2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
October 30, 2020

Buying tip

For most mortals, the G550 provides plenty of power—but we can’t blame you for falling for the AMG’s 577-hp allure.

features & specs

13 city / 16 hwy
17 city / 19 hwy

If the G-Wagen is your thing, the 2021 Mercedes G-Class is arguably the greatest on-road, off-road, and everywhere in between.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class? What does it compare to?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a high-end, ultra-luxury SUV with serious off-road capability and more than a small dose of civility inside. Shop it against the Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX 570, and Toyota Land Cruiser, possibly even a Sherman tank. 

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class a good SUV?

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If your house—scratch that, your estate—is at the top of a hill, accessible only by helicopter or a rocky road, yes, the either the G550 or the G63 AMG is a great choice.

On our scale, it scores a 6.6 out of 10 on account of road manners better than you may expect, all the luxury Mercedes-Benz can throw at a vehicle, and serious underhood muscle. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

After a 2019 redesign—its first full-scale rethink in decades—the G-Class largely stands pat aside from some minor trim and feature tweaks. It gets a standard digital gauge display, and wireless smartphone charging now is standard on the AMG edition.

Two versions are on offer: The G550 with its 416-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 and the AMG G63, which delivers 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque from an especially ferocious version of the V-8. All Gs are four-wheel drive with three locking differentials, and although a switch to an independent front suspension up front made them more comfortable on-road, the G-Wagen (from the German Geländewagen, or “cross-country vehicle”) is a formidable four-wheeler as long as it’s not outfitted with the optional 22-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the G is spacious, but not as cavern-like as a contemporary Range Rover. Fine materials and glimmering 12.3-inch screens under a single pane of glass help justify a sticker price that easily tops $150,000 with options. 

How much does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class cost?

The G-Class starts at around $132,000. Though most features are standard, a wide range of optional trim packages add everything from extra-cost paint (as much as $6,500), AMG styling bits, massaging seats, softer leather, and more can easily add $20,000 to that. 

Recommendations go out the window when we’re looking at vehicles like the G-Class, so plan to spend some time with your local dealer to select the SUV that best suits your taste and needs. 

Where is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class made?

It’s assembled in Graz, Austria.


2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class


Subtle it is not, but the 2021 Mercedes G-Class definitely has presence.

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class a good-looking car?

That depends on your definition of good-looking. Favor the quiet, introverted look? Keep shopping. The boxy G-Wagen drips with personality outside and has a lavish interior that almost feels like it belongs in a Mercedes sedan. For those attributes, we rate it a 7 out of 10.

Mercedes has kept the G-Wagen’s boxy look intact for more than 40 years, even after a wholesale redesign for 2019. The chunky lines, exposed hinges, and tacked-on side strips would never cut it on any other SUV, let alone anything else with the Benz star up front—even partially hidden by the chrome brush guard standard on the G550. G63s look about the same aside from larger wheels. 

Inside, twin 12.3-inch screens are covered by a single pane of glass, with the right one handling instrument functions and the left serving as a touchscreen interface. Below sits a center stack with jet engine-looking air vents, toggle switches for the three differential locks, and various other controls. Overall, the ambience is more passenger car than trucky SUV, and the myriad color combos available mean you should take some time before deciding just how garish or down-low your G-Wagen needs to be.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class


The G-Class is a surprising on- and off-road performer.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a muscular four-wheeler, and it can handle just about any kind of terrain. We score its massive level of capability a 7 out of 10, with two extra points for its drivetrain and for its exceptional off-road ability—and one deducted for its handling, which is good by tall-SUV standards but gets there mainly through a blizzard of electronic systems that tame its body lean.

Is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4WD?

Of course, and we hope you’ll use it off-road. Every G-Wagen rolls out of the factory with permanent four-wheel drive, a trio of differential locks that hustle power to each wheel individually, and a coil-sprung suspension that allows for impressive off-road dexterity.

Just don’t look for a slew of Land Rover-like off-road modes. Mercedes-Benz figures you will be the one making decisions, not a slew of sensors. G63s, paradoxically, have more off-road modes than the base G550, but we’d still stick with the standard truck for anything more than a graded dirt road. 

How fast is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

Quick with the 416-horsepower twin-turbo V-8 in the G550, blistering with the 577-hp version in the AMG G63.

Either way, a 9-speed automatic gearbox handles that power, and massive brakes (even bigger on the G63) bring things to a stop. A trio of drive modes—Comfort, Sport, and Sport+—wake up the gearbox. 

Though the independent front suspension and solid rear axle endow the G-Class with serious off-road ability, they aren’t as detrimental to on-road use as you might expect. The ride is firm and busy, but not intolerable even with the optional 22-inch wheels (stick with 19s if you plan to go off-road or live where the pavement is not perfect). The governing factor in driving a G-Class quickly on pavement is its height: with all the electronic interventions on the suspension and at the wheels, the G-Class still feels more like it’s on stilettos than the stupid-fast and utterly stable GLS-Class.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class

Comfort & Quality

Grand and spacious, the G-Wagen has a lovely interior for passengers and cargo alike.

Wonderfully supportive front and rear seats, above average cargo-hauling ability, and decadent materials help the G-Class earn a full 10 out of 10 when it comes to comfort and quality.

That’s not to say there aren’t some compromises, though. A big step-in means shorter riders will appreciate the standard running boards. The interior is tall and slightly narrow, owing to the truck’s off-road utility, so those used to the cavernous Range Rover might feel cramped. Three adults can fit across the back seat, though.

But for the rest of us, the G-Wagen is beautifully done inside, with even more trim choices available through the brand’s in-house Designo and AMG arms. Spend some time really going through the color choices before settling on silver with a black interior, for instance. 

After all, Mercedes sweat the details in designing the G-Wagen to preserve such things as the distinctive metallic clunk of its doors as they latch closed, so you should plan to do so as well. 

Cargo-wise, the rear door swings away from the curb to reveal 37.4 cubic feet with the rear seat upright and 79.5 cubes with it tucked away. That’s an impressive use of space given the G-Class is quite a bit smaller than a Range Rover.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class


The G-Class is a tank, though it hasn’t been crashed in the name of science yet.

How safe is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

For now, we can’t say, but we have high hopes should this brick of an SUV ever find itself in a wreck. Neither federal nor independent testers have smacked any into a wall yet. Maybe they’re trying to find bricks that can hold up?

Mercedes certainly does its best to fit the G-Class with equipment designed to prevent a collision. Automatic emergency braking and a waterproof rearview camera are standard fare. Plan to spend extra for adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and even active parking assist. All of those features are crucial for a big ‘ute like this one.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class


The G-Wagen is loaded with features for any terrain, as it should be for these prices.

Mercedes asks big money for the G-Wagen, but the brand mostly delivers. It’s not a great value, but it’s equipped luxuriously enough to warrant a 7 out of 10 on our scale, with points for standard equipment and for its lengthy options list. 

Which Mercedes-Benz G-Class should I buy?

Most buyers will be just fine with the G550, though there is really no rational way to justify buying a G-Class. Plan to spend a little extra on features such as active safety tech, massaging seats, and special paint and leather, and you’ll spend around $145,000. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

The G63 starts at almost $160,000. Tons of optional appearance features can vault that figure to nearly $190,000.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz G Class

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class will make you a regular at your local gas station.

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class good on gas?

Absolutely not. The G-Class is shaped like a brick, weighs nearly 6,000 pounds with fuel and passengers aboard, and is very powerful. Don’t expect more than 14 mpg in normal driving. 

Officially, the EPA pegs the G550 at 13 mpg city, 17 highway, 14 combined. The G63 checks in with 13/15/14 mpg. 

All that and the G takes premium fuel, too.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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MSRP based on G 550 4MATIC SUV
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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 10
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 2
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