2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Expert Review

3.1 Overall Score
Performance 2.7 Comfort 3.3 Styling 3.3 Value 2.0

Editor's Overview

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class exists for a rather niche buyer set. While it's in every way just as capable as other full-size luxury SUVs on the market, it leaves a lasting impression with its boxy, military-influenced styling.

You'll Like The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class If...

If you get a childlike smirk when you look at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV you'll probably love it.

You May Not Like The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class If...

If you're expecting the big-sedan comfort offered by most modern SUVs, the Mercedes-Benz G550 is not for you.

What's New

The AMG-tuned G55 is no longer available, but Mercedes has created a new "Edition Select" package for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550.

Interior Features

With a price of more than $100,000, you'd better believe there are plenty of modern conveniences packed into the 2012 G550. Features include the Mercedes-Benz COMAND system with its computer-mouse-like control and LCD monitor, leather seats and sunroof. Cargo room is as good as you'd expect and headroom is outstanding. Taller drivers and passengers, however, will wish for more legroom.

Exterior Features

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV is one of the most immediately identifiable vehicles in the world. Its broad shoulders and high stance make a clear statement. Mercedes has advanced the looks of the G-Wagen just enough to make it recognizable as a modern vehicle, rather than a compromised version of a military workhorse. It doesn't hurt that every panel of the G-Class screams "solidly built."

Driving Impressions

Like its predecessors, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV is no corner carver. Its sheer bulk and boxiness don't lend the butch SUV to turning on a dime. It is giggle-inducing quick in a straight line, however. Though few will ever see muddy trails or rocky paths, the 2012 G-Class is a formidable off-road machine. In everyday highway driving duty the G-Class feels like a lighter SUV.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550 is just over $106,000. The Edition Select Package adds about $7,000. Even in the rarefied air of SUVs such as the Land Rover and the Porsche Cayenne, this is a hefty sum. Those who fall for the G-Class lure, however, will be the first to say it's worth it. Be ready to travel to test-drive a G-Class, as most are sold as special orders and finding one on a lot is rare. Still, be sure to visit kbb.com to see our Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in and, perhaps, outside your area are paying. Resale values on G-Class models have been relatively strong over the past few years, but only time will tell if the limited production and impending cancellation of the G-Class will hold much sway over the long-term value of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Notable Equipment

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550 comes with 4-wheel drive, a 7-speed automatic transmission, three locking differentials, traction and electronic stability control, heated and ventilated power front seats, rearview camera and 18-inch wheels.

Notable Options

For 2012, the Mercedes G-Class is offered with no options, except for the Edition Select Package, which includes AMG-design dual exhausts and fender flares, special wheels, a leather dashboard, and special wood trim.

Favorite Features

Sculpted Bucket Seats

The seats in the Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV are excellent. They offer versatile adjustment options and a firm grip for the driver.

It Lives

Even if it's only for one more year, it heartens us to see an iconoclast such as the 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class survive in an era where too many designs are almost indistinguishable.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV keeps its impressive 382-horsepower 5.5-liter V8. Those who venture off-road will appreciate its gargantuan 391 lb-ft of torque, which is reached at a low 2,800 rpm. The 2012 G-Class will accelerate from rest to 60 mph in about six seconds, which is amazing for such a heavy vehicle.

5.5-liter V8

382 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm

391 lb-ft torque @2,800-4800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/15

Editors' Notes

Though the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has long been rumored to be on the chopping block, demand has managed to keep the vehicle, often called the "G-Wagen," alive for 2012 at least. The elimination of the G55 AMG model for 2012, however, doesn't bode well for the G-Class's future. One of the more storied production vehicles still available, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class was adapted from an iconic military-only off-roader. Over the years the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has progressively become more luxurious and technologically advanced. However, the G-Wagen's classic boxy styling and rugged performance have never strayed far from the original's intent. The Land Rover and Porsche Cayenne may be listed as competitors, but there's nothing quite like the 2012 Mercedes G550 SUV.

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