KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/7/2013
One word best describes the Mercedes-Benz G-Class: extreme. Fit for use as a military vehicle, the 2014 G-Class is among the most capable SUVs ever created. Affectionately called the "G-Wagen," from the German Gelandewagen ("cross-country car"), it is rugged to the max, boasting three locking differentials and the ability to climb or descend an incredible 80-percent incline. Inside, though, Mercedes' ultimate off-roader is as luxurious as you'd expect for an SUV costing over $115,000. Like the Range Rover or a high-end Porsche Cayenne, most buyers will never use their G-Wagen to a fraction of its capabilities. But such rationale matters little. For this elite set, the reason to own a Mercedes G is much like the vehicle itself: It's all about being extreme.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you want an ultra-tough yet lavish 5-passenger SUV with disregard to fuel efficiency or price, the Mercedes-Benz G550 or the even more exorbitant G63 AMG version is ready to command your – and everyone else's – attention.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If sedan-like comfort or combined fuel economy greater than 13 mpg are motivating factors in your purchase, the G-Class's overall excess will pose a conflict. An Audi Q5, Mercedes M-Class or BMW X5 offers kinder road manners and better fuel economy (especially diesel models) at less than half the cost.
What's New for 2014
No major changes have been made to the 2014 Mercedes G-Wagen after it received a new interior and an enhanced exterior last year.
By its rough and rugged looks alone you can accurately surmise that the 2014 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV isn't a corner-carver. Its raised center of gravity and weight in excess of 5,500 pounds disqualify this ultra-premium SUV from turning on a dime, though its steering and brake feel are refined and of top-quality. For its bulk, the G-Wagen is surprisingly quick in a straight line. Its V8 engine enables the G550 to hit 60 mph in about six seconds, while the twin-turbocharged version in the AMG version launches the G63 to that mark in an estimated 5.3 seconds. In highway and around-town driving the G-Class feels easier to manage than you might expect. Though it's far more likely to roam Beverly Hills, where the G-Class truly excels is far off the beaten path. Few owners will use it as thus, but the G-Class remains an extremely formidable off-road machine.
SCULPTED FRONT BUCKET SEATS
Whether you're navigating the urban jungle or a real one, the front seats in the Mercedes-Benz G550 and G63 AMG make an excellent command center. They offer versatile adjustment options and a firm grip.
THE AMG VERSION
If you're already willing to spend the $115,000 it takes to get into a G-Wagen, what's another $20,000 and change? Step up and you'll get a voracious biturbo V8 that makes 536 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque, vs. the 382/391 figures of the naturally aspirated model.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…