2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review
Pros & Cons
- Iconic design is instantly recognizable
- Outstanding forward visibility
- Unusually quiet when on the road
- Lots of cosmetic customization potential
- Awful steering, handling, drivability and fuel economy
- Difficult to get into and out of
- Poor interior packaging leaves little useful space
- Compromised off-road ability
Which G-Class does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating6.7 / 10
The Mercedes G-Class is a throwback to an odd moment in the company's history. It was originally commissioned by the shah of Iran as a military vehicle, but that all stopped with the shah's ouster. Shortly thereafter, the G-Wagen, as it was known, was put up for sale to the public and officially brought to the U.S. decades later in 2002.
In the 40-year span since its development, there have been many upgrades, but the G-Class remains a rather crude and outdated vehicle. Handling is ponderous. It's difficult to get in and out of. It's uncomfortable. The interior is well behind the times, and there's not much room for passengers or cargo. Despite these drawbacks, it became a status symbol for wealthy clients looking to make a statement.
At long last, an all-new 2019 G-Class is set to go on sale, though from outward appearances it's nearly identical to this final first-generation G-Wagen. It will feature a ton of new updates throughout that should address its many drawbacks. Quite frankly, we suggest any potential G-Class owners wait for the new model that should go on sale in late 2018.
2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class models
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a five-passenger SUV that is offered in four trim levels: G550, AMG G63, AMG G65 and G550 4x42 (as in "squared"). All versions are equipped with a seven-speed automatic transmission, live axles at both ends, full-time four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case and three locking differentials, and they can tow up to 7,000 pounds. The G550 is entry-level only in a relative sense. It's extremely well-equipped — beyond its prodigious drivetrain hardware, it has leather-upholstered 10-way power-adjustable and heated seats, heated back seats, power-folding and heated mirrors, adaptive cruise, dual-zone climate control, navigation and premium audio. It's equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (416 horsepower, 450 pound-feet of torque).
Stepping up to the AMG G63 nets you a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 (563 hp, 561 lb-ft of torque), 20-inch wheels, larger brakes and a performance-tuned suspension. It also grants access to the AMG Performance Studio, whereby near-endless customization is available. The next step in the G-Class lineup goes from merely silly to truly absurd: the AMG G65, which slots in a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 (621 hp, 738 lb-ft of torque) and adds 21-inch wheels and revised upholstery.
Then there's the G550 4x42 for which words do not do justice. This has the 4.0-liter V8 but swaps the standard axles for portal axles, which dramatically increase ground clearance. It also adds 22-inch wheels, larger-diameter tires, twin coilover-damper assemblies at each wheel, wider fender flares and skid plates.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG (turbo 5.5L V8 | 7-speed automatic | 4WD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2015, the current G-Class has received only minor, mostly cosmetic revisions and the addition of the G550 4x42 trim level. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's G-Class.
|Overall||6.7 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the G-Class models:
- Mbrace2 Emergency Telematics
- Includes automatic collision notification, an emergency response button, stolen-vehicle location, and remote locking and unlocking.
- Blind-Spot Assist
- Provides a visual cue if a car is traveling in an adjacent lane and sounds an auditory alarm if you switch on the turn signal.
- Parking Assist
- Provides visual and auditory indications of parking distance to cars or objects located in front and rear.