MSRP
$130,900
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2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.0

The base 2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a brutish V8 engine, and the high-performance AMG model is even more energetic. This bulky SUV also handles turns moderately well, but it feels more at home off the road than on it. Fuel economy estimates are awful.

  • "Highway cruising proves an effortless chore in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz G 550." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • While the independent front suspension goes a long way toward taming the G's ride, and the sturdier ladder frame helps keep its center of gravity low, the G is still a tall, narrow truck. It doesn't lean in corners nearly as much as its positively nautical predecessor, but the tires start squealing early and surrender to understeer shortly thereafter." -- Car and Driver (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The base Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that puts out 416 horsepower. The AMG G 63 comes equipped with a stronger variant of this V8 that makes 577 horsepower. Both are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The base engine is muscular and energetic, and it’s more than capable of lugging this big SUV up a hill or on the highway. The AMG model feels even peppier, and it can race from zero to 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds.

The base G-Class gets 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, and the AMG variant returns the same city mileage but gets 15 mpg on the highway. This Mercedes has some of the lowest fuel economy estimates in the luxury large SUV class, which is already one of the most gas-guzzling segments of the SUV market.

  • "The transmission works well in all situations, and never feels like it’s hunting around for just the right gear. The variable-assist power steering remains light and effortless when prowling parking lots for an open space, but quickly firms up once the G 550 reaches highway speeds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • In a straight, flat line, this 5,500-pound block of G-Class almost defies inertia. It absolutely accelerates like a sports car, from any speed in any of its nine forward gears, but it doesn't turn like one (nor like a Porsche Cayenne)." -- Autoweek (2019)
  • "[The G-Class'] carryover V-8 is given new life thanks to its nine-speed automatic. Hardly a slouch off the line in its previous form, the new G 550's brisk acceleration belies its cinderblock aerodynamics. The nine-speed shifts quickly and transparently, always choosing the right gear, and in sport mode it improves performance by holding gears longer, delivering rev-matched downshifts backed up by a lovely V-8 soundtrack." -- Motor Trend (2019)

Ride and Handling

The G-Class is more suited for off-road trails than paved roads, but its ride is smooth. It exhibits a little more body lean than some rivals, but the G-Class feels composed overall. That said, the steering can feel a bit resistant at times. Four-wheel drive comes standard.

  • Better still, we experienced none of the drift or vagueness sometimes experienced in large, body-on-frame trucks. The G-Class’ tall body does exhibit more body roll than found in an Audi Q7 or Land Rover Range Rover, but the big Mercedes’ well-sorted suspension keeps it to a minimum." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The G-Class finally moves down the highway like a modern vehicle. It's infinitely more planted. The new independent front suspension eliminates all the quiver and jostle of the old solid axle, replaced by a calm, compliant ride that compares favorably to the likes of Range Rover for the very first time." -- Road and Track (2019)
  • "The G-Class just isn't the vehicle you should choose if certain types of on-pavement dynamics interest you, beyond the stoplight derby. Steering at low to moderate speed is ... eh. It feels like it's pressuring back against your input. That may be a new electric-assist thing, but mostly it's a G thing. In general, there's an off-road optimized feel to all the controls." -- Autoweek (2019)

Off-Roading

It may boast a luxury badge, but the G-Class has outstandingly rugged off-road capabilities. It comes standard with four-wheel drive, and it has 9.5 inches of ground clearance. This Mercedes can drive through water that's up to 27.5 inches deep, and it can tackle inclines of up to 45 degrees. Few vehicles can match its prowess off the pavement.

  • "Off-road, the Mercedes-Benz G 550 remains one of the most capable SUVs, easily rivaling the Land Rover Range Rover and Lexus LX 570." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "…We saw indicated 60-plus-degree inclines and declines repeatedly during an off-road demonstration, scrambling up loose rock and dirt like it was asphalt, and stopping and reversing back up hills to showboat. So long as it isn't high-centered, the G feels as if it can't get stuck." -- Car and Driver (2019)
  • "Massive impacts that would send cringe-worthy shudders through nearly any other vehicle are met with an impregnable solidity. There's no other way to describe it besides 'astonishing.'" -- Autoblog (2019)
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2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

MSRP: $130,900 - $156,450

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