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The Mercedes G-Class or G-Wagon could be considered the ultimate SUV. But it’s a vehicle of contrasts. It has no style, except that it’s stylish. It’s too expensive to risk scratching off-road, except it’s incredibly capable off-road. It was designed as a military vehicle, but it’s beloved by celebrities. But the facts about the Mercedes G-Wagon are that it’s one of the great SUVs.

The G-Wagon is old-school. How old school? The door hinges are on the outside. Other than the similarly archaic Jeep Wrangler, there isn’t another SUV on the road with exposed hinges. It’s also new-school, in that it has every driver safety aid and a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system.

But at their core, G-Class wagons are famous for being a modern classic SUV.

What is G-Wagon slang for?

1990 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
1990 Mercedes-Benz G-Class | Mercedes-Benz

Geländewagen. Gelandewagen simply means “all terrain vehicle” in German. They started as military vehicles before the rich and famous discovered them as boulevard cruisers. When Mercedes updated the G in 2018, it was changed to the G-Class.

How much do Mercedes G-Wagons cost?

A blue 2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 'G-Wagon' at the 2020 Brussels Expo
2020 Mercedes-AMG G63 ‘G-Wagon’ | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The 2022 G-Class comes in two flavors, expensive and really expensive. The G 550 starts at $131,750 with a 4-liter turbocharged V8. It has 416 horsepower and Mercedes says will hit 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds. The AMG G 63 starts at $156,450. But that’s only if you can one. For that money you get a hand-build 4-liter AMG V8 that makes 577 horsepower. Mercedes says it will hit 60 in 4.5 seconds.

But the Gs have options. Expensive options. The G Manufaktur Paints can cost add $6,500, 22-inch rims will add $4,450. The AMG Night Package is a $3,600 option, but does all-black everything. Carbon fiber trim will add $3,700. Amazingly, heated and massaging seats aren’t standard. Instead, they are $2,200 add-on. An AMG flat-bottomed steering wheel is a $900 option, $1,150 if you’d prefer it heated. There is also a package labeled “increased top speed” that is $2,200. It boosts your top speed from 137 to 149 miles per hour.

Are G-Wagons good off-road?

a red g-wagon in the dirt
2019 Mercedes G-Wagon | Mercedes-Benz

G-Wagons are designed to go off-road. Each G-Wagon has three buttons on the dash that activate the 100% differential locks, both front and rear, and the low-range transfer case.  

Every G-Class comes with a “Schöckl Proved” badge. Every new G-Class has to conquer the Schöckl. Mercedes-Benz uses the local mountain near the Austrian city of Graz as a test track. The 5.6 km route includes gradients of up to 60 percent and lateral inclinations of up to 40 percent. AMG does sell a Trail Package that includes AMG’s ride control for an extra $3,050. That package adds a black “underguard,” what we’d call a bash plate, mudflaps, and flat-black five-spoke rims.

How much does a Mercedes G-Wagon cost used?

Every luxury SUV sees significant depreciation. Because G-Wagons haven’t changed much in 40 years, even an old one looks new. A 2012, according to NADA, still sells for $58,400 in average condition. Still, some say that’s a bargain for this much capability. Its original price was $108,000. That’s about $50,000 in depreciation over the last decade, or about $416 a month. For comparison, a 2012 Infiniti QX56 luxury SUV cost $61,800 new and now sells for about $20,000 used. The Benz lost half of its value, while the Infiniti lost two-thirds.

Is the G-Wagon bulletproof?

No. G-Wagons are not bulletproof. But, there are dozens of upfitters in the world like Armormax and Alpine Armoroing that will make yours bulletproof. But one fact about the G-Wagon is that it’s built stout so it can carry the extra weight of bullet-proof glass and panels with ease.

Will there be an electric G-Wagon?

two aliens with the Mercedes EQG
Mercedes EQG concept art | Mercedes

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG: The G Wagon Goes Electric

Mercedes is creating its EQ line of electric vehicles, and a G is in the pipeline. The concept EQG looks a lot like the G-Wagon, but with LED lighting everywhere. Benz is short on the technical details, but the website for the EQG is positively wild.