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 6×6 pickup and 4×4^2 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.