Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.
Reviewer: Chip Drake
Type: Sport Utility Vehicle
Competitors: Lexus LX, Land Rover Range Rover, Toyota Land Cruiser, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator
Price: $115,400 (Suggested Retail Price); $116,525 (As Tested w/ Optional Packages)
Made in: Graz, Austria (by hand)
Drivetrain: 5.5 Liter V-8 (382 Horsepower, 391 lb-ft Torque)
EPA Ratings: 12city, 15highway, 13combined
I’ve loved the look of the G-Wagon since I first spied one in 1986 parked in the Hollywood Hills. Now, since Mercedes didn’t start selling the SUV in America until 2002 (as an ’03 model), you might be wondering what a G was doing in LA some 16 years early. Well, since it was Steven Spielberg’s personal vehicle, and he had just finished raking in all that cash from the first two installments of the Indiana Jones series, importing one straight from the factory in Graz, Austria didn’t seem to be a problem.
And as far as I’m concerned, whether it was Hollywood 1986 or Detroit 2015, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a work of art. Its striking boxy structure continues to stand out on the road differentiating itself from every other SUV out there. From the grill to the trim to the rear door mounted spare, it’s as beautiful as a Sinatra standard.
But as any aging super model will attest, beauty only gets you so far. And that’s kind of the way I now feel about the G550 after recently having my first opportunity to drive it; sometimes, as they say, it’s better to love from afar.
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