Competes with: Land Rover Range Rover, Maserati Levante, Cadillac Escalade
Looks like: A kinder, softer, slightly rounder G-Wagen
Drivetrains: 416-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8; nine-speed automatic transmission; permanent all-wheel drive with low range
Hits dealerships: Late 2018
Spend any time in Southern California and you’ll see one — not traversing the hills and streams of Malibu canyons, mind you, but crawling through traffic and rolling down shopping-mall parking decks. This is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, one of the most expensive, most capable and most distinctive SUVs in the world. And despite its amazing off-road prowess and capability, the vast majority of them are outfitted as super-luxurious, super-expensive family vehicles for the 1 percent crowd.
Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage
The G-Class’s biggest markets globally are Southern California, certain Texas communities, New York, Atlanta and South Florida — giving you some idea of who’s shopping for such a unique off-road vehicle. For 2019, the “G-Wagen,” as it was originally known (short for Gelandewagen, or “cross-country vehicle”), gets a significant update — an all-new interior, bigger dimensions and a revised suspension.