2010 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG | road test

Posted on Nov 21, 2010 by
The G55 is undeniably cool to look at

AT A GLANCE

FOR

  • Looks really cool
  • Lots of power
  • Great exhaust noise

AGAINST

  • Disappointing interior
  • Hugely expensive
  • Poor on-road handling

SUMMARY

We really want to like this car. It looks awesome, sounds great and we love the concept of a 30-year-old design that’s still popular today. But the G55 is outrageously expensive, of disappointing interior quality and feels its age to drive. It’s akin to using an 80s cassette Walkman when the rest of the world has moved on to iPods. This is ultimately an emotional purchase, a style statement and you’d have to REALLY want one to justify the half-million dirham price tag.

The design of the G-Class is more than 30 years old and it shows

PERFORMANCE

Power comes from a massive supercharged 5.5-litre V8, which certainly makes the G55 quick. Put your right foot down and there’s a intoxicating blart from the side exhausts. Acceleration is rapid thanks to 500bhp heading to all four wheels through a functional if unremarkable five-speed automatic. In a straight line at least, the G55 has considerable and impressive grunt.

HANDLING AND RIDE

By modern standards, the road handling in the G55 is poor – this is an agricultural, machine that’s had a massive engine stuffed into it and nothing serious has been done to make it into a proper performance vehicle.

Comparisons to the BMW X6 or the Range Rover might seem unfair, but the G55 is more expensive than both and can’t hold a candle to their driving experiences. It has a very long steering rack, which means lots of arm work to negotiate corners, and while the ride is mostly comfortable on the highway it’s somewhat bouncy unless the surface is smooth. The damping levels are good for potholes and the like, but don’t expect to be able to fling the G55 around corners – it represents straight line speed only.

The G-Class interior is disappointing and shows its age

We know that the platform of the G-Classs is very capable off-road – we’ve driven the G500 model through the mountains of Jordan and found it better to use on rocks than any other model in Mercedes’ SUV range. Unfortunately the G55 has large side exhausts that remove most of its ground clearance, so we wouldn’t want to put it through anything too taxing.

COMFORT

The interior quality is disappointing, especially considering the 514,080AED price tag. On the A pillar in our test car the trim didn’t meet the metal properly and it has the feel of a car from the late 70s – as of course it is. Merc has tried to update it for 21st century with a modern satellite navigation unit, stereo system and so on, but it feels like they’re running out of space. The sat nav is too low down to read properly and some of the switches really don’t feel as classy as you’d expect for a half million dirham machine.

The seats are good however, with pneumatic support adjustment that ensures a snug fit. If the G55 cornered well, the seats would be perfect.

PRACTICALITY

There’s a decent amount of room in the front although the very upright seating position might take some getting used to. The front doors have pockets in them and there’s a single cupholder and storage space under the centre armrest. The glove box is on the small side.

In the back there’s limited space for three on the second row of seats and a couple of fold-down jump seats in the boot, although we wouldn’t recommend them as there are no seatbelts. The boot is a fair size at 480 litres.

The G-Class has its roots in the military and looks suitably rugged

FEATURES

As well as the satellite navigation mentioned earlier, features in the G55 include cruise control and automatic headlights and wipers. The stereo – built into the same system as the satellite navigation and controlled via the centrally mounted screen – includes voice operation. A rear view reversing camera is also available.

The G55’s interior is trimmed in walnut and leather as standard and the car  comes with three locking differentials (front, rear and transfer case) for off-road use.

SAFETY

Safety has come on a long way in the 30-plus years since the G-Class was introduced. No crash test data was available at the time of writing, but don’t expect the structure of the G55 to stand up well to a serious accident. However, Mercedes has fitted the car with ABS, electronic stability control and brake assist, as well as a tyre-pressure monitoring system and front and curtain airbags.

COSTS

If you’re seriously considering buying a G55 then you might as well skip this section as it doesn’t really make sense from a cost point of view.

At more than 500,000AED. the G55 AMG is for the wealthy only

At 514,080AED, the G55 is considerably more expensive than the top-of-the-range Range Rover Supercharged (485,000AED), and other luxury SUV rivals like the top-spec BMW X6 50i (465,000AED).

It also drinks fuel like pretty much nothing else we’ve tried lately. We averaged around 30 litres per 100km during our time with the car, which isn’t going to win any environmental awards. Officially the combined fuel economy is 15.9l/100km, which gives the G55 a theoretical range of 600km from its 96-litre fuel tank. But our experience suggests you’d be extremely lucky to get anywhere close to that.

Mercedes offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty on the G55 AMG. Servicing is due every 15,000km and will cost between AED2,500 and 3,500AED at the time of writing.

2010 G55 AMG

Engine: Supercharged 5.5-litre V8
Max power (bhp/rpm): 500/6,100
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 670/2,650
Transmission: Five speed automatic
Driven wheels: Four-wheels drive
Kerb weight: 2,550kg
Price (AED): 514,080

Images are for illustration only and specification may vary in individual markets

4 Responses to 2010 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG | road test

  1. Ahmed Elnaggar Reply

    May 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Is “premium” fuel in Dubai good for this car? Is there more than one type of premium in Dubai? What octane is enough for the G55?

    • Pankaj Dev Reply

      May 13, 2013 at 12:24 am

      The Petrol quality is generally not an issue, its the Diesel that is bit of a concern here. 93 and 95 octane grades are sold across most if not all fuel stations and between them, they take care of all road going cars.

  2. oilrigman Reply

    January 16, 2011 at 2:10 am

    its a status car very common in newfoundland but its off road aps are less then average

  3. Nikhil Reply

    November 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Whatever crticism this car faces on it’s pricing…end of the day,this ride is just super awesome…Gangster Class !!!! Am so waiting for that day when I get to take it for a ride 😀

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