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2009 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Mercedes-Benz G-Class was new.


Performance: 7.8

The 2009 Mercedes G-Class is a tough off-road vehicle that can go just about anywhere an SUV can go, but some reviewers say it's top-heavy in turns. Still, the G550 gets praise for its powerful engine and its good visibility makes it easier to drive than many other large SUVs.

  • "The 2009 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a truck-based SUV originally designed for military activities, and it drives like it." -- Edmunds
  • "High ground clearance yields a top-heavy feel, but both G's are stable and relatively comfy considering their original military provenance." -- Car and Driver
  • "The G-wagen is scary quick--sprightlier than such a tank has any right to be." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Mercedes G550 comes with a 382 horsepower 5.5 liter V8 engines that wins high praise from most critics. The seven speed automatic transmission is well liked, but fuel economy is not the G-Class's strong point.

  • "As for the major 2009 upgrade, the G550 is now equipped with the automaker's ubiquitous 5.5-liter V-8. Sporting the same 382 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque as in its other applications and growling through an exhaust system that dumps out right in front of each rear wheel, the aluminum lump whips this 5700-pound packing crate to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and through the quarter-mile in 14.5 at 94 mph.  For something shaped like a brick and weighing nearly three tons, that's world-class." -- Car and Driver
  • "It's also wickedly fast." -- Edmunds
  • "Power for the G550 comes from the Mercedes-Benz dynamo of a V8, the 382-horsepower 5.5-liter engine. A strong contender in any field, the 5.5-liter seems to possess unending reserves of low-end torque that makes the G550 move as quickly and responsively as an M-Class." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The engine gives it plenty of power, enough to move the big rig adroitly." -- CNET
  • "The seven-speed auto bangs through some of the shortest gear ratios I've ever encountered, and your passengers don't know whether to laugh, cry, or urinate. They'll probably do all three; I did." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

Reviewers are less than thrilled with the way that the G-Class handles. One reason for the unimpressive handling is the G-Class's tall, boxy shape, which gives it a poor aerodynamic profile and significant body roll. However, reviewers praise the G's brakes and say that, tippiness aside, it is fairly easy to live with and even has a smooth ride.

  • "Piling on a little too much speed before going into a corner, the high center of gravity made itself felt to a scary degree. Fortunately, the G550 is equipped with a stability program, traction control, and other electronic road-holding equipment to help keep it upright." -- CNET
  • "Meanwhile, the heavy, old-school recirculating-ball steering offers limited feedback at higher speeds, and the stiff gas pedal requires too much effort, making cruise control a welcome friend on highway journeys. However, the quiet cabin makes for an unexpectedly serene ride." -- Edmunds
  • "High ground clearance yields a top-heavy feel, but both G's are stable and relatively comfy considering their original military provenance." -- Car and Driver
  • "The shallow dash, thin A-pillars, and upright windshield and side windows make for an unobstructed view of the road making it less scary than you'd think to park and maneuver in urban settings, although, the heavy steering can be exhausting in these same situations." -- Automobile Magazine


There is wide agreement among automotive critics that off-road driving is where the G-Class excels.

  • "Three locking differentials (front, rear, and center), solid front and rear axles, and honest-to-God metal springs make this a very respectable off-roader with all the typical German touches inside. If only Hummer could figure out how to build a vehicle like this..." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Serious offroad capability," -- Cars.com
  • The G Class "will go places others can't." -- Car and Driver

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