New Car Review

2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Coupe
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
$195,000
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$36,052
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
$26,997
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 4MATIC
New 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
$Unlisted
RELATED READING
See all Mercedes-Benz G articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by AutoTrader April 2018

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is predominantly hand-built in Austria, a process that will continue when an all-new generation comes along for the 2019 model year. Yes, this is the last chance to buy a new luxury midsize SUV that's changed little from its roots as a Cold War-era German military vehicle. Not that it really had to.

Tough and functional, the G-Class employs old-school body-on-frame construction while enjoying utilitarian squared-off styling, robust all-wheel-drive hardware, armed-forces chic, and some of the best engines Mercedes-Benz has to offer. These include the superb 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged 536-horsepower V8 that powers the G 63 AMG, and the mighty V12 in the G 65.

It's sometimes known as the G-Wagen, because the G in the name refers to Gelandewagen, which is German for cross-country vehicle. The first year of civilian production was 1979 and the current generation hit the streets in 1990. Equally at home in the Sahara Desert or the Arctic Circle, the G-Class has also pulled duty as protective transportation for a Pope (when it was nicknamed the Popemobile).

So buying a G-Class means dropping six figures on a glorified German Jeep that debuted during the Carter administration. However, that's not necessarily a bad idea, since there's nothing else quite like it. Also, this vehicle has gone beyond mere utility to become part of modern culture. Now it's as famous as some of the selfie-obsessed reality TV stars who are owners.

What's New for 2018?

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.

What We Like

World-class engines; go-anywhere skills; steeped in tradition; coolly brutal, brutally cool; plenty of modern technology

What We Don't

Decades-old platform; not so great at cornering; unsophisticated ride quality; crazy expensive

How Much?

$124,595-$228,295

Fuel Economy

All G-Wagens have a 7-speed automatic transmission, along with a sophisticated 4-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing and electronically locking front, center and rear differentials.

The G 550 employs a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine rated at 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. It has a stop/start feature to save a little gas, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still estimates fuel consumption at 13 miles per gallon city, 14 mpg highway and 13 mpg combined.

The G 550 4x4 has the same engine as the regular G 550, but the EPA adjusts fuel use to 11 mpg city/11 mpg hwy/11 mpg combined.

The G 63 AMG sports a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 developing a fearsome 536 hp and 560 lb-ft. Consumption is 12 mpg city/15 mpg hwy/13 mpg combined, despite also having an auto stop/start feature.

The G 65 AMG enjoys a monstrous 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12. Predictably, fuel consumption struggles to reach double digits: 11 mpg city/13 mpg hwy/12 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

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.

Safety

The G-Class comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and just four airbags: two in the front and two full-length side curtain airbags.

Standard electronic safety aids include blind spot monitoring, rearview camera and the Mbrace2 telematics system that features automatic collision reporting, stolen vehicle locator, SOS button and remote door locking.

The G-Class has not been crash tested by any agencies in the United States.

Behind the Wheel

Believe it or not, the G-Class feels even higher than it looks. Its tall and narrow shape is amplified somehow once you're behind the wheel. If there's a tight corner ahead, take it slow.

People generally don't buy a G-Class for the way it drives, but the fortunate few who do will be pleasantly surprised by its highway cruising talents, limited only by terrible aerodynamics and the subsequent wind noise -- that's the tradeoff for such generous headroom. It's even more adept off the road, as long as 22-in chrome rims with low-profile street tires haven't been installed (you wouldn't do that, would you?).

Other Cars to Consider

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.

Autotrader's Advice

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.

Find a Mercedes-Benz G-Class for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R Coupe
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
$195,000
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$36,052
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Used 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
$26,997
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class 4MATIC
New 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
$Unlisted
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.
2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: New Car Review - Autotrader