2012 Mercedes-Benz G Class

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
November 7, 2011

Buying tip

This is the last year to get a G-Class, so if you've been putting off the purchase--or just think you might want one soon--it's time to act.

features & specs

4MATIC 4-Door G 550
12 city / 15 hwy

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is nearly in a class by itself thanks to its unique, and essentially archaic, design, but it does what it does very, very well--for a price.

Though it's soon on the way out, the military-inspired and highly luxurious Mercedes-Benz G-Class soldiers on for 2012. Having completed over 30 years on sale with minimal structural changes, it's not surprising Mercedes has decided to move on, but the G-Class will be missed.

For 2012, the square, body-on-frame G-Class comes in just one trim: the G550. Powered by a 5.5-liter V-8 engine rated at 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque, the G550 is quick despite its bulk, accelerating to 60 mph in just eight seconds. A seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability handles the gear changes smoothly. Fuel economy, however, is as archaic is its underpinnings: just 12 mpg city and 15 mpg highway for 13 mpg combined.

With the solid-axle, 4MATIC four-wheel-drive, go-anywhere attitude of the G-Class, however, gas mileage will be at the back of your mind. In fact, if you can afford its $105,750 base price, you probably won't be worried about the cost of fuel at all.

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Comfort and ride quality are generally very good in the 2012 G550, with ample room for people and cargo in its boxy outlines. On-road handling is mediocre, at best, thanks to its primitive suspension design and high center of gravity, but it shines off-road, besting all but dedicated dirt vehicles despite its bevy of luxury features.

Despite being one of the most expensive SUVs on the market, the G-Class delivers luxury and capability that rival the Land Rover Range Rover--its only real competition. A range of special edition models, including the "Edition Select" mark the final model year for the G-Class.

Standard equipment on the G550 includes COMAND navigation and infotainment with voice control, Bluetooth hands-free calling, an in-dash SD card reader, walnut trim, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control and much, much more. In fact, it's so fully equipped, there are no upgrades or options available.

Like most very high-end luxury vehicles, the G-Class doesn't have any official crash test data, but it comes with all of the standard modern safety features you'd expect, including anti-lock brakes, brake assist, a full complement of airbags, and a rearview camera.

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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 7
Features 9
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