World-class engines; go-anywhere skills; steeped in tradition; coolly brutal, brutally cool; plenty of modern technology
Decades-old platform; not so great at cornering; unsophisticated ride quality; crazy expensive
The G 550 4x4² (the more dedicated off-road variant with longer suspension travel and portal axles for superior ground clearance, which debuted last year) is now known as just the G 550 4x4. Other than that, the only noteworthy details are a couple of cosmetic packages and two new paint colors -- orange metallic and ocean blue metallic.
The G 550 4x4 might appeal to a well-funded mountain rescue unit, but it's overkill for anyone who sticks to regular roads. The V12-powered G 65 is gloriously, thunderously extravagant. Buyers at this level can afford whatever they want, of course, but they might like to wait until the 2019 version arrives later in 2018.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class comes in G 550, G 550 4x4², G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG versions.
The G 550 ($124,595) comes with a rich list of standard items, including alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED lighting accents, sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, keyless entry/start, heated/ventilated 10-way power front seats with driver's-side memory settings, heated rear outer seats, leather upholstery, two 12-volt outlets in the cabin and one 115-volt outlet in the cargo area, dual-zone automatic climate control, Harman Kardon 12-speaker surround-sound system and the COMAND infotainment system with navigation, USB port, SD card slot, auxiliary audio input and a 7-inch central display.
The G 63 AMG ($143,795) adds 20-in wheels, AMG-tuned suspension, sport exhaust, special styling cues and Designo leather upholstery.
The G 65 AMG ($223,695) brings 21-in wheels and diamond-patterned stitching for the leather. As well as that huge engine.
The G 550 4x4 ($228,295) has the same engine as the regular G 550. And it comes with off-road hardware that's even more serious, such as portal axles. These raise the G-Class above the level of the wheels' hubs (military Humvees have the same kind of setup). The result is an impressive 17.2 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 51.6 degrees, a break-over angle of 47.4 degrees and a departure angle of 43.8 degrees. The suspension has dual springs and damper struts, and it can wade through more than three feet of water. It also has skid plates and 22-in alloy wheels.
Option highlights are a rear-passenger entertainment system, stainless steel brush guard, carbon fiber trim, faux-suede headliner and a heated steering wheel. The G 550 is eligible for an adjustable suspension.
Cargo space amounts to 45.2 cu ft. with the rear seats up, 79.5 when they're folded down. And every G-Class has a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.
|Basic||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years/50,000 Miles|
2018 BMW X5 M -- The high-performance 567-hp X5 M is crazy fast and super-capable.
2018 Infiniti QX80 -- Based on the excellent overseas Nissan Patrol SUV, the QX is a legitimate off-roader and its styling rivals the G-Class for sheer audacity. It also costs tens of thousands less.
2018 Land Rover Range Rover -- The current generation of Range Rover is much lighter than before, so it can run circles around the hefty G-Wagen.
2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR -- As an alternative to an AMG G-Class, the RRS SVR is sumptuous, civilized, swift and spine-tingling. Now with 575 hp, a 25-hp boost from last year.
2018 Lexus LX 570 -- Anyone with a penchant for old-school luxury SUVs should check out the LX. It's based on the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser and also has dismal fuel economy.
Used Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen -- Since the G-Class's current platform dates back to 1990, you could pick up a used model and save a bundle while still enjoying the same styling and driving character.