The Mercedes-Benz G-Class was originally developed for military use back in the 1970s as a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive conveyance, but it has been updated over the decades and given as many luxuries, conveniences and refinements as possible. Not that there’s any denying the G’s utilitarian roots: At nearly 3 tons, describing it as an over-engineered, leather-lined rolling bank vault would be an apt portrayal. It’s tall with a healthy step-in height, its doors close with a reassuring clunk, space efficiency is unexceptional and its heft contributes to poor fuel economy and ponderous handling.
The G500 — known more catchily as the Gelandewagen or G-wagen — traces its roots to Cold War Germany, where it emerged for military duty in 1979. It’s been built ever since by Steyr-Puch in Austria, but available in the United States until now only by gray-market importation, at prices well over $100,000. Now Mercedes has decided to claim this lucrative niche for itself, importing up to 2,000 a year to the United States at the
coupon-clipper price of $73,165.
Under the hood of the G500 is M-B’s 5.0-liter 3-valve-per-cylinder V-8 that pumps out 296 bhp at 5600 rpm and 336 lb.-ft. of torque from 2700 to 4250 rpm. It comes mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capabilities. The full-time 4-wheel-drive system has a low range where you can lock the front, center and rear differentials by flipping large rocker switches located on the center dash.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a five-passenger SUV offered in a single G550 trim that comes fully loaded with many of the luxury and technology items found in modern Mercedes. There are no factory options, but one can sample from the extensive “designo” catalog of custom-order paints, leather colors and interior trim choices.
The Mercedes G-Class masks its utilitarian nature well with a comfortable highway ride, but composure suffers when it’s hustled around corners due to its tanklike mass. It can be a handful to drive in the city as well, meaning that suburbanites had better think twice before choosing it as the go-to vehicle for errands.
On the other hand, the G shines off road with old-school competence that can conquer just about any terrain you’re brave enough to explore. Antiquated truck-based design is a hallmark inside, too, though it’s less welcome. The G-Class’s awkward ergonomics and space utilization can’t match the friendlier controls placement and layout of newer models. It is luxurious, however, with excellent materials quality and finish befitting a vehicle with such a lofty price point.
via : edmunds.com