KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
While not as racy as the new GL-Class, or in the running to win any awards for aerodynamic efficiency, there is no denying the ability of the G-Class Benz to make a lasting impression. Big, boxy and about as modern as a dial-up phone, the G500's military roots serve it well, especially when it comes to off-road ability. Aftermarket manufacturers have a wide assortment of chrome accents and big wheels, allowing the discerning G500 driver to personalize his or her vehicle in ways the original designers could never have imagined. But be warned: Though priced similarly to a Land Rover Range Rover, the G500 does not return the same refined ride or quiet cabin.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you like your SUVs to look rugged and adventurous (think Hummer), you'll appreciate the old school styling of the G500, and millionaire off-roaders will love this vehicle's ability to climb, descend and overtake.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The G500's styling is far from design's cutting edge, and interior noise levels and ride comfort lag behind those of the Range Rover and Escalade.
What's Significant About This Car?
The 2007 G500 receives a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the G55 AMG maintains its five-speed unit. New standard features include a heated windshield, a new center console design and bi-xenon headlamps.
Power for the G500 comes from Mercedes-Benz's dynamo of a V8, the 292-horsepower 5.0-liter engine. A strong contender in any field, the 5.0-liter seems to possess unending reserves of low-end torque that make the G500 move as quickly and responsively as an M-Class. The G-Class needs this much power because it is almost literally built like a tank (or at least an armored personnel carrier), and weighs just over 5,500 pounds. This immense bulk is one of the contributing factors to keeping the G500 planted firmly on the ground, both on and off-road. The G500 features an advanced four-wheel-drive system that is permanently engaged. Once off road, you can place the two-speed transfer case into low and take off up the steepest grades without much concern. Three buttons on the center dash allow you further control by permitting the front, center and rear differentials to be locked, either all at once or in random order.
The optional Designo Series packages add a feeling of exclusivity to an already exclusive vehicle.
Sculpted Bucket Seats
Sculpted bucket seats help keep the driver and passengers in place when the off-roading gets tough.
The G500's upright design translates to an uncommonly roomy interior, with more than ample head, leg and hip room for passengers and generous storage space for their cargo. Mercedes has added a 21st-century touch to the dash and door panels by covering them in soft leather and real wood; likewise, the angular dash is somewhat softened by the installation of the COMAND system's LCD screen and the rounded speedometer and instrument gauges. You'll find the G500's seats to be very tall and upright and somewhat firm, in traditional Mercedes fashion. The rear seats are split in a 60/40 configuration and can be folded and flipped to provide more cargo room.
Originally designed to serve as a military vehicle, the G-Class soon found its way to U.S. shores to serve civilian duty as the Mercedes-Benz off-road flagship. Though the design may be old (over 25 years, in fact), the vehicle's remarkable robustness, with thicker-than-average sheet metal and hand-built construction, has allowed it to sail through every government crash test with flying colors.
Notable Standard Equipment
The G500 comes with permanent four-wheel drive, locking differentials (center, front and rear), stability control, traction control, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, COMAND system with harman/kardon audio and navigation, rear park assist, 10-way power heated leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield, bi-xenon headlamps and a rear wiper/washer.
Notable Optional Equipment
The G55 AMG package is among the few options, as are SIRIUS Satellite Radio and some dealer-installed upgrades.
Under the Hood
The base 5.0-liter V8 has plenty of torque, a figure more important than horsepower, given the G500's ponderous bulk. Acceleration is strong but falls off somewhat at highway speeds. The AMG version, with its supercharged 5.5-liter engine, is more likely to get you in trouble with the law, and can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 5.5-seconds.
292 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
336 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/15 mpg
5.5-liter V8 Supercharged
493 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
516 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/13 mpg
The G500 starts around $84,000 and, when fully-loaded, can top out around $108,000, A look at the kbb.com Fair Purchase Price shows little wiggle room at the negotiation table, with most models selling at or slightly above MSRP. Over a five-year period, the G500 and G55 hold a slightly better-than-average projected residual value for its segment. At 24 months, both are expected to retain about 60 percent of their value; after 48 months the number falls to about 50 percent. That's better than the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade but similar to a Lexus LX 470 and Land Rover Range Rover.