By KBB.com Editors
While not as racy as the contemporary 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 2010 Mercedes-Benz G550's military roots serve it well, especially when it comes to off-road capability. Aftermarket manufacturers have a wide assortment of chrome accents and big wheels, allowing the discerning G550 driver to personalize his or her vehicle in ways the original designers could never have imagined. But be warned: Though it competes with luxury giant Land Rover's Range Rover, the G550 does not return the same refined ride or quiet cabin.
If you like your SUVs to look rugged and adventurous (think Hummer), you'll appreciate the old-school styling of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz G550, and millionaire off-roaders will love this vehicle's ability to climb, descend and overtake.
The G550's styling is far from design's cutting edge, and interior noise levels and ride comfort lag behind those of the Land Rover Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade.
Now entering its fourth decade of production, exterior changes to the 2010 G-Glass are limited to a few cosmetic upgrades and a new, sport-tuned exhaust. Inside, driver's will find newly designed 14-way power seats, a leather-capped dash, a heated wood and leather steering wheel and a 115-volt receptacle in the cargo area.
Driving Impressions Power for the G550 comes from the Mercedes-Benz dynamo of a V8, the 382-horsepower 5.5-liter engine. A strong contender in any field, the 5.5-liter seems to possess unending reserves of...low-end torque that makes the G550 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 G550 planted firmly on the ground, both on and off-road. The G550 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 have plenty of power and traction to deal with surprisingly steep grades and rugged terrain. 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.
If you've got to have the most expensive SUV on the market, you should at least get something extra-special for the cost. A 500-horsepower AMG-tweaked engine qualifies.
Sculpted Bucket Seats
Sculpted bucket seats help keep the driver and passengers in place when the off-roading gets tough.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz G550'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 G550'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.Exterior
Originally designed for use as a military vehicle, the G-Class found its way to U.S. shores to serve civilian duty as the Mercedes-Benz off-road flagship. Though the design may be old (40 years old, 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.
The G550 comes with permanent four-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic transmission, 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, rear-view camera, 14-way power heated and ventilated leather front seats, 18-inch split five spoke wheels, heated windshield, heated wood and leather steering wheel, bi-xenon headlamps and a rear wiper/washer.
Other than some dealer-installed upgrades, there are no major options for the G-Class.
The 5.5-liter V8 features such advanced engineering technology as Mercedes-Benz's double overhead cams with variably valve timing. Along with its 382 horsepower, the 5.5-liter V8 provides ample torque, an attribute more important than horsepower given the G550's ponderous bulk. Acceleration is strong and, unlike the old G500, doesn't fall off 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.
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/15
5.5-liter V8 Supercharged
500 horsepower @ 6100 rpm
516 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2750-4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/13
By ashkana (CA) on Monday, September 03, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "safe, fast, fun to drive"
Cons: "cup holders, keyless go not standard"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"A cut above the rest. in a world where range rover is at every corner the G really stands out. It is a great car for the family and in the city. I feel comfortable knowing my 5 year old is riding in the back of this tank. i have S550 as well. The G is luxorious but not luxory especially if you have an S class Benz."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By HyMaint (PA) on Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "This truck is a monster that everyone looks at!"
Cons: "It gets a very robust 9 mpg!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my G500 last June. I love it. Maintenance is expensive, and so is the fuel, but if you can afford a G, you shouldn't complain. I will be a loyal G owner only trading up to a silver G55 :)"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By jmak (MD) on Friday, September 02, 2011
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "amazing in every way"
Cons: "cant upgrade the stereo to have ipod interface without going 3rd party"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"What more can i say. I own a few other cars and i never want to drive any of them more than i do this truck. Not to mention how well it tore up the 5 ft of snow we had last winter. best vehicle ever."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By cemi (TUCSON) on Monday, May 16, 2011
overall rating 2 of 10rating details
"I had 2 weeks with this G550 and 900 miles,leaking oil!!!!!!!!! took it to the dealership and guess what!!!!!!!!!! This $106,000.00 needs the engine to be replaced!!!!!!!!!!! on a $100k car is unacceptable!!!!!!!!!! I WAS DRIVING A LEXUS AND NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH IT!!!! IF FEEL SO BAD FOR LETTING MY LEXUS GO TO GET THIS TRUCK!! BIG !!!!!!!!!!MISTAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
6 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By cemi (Tucson,Az) on Thursday, May 12, 2011
overall rating 5 of 10rating details
"Only 2 weeks and 900 miles with this 2011 GWagon and already is in the dealership for repair!!!!(leaking oil thru some seals).It is not accetable for a $100k plus vehicle .Hopefully it gets better with time,I already miss my Lexus GX460 that never had any problems with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
1 person out of 6 found this review helpful
By Armando (New Jersey) on Monday, May 02, 2011
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"I have a 2004 G500 and i love everything about it. Yes it might seem a little expensive at first to maintain-but all of the part last a long time once you spend the money on it. The car is definitely built to last. I am still very happy with my g500 right now."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful