The 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class didn't receive enough ratings to earn a valid Total Car Score.
The G-Class may be blessed with $100,000-plus worth of Mercedes’ premium engineering features, but under all those luxe appointments is a 1970s-era military vehicle. That heritage shows in the SUV’s boxy styling, poor handling, and sometimes awkward ergonomics. Mercedes-Benz tried to overcome the G-wagen’s bulk by giving it one of the most powerful V8 engines in the class, but the downside to all that displacement is poor fuel economy.
The 4WD system in the G-Class is amazingly capable, but really, are you going to risk putting a six-figure SUV on terrain any more challenging than a snow-covered road to an alpine chalet? Plenty of other, more affordable SUVs can handle that duty. Logic aside, many buyers still want what the G has to offer.
The 2011 model carries over essentially unchanged, except for the new 18-inch, five-twin-spoke alloy wheels.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a four-door, five-passenger luxury SUV. Two models are available: The G550 and AMG-tuned G-class amg (which is reviewed separately).
The G550 is powered by a 5.5-liter V8 that routes 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque to a seven-speed transmission and a fulltime 4WD system. The G550 has one of the most robust 4x4 drivetrains on the planet, with front, center and rear differentials that can be locked to improve traction, a low-range ratio in the two-speed transfer case and electronic traction control.
While it was once a military vehicle, the G-Class is now outfitted with some top-shelf amenities, including leather upholstery and burl walnut trim, 14-way heated and ventilated front seats, a 610-watt Harman/Kardon audio system and parking sensors with audible assist. Even rear-seat passengers get the deluxe treatment with heated seats and their own reading lights.
As powerful as the G550’s V8 is, moving around a 5,600-pound vehicle exacts a fuel economy penalty: the EPA rates the G550 at 12 mpg city/15 highway/13 combined. The G550’s tow rating is also low for the class at 3,500 pounds.
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