Interior:Black Exclusive Nappa Leather
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. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a soldier in a business suit. This boxy SUV icon has survived volatile fuel prices and war zones for more than 40 years. The base G550s use a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 rated at 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to sprint this tall SUV to 60 mph in less than six seconds. Most buyers step up to the G63 AMG, which uses a hand-assembled twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 rated at 563 hp and 560 lb-ft that slices the 0-60 time by half a second and pumps out a menacing growl through chrome exhaust pipes located just ahead of the rear wheels. The 621-hp flagship G65 AMG’s V-12 engine delivers an intoxicating level of thrust comparable only to a jet. All three engines route power to all four wheels via a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The G-Wagen’s body-on-frame design and its solid axles endow it with tremendous off-road ability. In a pinch, a trio of locking differentials accessed via chrome-emblazoned buttons on the dashboard make it even more capable. Tread carefully, though: the AMG models have stiff suspensions and sporty tires that make them poorly suited to traversing rougher terrain. The G’s 8.3-inches of ground clearance isn’t as impressive as its approach and departure angles of 36 and 27 degrees and its ability to ford nearly two feet of water.
Inside, the G-Wagen is softer than its boxy proportions suggest. It’s not roomy—in fact, it’s a foot and a half shorter than the GLS-Class—but it is draped in leather and wood and a smattering of modern switchgear.