The 2021 Mercedes jeep class isn’t just a six-figure SUV driven by the rich and famous, it’s an unmistakable off-road icon that lives up to its considerable reputation. Sure, the G-class’s lofty price tag means it’s only available to folks in a certain tax bracket, but anyone can appreciate the tall and square design that has been its calling card for decades.
While Mercedes jeep carefully evolved the Geländewagen’s outward appearance during a recent redesign, the company greatly improved its road manners with a more sophisticated independent front suspension. Its larger proportions also make it roomier than its predecessors, and the styling and materials inside now fit its luxury pedigree.
Of course, the G-Wagen wouldn’t be complete without a sturdy frame, ample ground clearance, and three locking differentials. Powering all four wheels is a potent 416-hp twin-turbo V-8 that pairs with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Those who want a quicker and ritzier—and, of course, even pricier—experience will appreciate the 577-hp Mercedes-AMG G63 (reviewed separately), but we think the 2021 G-class is the more classic choice.
Powered by a twin-turbo V-8 that makes 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, the G550 is as quick on the street as it is capable on the trail. Those who want an even speedier G-wagen can opt for the AMG-tuned G63 that makes 577 horses and 627 lb-ft but costs almost $25,000 more to start.
All-wheel drive is standard on the G550, and its engine shuttles power through an obedient nine-speed automatic transmission. The 2019 G550 that we tested had much-improved road manners compared with the outgoing model, thanks to an independent front suspension and a lower center of gravity. However, its square and tall body caused a lot of wind noise at higher speeds