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  • 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Overview

    Anthony Sophinos
    Automotive Editor - January 17, 2018

    The Mercedes-Benz G-Class defies all logic. The design is little changed from its inception in 1979. It has a starting price well in the six-figures. From underneath it better resembles an old military truck than any other Mercedes SUV. And yet despite all this, the G-Class, or Gelandewagen if you prefer the original German name, has managed to captivate those wealthy enough to afford one.

    Maybe it’s the truck’s artisanal nature, from the hand-stitched interiors to the hand-woven wiring looms. Maybe it’s the ability of being able to conquer any terrain – and we truly mean any terrain – in total opulence. Maybe it’s the unabashed and uncompromising adherence to the dogma that has guided the Gelandewagen since day one. Whatever it is, the G-Class has it – and that je ne sais quoi has propelled this trundling leviathan to unexpected success.

    What's New for 2018

    The G-Wagon runs on a geologic time scale, so unsurprisingly there are no updates this year. Mercedes-Benz introduced a new G-Class at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, which will arrive in showrooms in late 2018.

    Mercedes G Class

    Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz G-Class

    There are four different trim levels for the G-Class, ranging from the merely wild G550 to the utterly absurd, $223,000 G65 AMG. Three engines are on tap: A 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, a handcrafted 5.5-liter twin-turbo AMG V8, and a handcrafted, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12.

    The twin-turbo V8 in the G550 and the G550 4x4 Squared makes 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque and helps a G550 hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. The AMG V8 in the G63 ups those numbers to 563 hp and 561 lb-ft, with 0-60 ringing in at 5.3 mph. The crown jewel here, though, is the twelve-cylinder engine. It makes a whopping 621 hp and 738 lb-ft, making it one of the world’s most powerful SUVs.

    Fuel economy? Let’s put it this way: A G-Class is built to conquer anything and everything – except a gas station.

    Because these vehicles are essentially hand-built, Mercedes can offer a highly personalized level of customization for colors, materials and trimmings. Over forty exterior hues as well as interior leathers, along with choices in stitching, seatbelts, steering wheels, and headliners, mean the sky’s the limit for potential aesthetic combinations.


    The G550 starts at $124,595 including destination charge, and is the cheapest of the US-market G-wagens. Considering the six-figure price tag, the list of included equipment is unsurprisingly long. Key standard features include 10-way power heated front seats with memory function, heated rear seats, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, a 12-speaker harmon/kardon sound system, Bluetooth, in-dash CD/DVD player, three power outlets and a single USB port. Also standard is an eight-inch touchscreen controlling navigation, music and hands-free calling features, and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality built in.

    Options include a $2,650 rear-seat entertainment system, a $250 heated steering wheel, a $1,400 adjustable suspension, and various prepaid maintenance packages. A $3,300 Night Package brings black mirrors, fender flares, roof, spare tire surround, and black 20-inch wheels. An $1,100 Luxury Package equips a G with white paint on the outside and blue leather inside, with a black headliner and champagne interior trim to complement the color scheme.

    G550 4x4 Squared

    Though the G-Class is more often seen in suburbia than the Sahara, it hasn’t forgot its roots. This is most clearly evident in the $224,695 4x4 Squared, which even at first glance makes no pretense about its intentions. Equipped with portal axles, dual coil springs and struts per wheel, 22 inches of ground clearance and just a hair under 40 inches of wading depth, this is no boulevardier – this is arguably the most hard-core off-road machine on the market.

    Standard features closely mirror the G550. Notable upgrades or differences include 22-inch wheels, Dinamica headliner and steering wheel, high-performance brakes, stainless-steel under-guard, and carbon-fiber trim. The adjustable suspension optional on the G550 is standard on the 4x4. Available options also match the G550.

    G63 AMG

    The tamer of the two AMG models, a G63 costs $143,795. Standard features here include an AMG braking system, AMG sport exhaust, Nappa leather, stainless-steel brush guard, and 20-inch wheels.

    Options for the G63 include the $330 carbon-fiber door edge guards and a $13,550 desert-themed Mojave Package, draping the car in earth-tones recalling the eponymous barren landscape. The available AMG Performance Studio Package costs $20,000 and brings to the table AMG Performance Studio paint, black side mirrors, fender flares, spare-tire surround, and bumpers, black Nappa leather, carbon-fiber interior trim, and black 20-inch wheels that hide silver-painted brake calipers.

    G65 AMG

    For $224,695, the G65 AMG and its over-the-top biturbo V12 is the on-road performance king of the G-Class models. Standard features are almost the same as the G63; the only significant difference is that the Exclusive Leather Package is now standard. Otherwise, standard features and available options mirror the G63.

    CarsDirect Tip

    Don’t get the 4X4 Squared unless you’re planning to exploit the incredible capabilities it offers – otherwise, the ride and handling from the jacked-up, portal-axle rig will get old quick. Also, for any trim level, be careful with options. A couple well-placed tick marks on the ordering sheet could easily tack on a cool $50,000 to the already steep base price.

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