Exterior:Obsidian Black Metallic
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class looks, drives and has an attitude different from every other vehicle from the German luxury automaker. In reality, this is one of Mercedes’ oldest vehicles, and certainly its most rugged SUV. Initially made for military duty thanks to its resilient build quality and extreme off-road abilities, these days you’re more likely to see the G-Class on Rodeo Drive as a rolling status symbol of the rich and famous. It’s 5-passenger interior is luxurious and boasts plenty of amenities. But for those seeking the ultimate Mercedes-Benz SUV, the G-Class delivers legendary capability and a tough-as-nails charisma.
If you want a luxury SUV with jaw-dropping off-road chops and an image of bravado that few vehicles outside a tank can match, then raise a salute and stand at attention for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (aka the G-Wagen). The 2018 G 550 is a brute, but it also boasts amenities expected in a 6-figure Mercedes-Benz. AMG models notch up the insanity with high-performance engines.
Power for the G 550 is supplied by a twin-turbocharged V8 pumping out 416 ponies, readily available at the tap of the accelerator. The G-Wagen is a lesson in physics, or perhaps a lesson in defying them. Its V8 engine is capable of propelling this nearly 3-ton SUV from 0-60 mph in a mass-defying 5.8 seconds. If you’re buying this for serious off-roading, you probably already know this thing’s potential. For the majority of buyers who will (unfortunately) never leave the asphalt, know that the G-Wagen is all power. Built on a truck-like ladder frame and with sides as slabbed as the Malibu cliffs, its ride tends to be rough, and wind noise only gets louder with speed. A Mercedes-Benz GLE may not have the attitude of the G-Class, but its on-road manners are much more civilized.
While most luxury SUVs only hint softly at their off-road ability, the 2018 MB G-Class screams it proudly from the highest peak. You won’t find a sedan-like ride or ultra-quiet cabin in the G-Class, but you will find a tenacious off-roader that will make you the envy of the Moab set.
TRIPLE LOCKING DIFFERENTIALS
What’s better than one locking diff? Three! We know that most new G-Class buyers will never touch the three switches that sequentially lock the center, rear and front differentials; just know that if you get stuck in the mud escaping the paparazzi, these lockers work like magic in getting a grip.
While the 2018 G-Class has an exterior that’s all-brute, the 2-row/5-passenger interior is another story. This is still a Mercedes, after all. Its cabin is almost entirely handcrafted, featuring premium leather on the seats and dash. Polished wood and chrome accents abound. Controls are a fine mix of utilitarian (the three prominent locking-differential buttons displayed front and center) and elegant (a crisp, 8-inch tablet-style command screen). The boxy shape of this ultimate Mercedes-Benz SUV means headroom is practically unlimited. Cargo capacity is generous: nearly 40 cubic feet behind the 2nd-row seats and almost 80 with them folded.
While even traditionally rugged SUVs such as Range Rovers have softened their lines in recent years, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class retains the boxy, upright look it has had for nearly four decades. Aerodynamic it’s not, but the G-Wagen’s design is honest, masculine and pragmatic. At just 187.5 inches long, the G is actually shorter than the Mercedes GLE midsize SUV. Instead of an upward-rising tailgate, the G-Wagen has a big, old-school swing-out door. LED daytime running lights, electrically folding mirrors and an elegant instrument cluster with a 4.5-inch color display add touches of modern, but for the most part the G remains the boxy beast it’s always been.