The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a 40-year-old military vehicle that has gradually turned into a luxury SUV. At the end of its mutation, it results in something that is optimized for neither off-road adventures nor luxury. The G-Class is difficult to get in and out, steering input is filled with indifference, and its cargo and storage areas is limited.
Still, this iconic truck has increased in popularity in recent years. In the European market, the G-Class is offered in a rational configuration with diesel engines and higher side-wall tires. There, you can take the G-Class off-road and expect it to perform amazingly, with high ground clearance, full differential locking and a steep approach and departure angles.
But in the US, the 2018 G-Class brings this purpose-driven attribute for the trappings of luxury vehicles with powerful engines that demand a lot of fuel, relatively low-profile all-season tires, acres of leather and low hanging exhaust pipes. The AMG variant offers more power but only slightly increase in speed. The G-Class is full of character but finds itself in a no-man’s compromise. Maybe it’s part of its appeal, even though it might be twisted.
For 2018, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is mostly unchanged. It will be fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. To celebrate the end of a long production run, a few special-edition models are available and limited to cosmetic touches inside and out.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a five-passenger luxury SUV that offered in four trim levels: G550, AMG G63, AMG G65 and G550 4×42 (squared). Every model is equipped with live axles at both ends, full-time four-wheel drive, three locking differentials and a two-speed transfer case.
Beyond its excellent drivetrain hardware, the G550 is extremely well-equipped. It gets dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise, power-folding and heated mirrors, 10-way power-adjustable and heated front seats, leather upholstery, heated back seats, navigation and premium audio.
The AMG G63 adds 20-inch wheels, performance-tuned suspension and larger brakes. From here, you’ll get access to the AMG Performance Studio, where near-endless customization is available. The AMG G65 is truly absurd, it adds 6.0-liter V12 engine along with 21-inch wheels and revised upholstery.
The G550 4×42 adds skid plates, 22-inch wheels, larger-diameter tires, wider fender flares, twin coilover-damper assemblies at each wheel and swaps the standard axles for portal axles, which dramatically increase ground clearance.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is offered with three different powertrains. A seven-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system are standard. All engines also feature with an automatic stop-start technology, which shut off the engine in order to save fuel.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G550 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that produces 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Power sent to all four wheels through a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case. Also included are electronically locking front, center and rear differentials for off-road activity. Mercedes estimates the G550 will hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy at 13 mpg combined (13 city/14 highway).
The 2018 AMG G 63 use a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 engine generates 536 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. It gets a special AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic transmission. In performance track testing, the G 63 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, not bad for a 3-ton SUV. EPA-estimated are similar to the G550 at 13 mpg combined (12 city/15 highway).
The 2018 AMG G 65 is truly absurd, it gets a twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 engine pumps out 621 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. It utilizes the same seven-speed automatic. In track testing, the G 65 went to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. EPA fuel economy is among the worst for vehicles sold in the U.S at 11 mpg combined (11 city/11 highway).
Look past the G-Class luxurious leather and wood trim and its utilitarian origins are already visible, with box shapes and abundant hard corners. Like most Mercedes vehicles today, a large central-mounted screen is operated via the COMAND electronic interface buttons and knob. This infotainment system requires a little getting used to, but the menu structure and ease of use are excellent. The high-resolution screen is also among the best available.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class does have large exterior dimensions, but legroom is modest on every seat. There is a lot of headroom, though. The G-Class is also very short in terms of storage and cargo space. Cupholders are limited to clumsy and thin plastic devices mounted on the dashboard and central armrest. We recommend using only sealed containers and storing them in door pockets. With the rear seat folded down, total cargo space is 79.5 cubic feet, but large bumps on each side of the cargo floor make it difficult to load wider items such as golf clubs.
Release Date and Price
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is on sale and arriving now at dealers nationwide. Key competitors include the Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport and Bentley Bentayga SUV.
Official pricing for the base G550 starts at $124,595 (including destination charge). The G550 4×4 Squared start at $224,695. The AMG G63 costs $143,795, while the range-topping AMG G65 is priced at $224,695.