Capable off-road, but where's the charm?
WE LIKE Dedication to design, off-road capability
WE DON’T LIKE Heavy-handed software, too-ritzy interior
Despite its age, the G-Class was loved by consumers and critics alike. It’s what makes the redesigned second-generation G-Class such a big deal for Mercedes.
At first glance, Mercedes absolutely stays true to the original’s spirit. It looks much like a slightly scaled-up G-Wagen, right down to its boxy design and callbacks such as its (pedestrian-friendlier) fender-mounted turn signals and shunk-shunk mechanical door locks.
Hop inside, and there’s no mistaking that this G-Class is a product of 2018. The now-roomier cabin is jarring in its ode to modernity when compared to the old-school cool the sheetmetal was selling. Up front are massive twin digital displays operated by touchpads on the steering wheel, the left a digital instrument cluster, the right a fussy infotainment system. The rest of the cabin is filled with leathers, woods, and metals, which are welcome but feel more appropriate to an S-Class than this pricey off-roader.
Anchored by a choice of 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8s paired with a nine-speed automatic and four-wheel drive, the new G-Class is worlds better on-road. Although Frank Markus found the AMG version “totally awesome” on winding roads, the base G 550 predictably suffered from understeer when pushed too hard—easy to do with 416 hp on tap. But it keeps its traditional off-road skill set. Both the G 63 and G 550 laughed at our off-road course, especially with the AMG’s Sand mode.
But there are issues. Modern nannies were overbearing, even playing the pre-crash safety sound during routine maneuvers. There were also several gremlins, including an improperly adjusting driver-side mirror.
Although the old G-Class was never perfect, it was charming. The new edition may have lost some of that character in embracing the modern world.
|2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 4Matic||2019 Mercedes-AMG G 63 4Matic|
|Base Price/As tested||$125,495/$145,265 (est)||$144,695/$167,145 (est)|
|Power (SAE net)||416 hp @ 5,250 rpm||577 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (SAE net)||450 lb-ft @ 2,250 rpm||627 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm|
|Accel, 0-60 mph||5.4 sec||4.1 sec|
|Quarter-mile||14.1 sec @ 98.4 mph||12.6 sec @ 108.9 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||136 ft||123 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.61 g (avg)||0.75 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||30.7 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)||28.2 sec @ 0.64 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||Not yet rated||Not yet rated|
||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV||Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine/Transmission||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8 /9-speed automatic||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8 /9-speed automatic|
|Curb Weight (F/R Dist)||5,665 lb (53/47%)||5,821 lb (54/46%)|
|Wheelbase||113.8 in||113.8 in|
|Length x Width x Height||189.7 x 76.0 x 77.2 in||191.9 x 79.3 x 77.4 in|
|Energy Cons, CITY/HWY||Not yet rated||Not yet rated|
|CO2 Emissions, Comb||Not yet rated||Not yet rated|