Powered by a fierce 5.5-liter V8 engine, the 2013 Mercedes G-Class G550 SUV delivers 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired up with the first seven-speed automatic transmission in the industry. It is so smart that it monitors your unique driving style and then adjusts its shift points accordingly. Zero to 60 mph is accomplished in approximately 6 seconds, which is impressive for the size and weight of this vehicle. Do not expect any favors at the pump thought; fuel economy is horrible, returning only 12 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. The G550 features permanent all-wheel drive with three lockable differentials. What this means to you is that the vehicle is always going to receive maximum traction for every situation. It should also be noted that this beast can safely climb an 80 percent grade, and has a unique suspension that will tackle the roughest and most uneven terrain. As for the ride, this is not an SUV you buy if you want a smooth, easy-to-drive vehicle. It is tall, so it is definitely not confident when cornering, and steering is slow because it is made more for off-road use.
• Audio - A 450-watt Harmon Kardon LOGIC7® surround sound delivers beautifully balanced audio to 12 speakers and one subwoofer. It includes an in-dash CD player, Digital Dynamic Volume Control, MP3 media interface, USB port and auxiliary audio input jack.
• Navigation - An optional 80GB hard drive navigation and Zagat® Survey ratings delivers maps, directions, scenic routes, rest reviews, gas station locations and more.
• SiriusXM Radio - This also includes SiriusXM Traffic and Weather. Enjoy over 150 digital entertainment channels live sports broadcasts of over 150 college teams, real-time traffic and graphical weather.
• COMAND System - This controller works through the 7-inch LCD screen to control audio, video, navigation and hands-free calling.
Do not expect to see any crash tests done on the 2013 G550. Braking tests have not been done on the 2013 model yet, but last year’s model did well, stopping from 60 mph in 127 feet. While this is long, it is still a respectable number for how heavy this vehicle is. A few of the many safety features to appreciate include:
• Six-way airbag protection
• Blind spot assist
• Rear view camera
• Tire-pressure monitoring
• Rain-sensing windshield wipers
• Brake assist
• Adaptive braking technology
• Mercedes-Benz mBrace2™
• Traction control
• Electronic stability program
• Engine immobilizer
• Dusk sensing headlamps
• Cornering lights
• Child seat anchors
• Turn signal mirrors
• Emergency brakeforce distribution
The exterior of the G550 looks about as rugged as the vehicle actually is. It has an unmistakably ageless design inspired by the military. Flat glass windows, stainless steel running boards, full-size rear-mounted spare tire, 18-inch twin five-spoke alloy wheels, LED tail lamps and polished chrome highlights make up just a few of the features that make it one of the most recognized vehicles on the road.
The passenger cabin has been thoughtfully crafted by hand, and it shows. Premium leather drenches the interior from the seats to the dash to the doors while chrome accents and polished wood remind that you are in a luxury vehicle, as if you could even forget! On the downside, the placement of the cup holders and some controls is a bit awkward and the COMAND interface is fussy. You can tell by looking at the vehicle that there is certainly no shortage of headroom, and while the front seat is more than roomy, rear seat passengers could use a little more legroom.
Behind the rear seat, you will appreciate a generous 45.2 cubic feet of space. Fold the seat forward and you get 79.5 cubes. Unfortunately, the humps on the side of the cargo floor make hauling wider cargo a challenge.