$80,946 - $165,098

2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 6.9

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class' base V8 engine is refined and powerful, while the optional larger V8 engine produces incredible acceleration. You'll be less impressed, however, with the G-Class' on-road handling. Its steering is uncommunicative, and there's plenty of body roll through turns. However, the G-Class is among the most capable off-road SUVs you can buy.

  • "The G63's 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 makes a ton of power; unfortunately, it's very hard to actually drive this thing. Steering is comically bad, handling is worse, and thanks to high-performance tires and silly exhaust placement, it's a liability off-road." -- Edmunds
  • "From a capability standpoint, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV for 2017 will take you almost anywhere you want to go, from a secluded sandy beach to the most ... remote trailhead. However, if you're expecting to ride to these places in comfort and quiet, well, that just ain't gonna happen." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There are a number of issues that present themselves. First, the truck is fast. Faster than you'd ever expect it to be. That means that you might enter a corner quicker than you think. The steering rack is slow and steering is light without much feel. Combine all of those things, and you have the recipe for a truly terrifying first trip around a highway on ramp. The narrow, tall truck just doesn't corner." -- Jalopnik (2013)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 2017 G550 is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that makes 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The G550 gets up to an EPA-estimated 13 mpg in the city and 14 mpg on the highway, which is very low for the class. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard in all models.

The AMG G63 has a twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 that generates 563 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque, while the AMG G65 is equipped with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that makes 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. According to Mercedes-Benz, the AMG G63 can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and the AMG G65 can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

The G550's engine runs smoothly and makes plenty of power, while the AMG G63's delivers outstanding acceleration. Additionally, the transmission makes quick, seamless shifts.

  • "Power is supplied by a twin-turbocharged V8 pumping out 416 ponies, readily available at the tap of the accelerator. Two AMG variants, the G63 and G65, offer even more horsepower as well as better handling and braking abilities, and all the G-Class SUVs clock a zero-to-60-mph time in the 5-second range." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The 563-horsepower G63 gets out of its own way better than anything this shape should (0-60 mph takes 5.3 seconds). The seven-speed automatic shifts quickly, but the steering gets light and the G becomes hard to control at wide-open throttle. What a noise, though!" -- Edmunds
  • "What matters is the power delivery is still smooth and linear. It's one of the best traits of this engine in any application, and it's true here. The shove in the back you get when you hit the gas is consistent right up the rev range, just like the old engine, but slightly better." -- Motor Trend (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550's on-road handling is pretty unimpressive. The large SUV produces lots of body roll and lacks steering feedback, and most competitors are more comfortable and engaging to drive. However, the G-Class feels smaller than it is when driving around town.

  • "The steering constantly reminds you that this is a nearly 40-year-old military truck with working roots. The steering is terribly vague with seemingly random results. It also fails to center, causing constant, abnormal extra steering inputs." -- Edmunds
  • The G-Wagen, floats, rolls, and rocks about, and there's little to no communication through the ancient, recirculating ball steering. If you're looking for driver involvement, you'll be disappointed. But I can hardly knock the G-Class for not being a dynamic wonder on-road – if you buy this type of SUV, you should know what you're getting yourself into." -- Autoblog (2016)
  • The G-Class proves easier to maneuver around town than expected, but still falls short of the ride one might experience in a more modern vehicle, such as the Audi Q7 or even the MB GL550." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

Off-Roading

The 2017 G-Class comes standard with full-time four-wheel drive and three locking differentials, making it an incredibly capable off-roader. Its boxy design is helpful on trails, providing an excellent perspective on where the corners and wheels of the SUV are located.

  • "One thing to note about off-roading in the G-Class, the boxy shape is a real aid here. You can see your corners, and you know exactly how tall and wide the whole SUV is. Roll down the front window, stick your head out, and you know exactly what's happening. It's all part of the experience." -- Autoblog (2016)
  • "On the ADAC offroad course, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G550 is in its element, fording through muddy water nearly up to its three-pointed star, demonstrating amazing wheel articulation and no slip with the three differentials locked, pushing equal torque into the four wheels." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

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