A naturally aspirated 5.5L V8 engine provides 382 hp; mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission which puts down 75% of the V8’s torque at just 1,000 rpm. Unlike last year, this V8 is not the only available power source. Making its return for 2013 is the AMG trim of the G-class, the G63. Discontinued after 2011, the new AMG features a twin-turbocharged 5.5L V8 with a ridiculous 544 hp. Off-road driving is made easier by a low range transfer case and locking differentials, the latter having control switches located just below the infotainment screen on the center stack. Other updates to the Mercedes SUV include a rearview camera, new parking sensors and trailer-stabilizing functionality.
Nothing on the market is quite like the G-class, yet with an MSRP above $100,000, there are other luxury SUVs with better on-road handling and a lower price tag. The Land Rover Range Rover has a roomy backseat compared to the G and off-road performance is respectable. Though available options can cause it to soar, the base MSRP is much lower as well. With rugged roots also, the Lexus LX is a nicely equipped SUV that knows how to handle dirt. It has eight-seats and luxury features not available on the G-class. Another option to consider and known for its blend of size, accommodations, and drivability, the Cadillac Escalade is popular for offering a more complete SUV.
Practicality is not a strong suit of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, yet if you have the money and desire a true automotive icon not afraid to get dirty, there is no better option.