Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen Tackling SUV Market – Again

Giancarlo Perlas January 26, 2017

mercedes-benz g-class

Since beginning development circa 1972 and becoming Range Rover-esque in 1979, G500 Mercedes owners have often pinched themselves after purchasing this beastly SUV. Commonly found roving the Aussie desert oaks instead of transporting teens to ballet practice, this off-road delight may have a $70k-100k+ price tag, but every feature delivered by Mercedes-Benz is well worthy of praise.

mercedes-benz g-class (1)

Land Rover definitely had their work cut out for them when G500 was reintroduced, targeting utilitarian folks using cargo vans as opposed to families seeking boxed safety cages.  Here’s the skinny about this intriguing jalopy, reintroduced to society in 2016 at L.A.’s acclaimed automotive show.

High Quality Production

mercedes-benz g-class (5)

Both military versions and civilian models were mass-produced, and both have equally low gear configurations to allow smooth handling in virtually any setting. 4-Door and 5-Door models are available, packing SOHC power and punching 24 valves down your backwoods trails.  Sure, it only does 0-60 in slightly over ten seconds, but unless you’re running from guerilla soldiers, you probably wouldn’t need such punch driving down Route 66.

Buyers can test drive a 5-speed manual with low torque lockdown while experiencing tons of cabin space.  Finally, experience the Bosch Motronic ME 2.0 engine control system stuffed inside an oversized engine compartment, waiting to deliver a 5500 rpm can of whoop-ass on rocky terrains. All G-wagen buyers get solid transaxle assemblies, plenty of junk under the hood, and enough aluminum to keep things lightweight.

Fuel Economy Goes Out the Window

mercedes-benz g-class (4)

After you’ve scrounged up the $120,000 needed to secure Mercedes G500 ownership, fuel economy pales in comparison to your vehicle’s expected lifespan.  Caring about fuel economy will only uproot numerous gray hairs; in fact, certain Lamborghinis come in higher than the 13/16 rating given to this beast. With 450 lb-ft of torque, who cares about savings?

Consumers generally have plenty of dinero set aside before splashing down the $10,000 down payment, yet probably don’t think about how many times refueling will be needed during their lease or buyout. Unless you plan on pairing motor mounts to 4-cylinder engines, this model definitely isn’t for the frugal.

One issue we found: it takes 38.9 seconds to go from a stop to 130 mph. Not that anyone is interested in breaking the sound barrier in what appears to be a family-sized tank. In terms of braking, Car and Driver tested a base-model G500, finding that it took 183 feet to stop the vehicle at 70 mph.

Built Like a Brick Shithouse

mercedes-benz g-class (3)

Imagine rolling down Rodeo Drive inside some gargantuan bank vault on wheels.  That’s pretty much what consumers get when they’ve invested in their first G500 Mercedes, and that’s the reason pricing hits the ceiling.  292 horsepower converging towards even brick walls would be problematic—for the wall.  The steel construction used is definitely good enough for armored vehicles, military rovers or anything near a Sherman tank. Chalk up another manufacturing vehicle victory for the Austrian-built Mercedes-Benz G500.

You’re able to upgrade your paint to a mystical red metallic finish for $2300, get real leather interior seating for around $1900, and get intuitive tech installed for, well, God knows how much.

More Goodies

mercedes-benz g-class (5)

The revived Peugeot Puch remains well behind in features embedded within the Mercedes G500, although the Puch is cheaper—in British territories, anyway. 2016 Benz models come with 7-speed automatics, 3 ½ tons of towing capacity and slightly over 45 cubic feet of space. Over 380 pissed-off stallions flex at 6000 rpm, spitting 391 foot pounds of torque at critical mass.  Base engine displacement enters at 5.5L, although with ample amounts of begging and cash-flashing, one could amass 6.0L with ease.

The 2017 G500 didn’t see much change, although it added some flavorful colors to their lineup. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and three locking differentials help SUV lovers torment farmlands.

The Verdict

mercedes-benz g-class (2)

$120k sure doesn’t go far here. Braking seems to be rather slow at all levels tested, which could be due to size. The two AMG versions rolled out in 2016—a V12 and a 563-horsepower hot rod—keep just enough off-road enthusiasts interested while traditional Mercedes-Benz safety features keep soccer moms happy. Cabins could be slightly roomier, however, given its taller stature.

Hard to fathom just 41 years ago, somebody decided to turn the Mercedes into a lunchbox on wheels—yet 2016 entered Mercedes’ fourth decade in planning and nearly 34 years of production.  After leaving your Jeep behind, jump into this rolling brick scheissehaus, that Americans simply call a G500 Mercedes-Benz beauty.

Tagged with: , , ,

About Author

Giancarlo Perlas

Giancarlo is an economist by profession with a career spanning nearly two decades. His professional journey has seen him assume vital roles in various government and private organizations. Alongside his civic and corporate pursuits is his love for cars, particularly those made by Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, he found himself with like-minded individuals within BenzInsider. From then on, he used the platform as a way to share his passion with the automotive community. Follow his Facebook page at, X (formerly Twitter) @giancarloperlas, and IG @benzinsider. View all posts by Giancarlo Perlas →

Leave a Comment

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!