“I do not think people are going out to buy this luxury vehicle to drive some rough back roads but it would be comforting to know it can…”
The recent Mercedes G-Class increased the aggressiveness of its physique.
And, as a result, the G550 I tested can now navigate around the rhinos in the African Serengeti as well navigate the busy streets of downtown Vancouver without looking out of place! – Many would think you’re crazy to take a Mercedes off-road, but this vehicle has been exploring Africa and Asia for decades.
It has a European look at the front end, with two marker lights on top of the fenders and LED light strips just below the headlights. A large Mercedes emblem is proudly displayed in the centre of the grille. The large wheel well openings and fender flares contribute to the aggressive look but serve a practical purpose in allowing for full travel of the suspension without letting the tires rub.
In The Cab
Good vision on all sides. The cabin is extremely well laid out. Controls are easily reached and I like the carbon fibre look over the wood burl. Three rocker switches on the dash control the centrifugal lock on the transfer case, the rear differential lock, and the front differential lock. When you engage these locks, an audible sound appears along with a light on the dash.
The navigation screen is just above the centre stack on the dash. It looks a little out of place, almost if it were an iPad placed there. I would have liked to have seen more of integration into the dash.
The seats are very comfortable and controlled from the door panel. The steering wheel has a piano black lacquer on the smooth surfaces and the upholstery is ‘designo’ leather giving this space a luxurious feel to it.
Driver and front passenger air bag, side and rear head airbag. 4 wheel ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, and brake assist. In the event of an accident the engine is automatically turned off, hazard lights are turned on, and doors are automatically unlocked. Now that is thinking!
I had the opportunity to test this vehicle on the back roads. I have to admit I was a little sceptical of taking this vehicle through the mud and steep washouts without damaging it. To my surprise, the vehicle performed just fine. I had driven on a steep side slope without and problem although my passenger was a little worried we were going to roll. I took it through a series of well-placed ditches to test the articulation and managed to raise the passenger front tire easily three feet in the air while I teetered back and forth. A section of deep mud was no problem with the rear differential lock on. There was no chance of this being stuck. Besides there was no way I was calling Mercedes for a tow!
I do not think people are going out to buy this luxury vehicle to drive some rough back roads but it would be comforting to know it can.
The G550 is equipped with a 5.5 Litre V8, which has an output of 382 hp and 391 ft lb of torque. The transmission is a 7G-TRONIC plus, that has been around since 1960, although updated to handle today’s requirements.
18.1 /13.6 L/100 km (city/highway)
Basic warranty 4 years / 50,000 km
Drivetrain 4 years / 50,000 km
Corrosion 4 years / 50,000 km
Roadside assistance Unlimited
Starting at $121,600