G-Class

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2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Overview

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the most iconic vehicles on the market. The unique, military-derived shape has been seen around the world since 1979. In the US, It enters an abbreviated 2018 year more or less unchanged in anticipation of a thoroughly redone 2019 version.

The G-Class continues to come in four main flavors. The basest of these is the G550, which employs a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 making 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. This drives all four wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Being a true off-roader, the front, center, and rear-differentials of the G550 can individually be locked via buttons on the dashboard, and there is a two-speed transfer case with high and low ranges. the G550 has more than 8 inches of vertical suspension travel, and with the optional adjustable suspension, drivers can switch from Comfort to Sport mode, or vice versa, and change the damper rate of the springs. On top of this, there’s the G550 4x4, which uses the same basic powertrain but has aggressive exterior styling, portal axles, 22-inch wheels, and over 17 inches of ground clearance.

At that point, Mercedes-Benz’ AMG performance house takes over in the form of the AMG G63. It gets a hand-built twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 with 563 hp and 561 lb-ft, along with a different 7-speed automatic. Zero-to-sixty time shrinks from 7.3 seconds to 5.3 seconds. Although this version is meant for speed, it keeps the same three lockable differentials and two-speed transfer case, and the suspension and brakes have improved street performance. Lastly, the AMG G65 is much the same as the AMG G63, but it upgrades the powertrain with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. This nets merely a 0.1-second improvement to the zero-to-sixty time due to the added weight, but the pure enjoyability of driving the V12 justifies its existence.

With such a wide spread, the G-Class as a whole has all sorts of equipment. Standard across all trims are bi-xenon headlights, leather upholstery, navigation, an 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, 10-way power front seats with memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone climate control, an electrically-heated windshield, and a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon system with a subwoofer. From there, the G-Class offers a full assortment of additions options depending upon trim, which includes everything from two-tone quilted interiors, to stainless-steel brush guards, to genuine carbon fiber trim, to loud paint colors in hues of bright green, pink, and yellow.

As far as safety goes, every G-Class gets six airbags, a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, trailer-stability assist, and rain-sensing wipers. There’s even a parking assistant to help drivers navigate despite the G-Class’ large proportions and boxy shape. Forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane keeping assist aren’t on the options list, though they are on other Mercedes-Benz models. The G-Class has not been crash-tested by any major agency.

Mercedes-Benz has kept the G-Class a handsome, luxurious SUV that needs no real introduction. With every version a well-built blend of comfort, power, and off-road capability, buyers truly can have it all. Look for the 2019 version to supplement that with improved styling and the latest technology and interfaces from the Mercedes-Benz portfolio.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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