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Mercedes-Benz G-class (Geländewagen)



  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    "This one's for you: If you're different. Rich and different. Very rich and different."

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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  • dylanrheadylanrhea Posts: 5
    I would be appreciative to hear any feedback from current MB G500 owners. Information that I am looking for is price paid, performance, and overall feelings about the truck and of the purchase. I am looking to buy one before the end of the year and would like to hear from current owners of the vehicle.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    The 2002 G500s have mostly been bought at MSRP. There is enough of a supply that being gouged by a greedy dealer is not necessary. You can find them on ebay every day.

    What do you want to know about its performance? On road, Off road, Fuel economy??? You have to take into consideration that this is an old design, one initially built to military specs. In many ways the driving experience is inferior to the ML. If you want the toughest most capable off roader in the world, the G500 is it. If you want something to haul your golf clubs, get the ML500.

    Seriously, the G is a big strong tool for plying the mountains and deserts of the world. It does handle daily chores quite well though. As an example, most trading from a Range Rover have commented on how much more solid the G is. The road manners are superior, the quality is superior, its capabilites are superior.

    I am on my second Gwagen, I happen to just love them. Mine goes off road several weeks out of each year. Don't look to me to dissaude you! But I do think that just "buying the look" is a mistake. If you do buy one, use it, the experience is one of a kind.

    Most new owners have not had problems. Some however have had some minor trouble with some of the electronic gear added this year. The truely smart money is on the '99-'00 G500s. You get the new V8 but retain the slightly more simplistic interior and leave behind some of the useless electronic gizmos. Prices on these have dropped into the low to mid 60s
  • dylanrheadylanrhea Posts: 5
    We bought our new silver G500 this weekend, and I am absolutely thrilled. It is extremely solid, powerful, and fun to drive. As always, the build quality is amazing. We are very happy. Thanks for your input.
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    I just got an email that linked me to a site showing an AMG G55. 349 HP, Quad exhaust, AMG body kit and unique interior. He was trying to dig up a price $US and felt it would retail at about $95K. Anyone know for sure. You can expect Land Rover to introduce a 350+hp suped up Range Rover as well.
  • Has anyone ever experienced the glare of headlights and surrounding lights that some say plague a G500 driver at night?

    Also, I understand the G500 feels very unstable in turns. Does it "feel" like it will tip over like a Range Rover, but wont or is it something that should be a concern?
  • I have 2 Gwagens now, a '95 G320 and a '02 G500. I previously owned a '90 model as well. I have never had any trouble with headlight glare. I suppose the thought stems from the fact that all of the glass is flat. The G500s all have pretty heavily tinted windows, excluding the very front driver and passenger windows, which I have tinted as well. I would think that would eliminate any potential problem.

    As to the "tippy" remark, the G is actually extremely resitant to tipping. It takes a substantially steeper slope to tip a G than the much wider and lower Hummer. The "feel" may be one of tippiness, it is a very tall vehicle. I had the 500 in a parking ramp with 6'7" clearance, I missed the hieght marker by no more than an inch on the way in. The G uses a huge anti sway bar in front to keep it on an even keel during road manuvers. Once you get used to it, you can corner as well as any taller vehicle.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    I think what most people feel when cornering in a 4WD with long-travel suspension is this tall and tippy feeling. It's the consequence of excellent offroad ability. Your thick antisway bars will help control that onroad... I bet there's a quick-disconnect kit available to let you release them for serious offroad work? Then you've got the best of both worlds.
  • Actually the design on the G does not seem to limit the travel. I know a guy with a wildly modified G rockcrawler. He added taller springs, longer shocks etc and found that connected or not the anti roll bar had very little effect on the travel.

    Your absolutely right though. Take a tall narrow truck like the G or Disco and its going to feel tippy. I understand that the ACE system on the newer Discos is really a boon on the road.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Land Rover Discovery - "related" to that Defender you seem interested in :-)

    Land Rover Discovery/Discovery II



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  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    ...they are almost the same vehicle. The Defender has 10" shorter wheelbase (90" vs. 100") and slightly shorter overhangs (than the Disco Series I) but the chassis, engine, transmission, transfer case, differentials and suspension are the same.

    The Range Rover is tilted toward comfort, the Defender is tilted toward hardcore getting filthy and hosing it out, and the Discovery is basically a Defender with a nice interior that you can drive more than 100 miles without having your family disown you.

    There's an old rule of thumb: "The flatter the panels in the bodywork, the more your truck is oriented toward offroading." So in my book there are perhaps 4 or 5 vehicles truly made for serious offroading (that can easily be obtained in the USA and are driveable on the highway). The G-wagen in one of them.

    Best regards, -Bob
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    Well take this list as you will, but here goes:

    In deference to the esteemed audience here, the G-wagen is mentioned first. Then in no particular order, Land Rover (all three), Jeeps with coil suspension (CJ and TJ), older Toyota Land Cruisers with coil suspension (and the all-desireable factory lockers) and early Broncos (late 60s and early 70s with coils).

    Some deserve honorable mention, like Isuzu Trooper, the ubiquitous International, the Nissan Patrol (if you can find one) and the old warrior, the FJ40.

    As you can see it's all in the suspension, as long as you have a stout enough chassis to keep it all pointing the same direction. Or if it's cheap enough to fix when you whang something out of line.

    This is of course only my opinion. What do the rest of you think?
  • My opinion is that there are many different types of "serious off-roading". Rock Crawling isnt the only kind.

    The Gwagen, as well as the others that you mention, are all incredible off-road machines.

    Personally, I think that the Toyota Tacoma, and the new front-torsion Land cruiser, the nissan patrol(Ive seen a new one on the Rubicon), and even the new Jeep Wranglers, the new Hummer H2, the new Land Rovers...all are still world class off-roaders.

    My opinion on why? Because they retain about 95 percent of the extreme rock crawling ability of some of the more esteemed off-roaders(the ones you mentioned), yet they gain other attributes that the esteemed few cant even touch, like high speed absorption and stability, mid chassis ground clearance(independant suspension!), and the ability to remain stable on extreme offset slopes, where live axle coilers will wobble and sway and tip.
  • " and the ability to remain stable on extreme offset slopes, where live axle coilers will wobble and sway and tip."

    I would invite you to take a look at some of the neat little flash movies MB has put together about the G-class. Of particular interest may be the side gradient video. The G is about the LEAST tippy off-roader on the planet.

    I would also have to say that the newer G and RR / Land Rover (excluding Defenders) are impressively comfortable vehicles. They provide at least 95% of the comfort with 100% of the "off-road ability". Different strokes I guess.

    I have also seen at LOT of the small Toyota pick-ups lying on their sides and roofs. Those are top heavy machines. I do agree that the new Tacoma with the TRD package is a great thing. They offer great ground clearance, a rear locker, and Toyota reliability. I also am intrigued by Jeeps new "Rubicon" package. Heavy axles with lockers, sill protection, and big tires. I see an admitted weakness in the front axle though. They only allow momentary locking of the front diff. The axles in the G by comparison are factory designed to withstand maximum engine torque to a single wheel. NOBODY else offers that kind of stregnth.

    So I see additional benefits to the G. I can off-road the heck out of it daily without fear of damaging it. The others wear out quickly under such strain. Of course few require this. I am looking for my G's to last a long time.

    Pretty neat to see the hobby expanding with more capable offerings. I don't buy the anti-suv'er BS either. I see way more trucks on the trails every year. Great to see more people enjoying some of our country's natural beauty.

  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    Well said. Although Rovers feel tippy, it's the long travel suspension they feel. In fact, the center of gravity for a Disco Series I is on a plane one inch above the top of the alloy on the wheels. Given a 16" wheel and an 8" sidewall, that puts the center of gravity about 25" off the ground. And that explains the massive sidehill angles these things will take.

    I agree most SUVs are designed now for the masses, and they're demanding good onroad manners. Before too long we'll be able to buy only independent suspension and low clearance off the showroom. I guess we'll just have to make our live-axle coilers last!

    V12, The G has a STOUT drivetrain, and I'm sure it will last as long as you want it to. Similarly, I have a friend (Mike Green at West Coast British) who told me almost 2 years ago that he had 650,000 miles on his Disco... with one rebuild.

    Make 'em last!
  • In addition to the coil sprung suspensions the sheer hieght of these vehicles amplifies the "feeling". I can always find my G in the parking lot, it is easily the tallest box out there ;-) I even had to re-adjust my garage door to get it in.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    Ha, me too! I had to cut 8" off the bar that raises my door, and last winter I hit my roof once going into the garage, when there was a smidgen of snow on the floor. It's sort of like being on top of a tall building in a heavy wind... people on the first floor don't feel it.

    Being tall like this, it's no wonder the Rovers have alloy bodywork. The more weight you can save up high, the better she'll perform offroad.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Ever since you said "the flatter the panels in the bodywork", I've been looking at all the Odysseys and older Caravans around and I'm thinking they must be the greatest off-road rigs of all ;-)

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  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    ...what it means is the engineers applied all their considerable prowess to the running gear, leaving the body panels for last... when the development money had run out. :)

    In the case of the Chrysler minivan, there simply WAS no engineering prowess.


    "If you make it cheap, they'll come." -Iaccocca
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I see way more trucks on the trails every year. Great to see more people enjoying some of our country's natural beauty.

    Don't those trucks block your view of the country's natural beauty? :-)

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  • Next weekend is some sort of off highway vehicle day. To commemorate I will be in Moab Utah with a small group of G-wagens to enjoy some rock crawling. Americas beauty is so immense that there is plenty of room for all to share. ;-)

    Nanuq knows, he lives in one of the greatest wilderness areas of all.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I thougth I ask you since I am asking all over, I asked the same question at the Moglist, I just overhauled the 352 engine in my 406, the only thing is the front flywheel has a 1000th play, the crank is within specs and the balancer has no taper (the manual has no specs), within a tenth front to back, but has a perceptible wiggle, I can slide it in and out by hand, what do you think, just use Loctite and torque it?

    On a separate note, you and Nanuq may enjoy this pics, 50,000 miles of tropical trails like this, maximize for better effect, at the bottom there is a white arrow, click rigth for next set, total 63 pics. Pic # 6 will give you an idea of the open inmensity. They use a few G wagens there, although not in this set.

    Remember maximize the pics.

  • yeah...I guess it definitely comes down to the "different strokes"...

    I personally am a big fan of the more high speed capability stuff, like 2WD rock buggies, pre-runners etc, and my dad is more of a fan of rubicon style offroading. That doesnt mean I don't like that style, it just means that I have a different priority.

    So...for me personally, I would love to have a 4 Runner with the same setup as the TRD Tacomas. The Land Cruiser is a great ride as well, but there needs to be something drastic done to increase ground clearance. The Hummer H2 is great as well...I just feel weird being in something that big.

    As far as the shaky feeling of solid axles on slopes...I need to relay some personal preference. On a tarmac race track, the fastest car may not be the most comfortable car. There are tons of cars out there that have absolutely extreme capabilities, but if you put an average driver in it, they WILL end up on the side of the road. For the average joe, just out to have fun, the fastest and safest car will be the one they are most comfortable driving. The same goes with offroading. Personally I feel more comfortable in a stable independant suspension SUV than a wobbly and tall sitting live axle. As to which can handle more of an angle is up to the CG and the triangle it makes with the wheels. But for me, I never plan on getting within 5 degrees of that extreme, and I would rather feel comfortable than feel uncomfortable and just trust that I wont tip.

    Yep...different strokes for different folks.
  • " I never plan on getting within 5 degrees of that extreme, and I would rather feel comfortable than feel uncomfortable and just trust that I wont tip. "

    I try to stay much further away from the limit than that even ;-) I rode on the test track in Santa Fe where they were selling G's for years. They have a side slope that is well shy of the maximum. I have to say, I thought we were going over for sure! I have also done a LR test track, same scenario, and again, well shy of the ultimate capability. I look at it as a little extra safety margin. I end up doing a fair amount of exploring alone. The margin makes me much more comfortable doing so.

    I would say that getting just over half of the side lean of a G or LR would be enough to scare the pants off of a first timer.
  • nanuqnanuq Posts: 765
    You're both right... it's a spooky feeling to be over so far that you're looking down at the ground out a side window.

    Here's a neat trick if you ever get into that situation and you *must* get by an obstacle: just pull out your coil of rope and loop it around a tree trunk on the upslope side. Then loop it thru both the open driver and rear seat windows on that side, fixing it at the top of the "B" pillar. Leave it loose enough to let you pass, or have someone reel in line then release it as you move across the slope.

    It's best to not have anyone handling the lines; real injury can occur. If you slack the line enough to let you traverse the slope it will still prevent you rolling downhill... and if you do get up on two wheels you can hang from the rope to tip the truck onto all 4 again.

    If someone is handling the lines then by all means you better look into shackles and blocks. Nobody is heavy or strong enough to stop a rolling truck.

  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    I know what your talking about. My Trooper is rated for 45 degree slopes, I was on a real narrow beach with a 20-25 degree section this summer and when the rut on the uphill tire undulated upward it was disconcerting. However, I made the pass several times and didn't have any problems. It is just that at 2 AM in dense fog on my way out fishing it gets a little hairy and nerve racking.
  • We are throwing these terms around a little carelessly. I think the G is rated for 54% side slope, this is much different than 54 degrees which would send it tumbling. A 45 degree incline is a 100% grade, this is VERY steep. With good traction many 4x4s can climb this slope but,none could traverse it.
  • sbcookesbcooke Posts: 2,297
    "Trooper's large diameter wheels and minimal front and rear overhangs give generous ground clearance and a 31-degree approach angle and 31-degree departure angle. Plus the wide track allows Trooper to traverse 45-degree slopes. So you can happily tackle heart-poundingly rough terrain. Yet Trooper maneuvers docilely in tight spaces, with a turning radius of just 5.0 meters (2-door) or 5.8 meters (4-door)."

    You need to hit cancel on the language pack installation (you don't need it).

    I agree with earlier posts that even going somewhat close to limits is scary enough for me, I doubt that I would even attempt 45 degrees, let alone 35, however that is what it is rated for. Not careless, just reporting ratings posted by Isuzu. Maybe the G-Wagon can't keep up with a Trooper offroad? :-)

This discussion has been closed.