a shimmering metallic effect. It's just mad.
The blades across the front look ready to slice and dice cars in front when it looms large in their rearviews and feed the remains through the gaping vent in the bonnet. Just in case they haven't noticed the bus screaming up to their rear from a thousand miles away, too, there are LEDs in the roof and the indicators are nestled just under the lights within the carbon.
The slab sides at least look in proportion with the gigantic 23-inch wheels, and then there's the back, which is somehow utilitarian and stark despite the expensive materials that even extend to the spare wheel cover. That is part of the G-Class's charm, but Mansory has added its own touches like soft-close and one-touch-opening doors to help justify the price and remove the strain of pulling open these giant slabs of metal from the magnate buyer. Although it looks simple, the rear end is made up of 10 separate parts for the bumper and diffuser alone and even the lights are held within a carbon cage. The diffuser-shaped skidplate maybe takes it too far, but where is the line here?
Not inside, that's for sure, where Mansory carried on with the carbon-fiber mentalness and then replaced the seats with racing shells before shoving most of the weight back in with heavyweight leather that's finished better than the sofa you have at home. There's even some python skin in there...
A state-of-the-art entertainment system keeps the passengers happy, too, while the driver concentrates on keeping the car on the road. In the wet, that could be quite a challenge.