Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class luxury SUV reminds us of a man out of time that everyone wants to meet, regardless of his age. The 2015 G-Class SUV isn’t sleek or modern, or even all that plush, but it is fashionable. Sadly, although designed to take on the most rugged terrain in the world, most G-Class SUVs will never leave the paved road.
You'll Like The 2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Class If...
If price, fuel efficiency and a car-like ride take a back seat to capability, audacity and pure power, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class for 2015 should fit you like a glove. The G63 AMG will dazzle with its speed and features, not to mention its price.
You May Not Like The 2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Class If...
If you’re looking for the latest in automotive technology and design, not to mention comfort, efficiency and style, we think a Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne or even a Cadillac Escalade makes a better choice.
For 2015, Mercedes-Benz sends its G-Class luxury SUV to showroom floors without any major changes or upgrades from the 2014 model.
Though brutish on the outside, the 2015 MB G-Class's interior is another story. This is still a Mercedes, after all. Its cabin is almost entirely handcrafted and features premium leather that covers the seats and dash. Polished wood and chrome accents abound. Controls are a fine mix of utilitarian (the three prominent locking-differential buttons displayed front and center) and elegant (a crisp, 7-inch tablet-style command screen). The G's squared shape means headroom is practically unlimited, but taller occupants may wish for more legroom. Cargo capacity is generous: over 45 cubic feet behind the 2nd-row seats and nearly 80 with them folded.
While even Range Rovers have softened their lines, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class for 2015 retains the same boxy, upright look. Aerodynamic it's not, but the G-Wagen's design is honest, masculine and pragmatic thanks to the interior roominess it affords. At just 184.5 inches long, the G is actually shorter than the Mercedes M-Class SUV. Recent upgrades such as LED daytime running lights, electrically folding mirrors and a fresh grille for the AMG version add touches of modern, but for the most part the G remains the boxy beast it's always been. You're likely to either be enthralled or repelled by its machismo.
Given its rough-and-tumble appearance, it isn’t hard to predict how the 2015 Mercedes-Benz G550 SUV is going to perform. With its high center of gravity, 5,500-pound heft and less than aerodynamic design, one might surmise aggressive cornering is not what the G-Wagen does best. But, this big luxury SUV does have a few surprises up its sleeve, namely far better steering and braking than we would have imagined and impressively quick straight-line performance. A potent V8 engine in the G550 enables a 0-60-mph run in around 6 seconds, while the twin-turbocharged G63 AMG makes the same run in about 5.3 seconds. The G-Class proves easier to maneuver around town than expected, but still falls short of the ride one might experience in a more modern vehicle, such as the Audi Q7 or even the MB GL550.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Class luxury SUV is just over $116,000 for the G550 and tops $138,000 for the G63 AMG. At these prices, the G-Class is among the highest-priced SUVs available. Rivals at these price points include the Porsche Cayenne Turbo (roughly $112,000) and Cayenne Turbo S ($147,000), and Autobiography editions of the Land Rover Range Rover ($138,000). If you're among the select group of buyers in the market for a G-Wagen, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying before sealing the deal. As for resale value, we expect the G-Class to retain its value better than the Range Rover but not as well as the Porsche Cayenne, which last year was crowned as Best Luxury Mid-Size SUV/Crossover in Kelley Blue Book's Best Resale Value Awards.
Both the G550 and the even more loaded G63 are stuffed with amenities and capability. Included in each model are a leather-and-wood interior, navigation, rearview camera and 12-speaker/450-watt harman/kardon AM/FM/CD/DVD audio system with HD Radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and USB input. Other features include heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and power-folding side mirrors. AMG models add richer Designo leather, 20-inch wheels, high-performance brakes and sport exhaust pipes that peek out the sides. Enabling the G-Wagen's off-road prowess is permanent all-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case and three lockable differentials (center, rear and front).
The 2015 G-Class is stuffed to the gills in standard form, and being a low-volume vehicle it doesn't have the usual list of options and packages like most other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Customers who want further exclusivity can get it with Mercedes' Designo selection of exterior color schemes and interior trims. Also available are subscriptions to mbrace, Mercedes' suite of mobile apps, concierge and other services.
SCULPTED FRONT BUCKET SEATS
Seat comfort is often overlooked in most reviews, but the 2015 MB G-Class’s front seats are worthy of praise. Supportive, firm and offering a wide measure of versatile adjustments, they make the longest trip a bit less taxing.
THE AMG VERSION
When money is no object, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG becomes the object of desire. If AMG’s styling treatment isn’t enough to win over converts, the twin-turbocharged V8 making 536 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque certainly will.
Under the Hood
Two V8 engine choices are available in the MB G-Class for 2015. The G550 uses a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 5.5-liter V8 that makes a robust 382 horsepower, while the G63 AMG ups the ante with a twin-turbocharged version that makes a thundering 536 horsepower. Both models feature permanent all-wheel drive and use a 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for those who want control of shift points. The AMG version features an Eco Start/Stop function, which cuts the engine at idle to save fuel. Both models of the G-Class are rated to return just 13 mpg combined and use premium gasoline. Towing capacity for both models is commendable at 7,000 pounds.
5.5-liter V8 (G550)
382 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
391 lb-ft of torque @2,800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/15 mpg
5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (G63 AMG)
536 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
561 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/14 mpg
Originally designed to ferry military personnel over inhospitable terrain, Mercedes’ G-Class for 2015 now finds itself tasked with taking the ultra-rich to and from their summer cottages and winter chalets. Nicknamed the “G-Wagen” (short for Gelandewagen), this hulking machine doesn’t fit the traditional definition of a luxury SUV, with a dated design and upright seating. But, maybe that’s its charm. It’s sort of a rebel vehicle for the pampered set that doesn’t want to be seen as going soft. The G-Class’ $115,000-plus price tag places it in league with the Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne, but should the need ever arise, its owners can take solace in knowing their luxury SUV remains one of the world’s most rugged and confident off-road explorers ever built.