Over the years, the Mercedes-Benz G-class series, also known as the Geländewagen, has built a reputation for being one of the more noticeable and unique lines of SUVs, having established an unmistakable identity with the brand over the past 37 years. While the engineers at Mercedes have done an excellent job of staying true to the original body’s design theme, they’ve also done a remarkable job of innovating and updating the vehicle with each new model. The 2016 G550 is no exception, with a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that provides 450 lb-ft of torque and 416 horsepower. That’s a considerable improvement over last year’s engine parts which were less efficient and less powerful, with a 5.5-liter V-8 producing only 382 HP/391 lb-ft.
- Embracing the Signature Look, Equipped with Better Parts
With each new G-class model you can expect to see that boxy and bold look that the model has become known for. Mercedes’ G550 body stays in its lane while getting notable enhancements over its predecessors. First, you’ll notice the engine effortlessly revs up to the redline at 6300-RPM while emitting a quieter sound from the vehicle’s dual side-exiting exhaust system, which still begs to be noticed but isn’t nearly as disruptive as the previous year’s version. Even with more than 5,800 pounds of solid Mercedes Benz parts and frame on board, this G550 manages to outdo the 2015 edition in acceleration, reaching 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.
- Entry Level Luxury Nothing to Scoff at
Surprisingly, Mercedes’ G550 is the least of its siblings yet still carries a price tag of $120,000+. The seven-speed automatic transmission is powerful, but it pales in comparison to the Mercedes AMG G65, which starts at only $20,000 higher and packs a much stronger punch. That explains why the latter model accounts for more than half of the Mercedes Benz G-class sales in the U.S. However, if the extra Mercedes performance parts equipped aren’t really a top priority for you, the exterior and interior parts and aesthetics of the G550 are comparable to the AMG G65, as both have the same fancy center stack and instrument cluster. Plus, the 4×4 G550 can hold its own in rough terrain just fine with a superb suspension system and drivetrain setup.
- Not a Powerhouse But Reliable Nonetheless
While the G550 isn’t in the same league as its robust G65 counterpart in terms of performance and power, it is about $100,000 less than the V-12 version of that model ($20k less was compared to V-8 G65). And remember to keep in mind, (for either AMG G65 version) you’d always be spending a premium on the Mercedes performance parts catalog. Not that anything of the brand is particularly ‘cheap’, but it’s worth checking Mercedes Benz parts online to gauge the general price differences between the models. The auto parts for either Mercedes G-Class versions will all carry the same quality and reliability.
Even with the cheaper price tag, the G550 is slightly more efficient with a 14 MPG fuel economy versus just 13 MPG for the G65. With all these things in mind, the G550 seems to be the wiser choice for a casual driver who won’t be going much beyond the confines of regulated roads and highways.
- Luxurious Yet Rugged
Furthermore, the 4-wheel-drive version is strong enough to bring you through the muck without leaving you stuck, so the G550 4×4 is still suitable for areas with rough weather or even the occasional off-roading adventure.
The Mercedes Benz G550 is a great vehicle, and we’re looking forward to seeing what else Mercedes Benz releases for its G-Class in the future.