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The Mercedes G-Class Cabriolet Is the $200,000 Off-Roader You Didn't Know About

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2018

If you live in North America, you're surely aware of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class -- the boxy luxury truck that loudly shouts to everyone that you have lots of money. You probably also know about the monster truck-like G-Class 6x6 pickup and 4x4^2 lifted SUV, both of which got a lot of press when they debuted in the last couple of years.

You may not be aware that two other versions of the G-Class also exist: A 2-door hardtop model, which I call the "Coupe," and a 2-door soft top model, which is called the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Cabriolet. Yes, there's a Mercedes-Benz G-Class Cabriolet -- and no, I'm not referring to the "Maybach G650 Landaulet" model that's being made in ultra-limited numbers for certain markets. I mean that, for years, Mercedes-Benz made a 2-door, soft-top G-Class convertible, not unlike the Jeep Wrangler or Suzuki Sidekick. Except, you know, it costs $200,000.

Yes, that figure isn't an exaggeration. A brand-new, regular, 4-door Mercedes-Benz G-Class now starts at around $110,000, but that's nothing compared to the cost of the Cabriolet -- especially in the United States. Since Mercedes-Benz never officially imported the G-Class Cabriolet to the United States, getting one here can only be done privately -- at a massive cost, since any vehicle that isn't yet 25 years old must be "federalized" to meet U.S. government regulations before it can be legally registered in the United States.

A U.S. company called Europa has, over the years, succeeded in federalizing many examples of the Cabriolet, changing headlights and taillights and other items to meet U.S. specifications -- but this isn't done easily or cheaply. Europa G-Class Cabriolet models often sell for around $200,000, making this one of the most expensive SUVs in existence.

Interestingly, the G-Class Cabriolet is even expensive in Europe, where it doesn't have to be "federalized" or imported, as it was sold there new. G-Class Cabriolet models are highly sought after on European versions of Autotrader, and even 20-year-old examples can sell for $60,000 or more -- compared to half (or less) for a regular, 4-door G-Class. Newer versions often bring more than $100,000, desired for their power convertible top (something you can't get in a Land Rover Defender or Jeep Wrangler) and their modern safety equipment and technology.

It's unlikely that you'll ever encounter a G-Class Cabriolet running around the United States, and it's especially unlikely that you'll ever find a modern example with all the latest amenities that's been federalized by Europa or another company -- but they're out there, the ultimate SUV status symbol, the one SUV that has the ability to make owners of the "regular" G-Class feel like poor saps in an everyday, mass-produced SUV by comparison.

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Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4MATIC Coupe
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Mercedes G-Class Cabriolet Is the $200,000 Off-Roader You Didn't Know About - Autotrader