2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review

G-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Overview

Originally developed some three and a half decades ago for military use, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has endeared itself to those who have taken retro-tough to a whole new level. Again for 2015 this 5-passenger full-size luxury SUV offers opulence and off-road prowess, power and panache, techno-savvy and titillating ride comfort, all at, you guessed it, a seriously hefty MSRP. Sure, there are curvier and infinitely more up-style high-end utes available that carry more seating capacity, cargo space and agility, but few offer the old-fashioned bulk and the no-nonsense utility of this outsize Mercedes.

Again available in two basic trims, the G550 and the track-inspired G63 AMG, the 2015 G-Class boasts but one notable, albeit subtle, change for the upcoming year. In celebration of this big ute’s 35 years of service the German automaker is expected to offer a one-time-only G-Class 35 Edition for this upcoming model year. Look for this one-of-a-kind anniversary version to boast a number of distinctive exterior and interior tweaks in color and materials via the Chrome and Sport packages, along with 18-inch polished alloy wheels and Napa leather upholstery.

Of course, all variations of this intimidating sport ute return boasting a full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) system that features such 4-wheel-drive-like (4WD) mechanics as a limited-slip rear differential and locking front, center and rear differentials that can be engaged sequentially or all at the same time, giving this posh people-mover terrain-busting capabilities that few contemporaries in this niche can muster. Alas, it does remain comparatively cargo-challenged, burdened as it is by a mere 79.5 cubic feet of load space with the rear seatbacks folded.

While ride comfort in these Teutonic titans is pretty decent considering their forbidding profile, expect excessive body lean once again in nearly every cornering maneuver, although this downside is mitigated a bit by the modernized stability control system.

As for grunt, look for the return of the standard normally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 powerplant in the G550, as well as the one-time-only 35 Edition. Mated with the ubiquitous 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission, this peppy V8 puts out 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque to garner a 0-60 time of 6.3 seconds (figures per M-B), even as this hefty hauler boasts 7,500 pounds of towing capacity. Those oil barons among us, however, will doubtless gloat over the 12 mpg city/15 highway fuel efficiency estimates.

Look for the G63 AMG to be powered by a twin-turbocharged version of the 5.5-liter V8 that’s good for 536 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque and remains under the management of the 7-speed shiftable automatic. Mercedes says this turbocharged monster will do 0-60 in 5.3 seconds with fuel-burning numbers mirroring its less potent siblings.

Standard features for all 2015 G-Class trims include 18-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof and heated power-folding and power-adjustable mirrors outside. Leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, heated rear seats and full power accessories perk up the inside.

Further cabin adornments include adaptive cruise control, power-adjustable telescoping tilt-wheel steering and memory for driver’s settings, along with front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a remote garage door opener. Dual-zone automatic climate control also returns for each 2015 G-Class trim, as does a heated steering wheel.

State-of-the-art techno-bling, meantime, remains a standard hard-drive-based navigation suite with 7-inch touchscreen, complemented by Harman Kardon premium audio components featuring 12 Surround Sound Speakers, 6-CD changer, satellite radio and auxiliary audio input (USB ports). Of course, all this is once again interfaced with COMAND/Bluetooth hands-free functions along with M-B’s mbrace voice-directions and smartphone apps.

Optional creature comforts are few for this already well-equipped brute, although a veritable cornucopia of exterior and interior colors and trim materials stand ready to be added to both regular trims and the aforementioned G-Class iterations via a number of styling packages.

Finally, such standard safety equipment as 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, and front side-mounted airbags return aboard the G-Class for 2015, all bolstered by mbrace emergency communications and alerts, LED daytime running lights and blind-spot monitoring. Additionally, self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, front fog/driving lights and a remote antitheft alarm also remain delivered with each of these hefty sport utes.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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