2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Strong V8 engines
  • go-anywhere capability
  • unmatched presence
  • luxuriously appointed cabin.
  • Unwieldy handling
  • limited front legroom
  • very tall roof line
  • abysmal fuel economy
  • finicky telematics interface.
List Price Range
$44,995 - $49,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Buying a 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class makes little rational sense. But its massive power, luxurious cabin and tanklike presence make it strangely desirable if you've got a few bucks to burn.

Vehicle overview

Suppose you're the generalissimo of a military junta, or a prominent rap mogul. Maybe you own a remote cabin tucked away in the Rocky Mountains. Under any of these circumstances, you'll likely want an unapologetically brash, monumentally powerful, impenetrably built, endlessly capable and opulently luxurious vehicle that is like nothing else on the road. In other words, you'll want a 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Debuting back in 1979, the Gelaendewagen ("tough terrain vehicle"), or "G-wagen" for short, quickly found favor with various military outfits as well as safari enthusiasts. As the decades passed, the G-Class morphed from a serious, stripped-down, go-anywhere rig to a serious, loaded-up, go-anywhere rig. Yet despite its current S-Class-style interior furnishings, the underlying utilitarian nature is still a large part of this 5,600-pound truck's charm.

The oft-used cliché of Mercedes-Benz vehicles being built like a bank vault is no more apt than it is here, and for reasons other than the fact that the G-Class resembles a bank vault. The doors shut with such a solid, reassuring "clack"that we're surprised there isn't a combination lock affixed to the rear cargo portal. If the G-Class strikes you as being over-engineered and virtually indestructible, that's only because it is.

All romantic notions of saving Third World countries and/or running with the wildebeests on the Serengeti plains aside, the reality is that the very tall and very heavy G-wagen handles poorly in urban environments. Corners are best not rushed, the steering and throttle have a slow, leaden feel and some of the cabin's controls are down low and hard to reach. Other real-world demerits include the high step-in height, the voracious fuel consumption and the question of whether the towering G will fit in parking garages (including your own). On the upside, the ride is surprisingly compliant and the interior is certainly luxurious, if not as space-efficient as the boxy body promises.

Looking at the big picture, the 2011 Mercedes G550 and its supercharged G55 AMG stablemate make little sense as practical vehicle choices. As such, the G-Class is a quintessential third (or 13th) vehicle -- incredibly impractical but incredibly capable, with eye-catching styling to boot. If you like what the G has to offer and it won't be serving daily-driver duty, it could be a worthy addition to your fleet. But for regular transportation, a 2011 Lexus LX 570, 2011 Porsche Cayenne, 2011 Land Rover Range Rover or even a 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class would make a lot more sense -- even for a retired generalissimo.

2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class models

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a five-passenger SUV available in G550 and G55 AMG trim levels. The G550 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming driver and interior mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats with power lumbar and driver memory functions, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.

Also standard are the COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth, a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic updates, voice controls, and a Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo with a six-CD/DVD changer, satellite radio and an iPod interface. The G55 AMG adds a supercharged V8, 19-inch wheels, upgraded paint and interior wood trim, additional chrome body guards, an AMG instrument cluster and a faux suede headliner. There are no options on either model.

2011 Highlights

For 2011, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class sees no changes apart from a few new wheel styles.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz G550 is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 that produces 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. It has a full-time four-wheel-drive system with lockable front, center and rear differentials. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, the G550 went from zero to 60 in 6.6 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy is 11 mpg city/15 mpg highway and 13 mpg combined.

The G55 AMG gets a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that pumps out 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It gets the same four-wheel-drive system, but has a five-speed automatic. Mercedes estimates a 0-60 time of 5.4 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated to be 11/15/12 mpg.

Safety

The G-Class comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control and side curtain airbags. Side torso airbags are not available. In Edmunds brake testing, the G550 posted a 127-foot stop from 60 mph, an exceptional performance for such a heavy vehicle.

Driving

With either V8, acceleration in the 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is always a laugh-inducing experience -- something this huge simply should not be moving so quickly. Thankfully, it does, and it's a riot. The ride is comfortable on the highway, and only the nastiest potholes will send unpleasant impacts into the cabin. In terms of handling, the tall and narrow G doesn't inspire confidence through turns, and it enjoys the dubious distinction of being the slowest vehicle on record in the Edmunds slalom test, thanks in part to a highly intrusive stability control system. Moreover, the steering is slow and doesn't return to center easily or quickly since this vehicle is set up for off-roading.

The slow steering is a benefit in the dirt, though, as the G-Class can be guided through just about anything nature throws at it and the steering wheel rarely registers the impacts. With its full-time four-wheel-drive system with front, center and rear locking differentials, the G goes about its trail bashing (if one is so inclined in a $100,000 vehicle) with a more back-to-basics approach than what you'll get from a high-tech Land Rover or Lexus.

Interior

Although modern Benz electronics and climate controls are fitted to the G550, there's no getting around the utilitarian truck architecture. The navigation system and its fussy COMAND interface (which mostly relies on a four-button directional pad) are located at knee level; the simple climate controls are at your shins. Some features can be operated with steering-wheel controls, but in general, all other high-end luxury SUVs are more ergonomically friendly. In front, there is a single cupholder that clumsily plugs into the center armrest and another located in the passenger footwell that resembles a mesh athletic supporter.

Interior quality is excellent, but space is a different matter. Front-seat legroom is insufficient for taller drivers, and the backseat could use some more legroom. A center armrest in the back would be nice, too. On the upside (literally), there is no shortage of headroom, and the range of height adjustment for the power front seats is astounding. Flipping the rear seats forward provides 79.5 cubic feet of cargo space, but large humps on each side of the trunk (which resemble rear benches for seating troops) make fitting wider items like golf clubs difficult.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

The Best !!!!!!!!!!
cemi,08/16/2011
Love this truck, 5000 miles no problems !!! strong acceleration!! exterior styling!!!! and many more !!
Solid. Over-engineered and an investment
Stephen Gandee,12/17/2016
G550 4dr SUV 4WD (5.5L 8cyl 7A)
This thing doesn't drive great and gets poor gas mileage. But you know that.... It sounds tough with the dual exhaust under the running boards. It's completely impractical unless you are driving in the Arctic or Sub-saharan Africa but emotionally feels great and should last a lot longer than you do. This is the car you can pass down and remember how they made real cars that a human had to operate!

Features & Specs

MPG
11 city / 13 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
500 hp @ 6100 rpm
MPG
11 city / 15 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
382 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class features & specs
More about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Overview

The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is offered in the following submodels: G-Class G55 AMG, G-Class SUV. Available styles include G55 AMG 4dr SUV 4WD (5.4L 8cyl S/C 5A), and G550 4dr SUV 4WD (5.5L 8cyl 7A).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class G550 is priced between $44,995 and$49,995 with odometer readings between 67050 and69211 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2011 G-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $44,995 and mileage as low as 67050 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Can't find a used 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz G-Class for sale - 11 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,253.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $22,883.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz G-Class lease specials