I bought the brand new 2019 Mercedes G550 in December of 2018. 2019 was a major improvement for the Mercedes G Wagon, in fact, it was the first major top down update since the G Wagon came on the market in 1979.
The boxy Mercedes is legendary. You can see it coming from a mile away, and they hold their value incredibly well. Much like a Land Rover Defender, their production numbers are limited, and they start at over $100k.
I had been dreaming of owning a G Wagon since high school, but in high school, I wasn’t looking for a new one. I was looking for a 1985 300GD with the bullet proof diesel engine and manual transmission. The color I wanted was red, and with barn doors in the back.
I remember once seeing the exact car for sale on Ebay, but I couldn’t afford it. The image above is a 2 door, but I wanted the long wheel base 4 door.
I didn’t have much interest in anything other than 80’s era G-Wagons with a diesel engine and manual transmission. The G-Wagons from 2000-2018 didn’t interest me at all. I dislike the chrome brush bars, I thought the way they added an iPad looking infotainment system was painfully unattractive. And this isn’t even to mention the well know reviews that they handle terribly and get 10-15mpg.
The 2018 G550 and G63
Fast forward to 2018, and we get the big reveal that Mercedes has been working on a ground up revamp of the G-Wagon, it will feature a wider wheel base, upgraded engine, suspension, infotainment, everything. When I first saw the design, with the halo front lights, I was hooked.
I’ve been a Range Rover driver since 2015, and while I love the Range Rover, I wanted to test out life in a G Wagon. I tried to pre-order a G Wagon in Emerald Green with Black Interior, but Mercedes said it was 12-14 months lead time. I decided instead to buy one off the lot. Unfortunately, most dealers only had black, silver, or white.
I put a deposit on a G63 when a New York dealership was allocated one, but pulled the deposit when I found out the first edition was matte black with red trim. Not my style.
I found a dealership in New Jersey with a Red one in stock, that included the night package and the AMG package. The downside was that it had red leather interior, not something I really wanted, but beggars can’t be choosers.
The list price was around $145k. I traded in my E63 drove the G550 back to Massachusetts, and got a speeding ticket on the way home. It’s been a while since I drove a red car.
First Impressions of the G550
My immediate impressions from the G Wagon were that it handles much worse than the Range Rover. There is no air suspension, and as a result, the ride is rough. You feel the bumps. It feels solid, but it bounces around. I also realized pretty quickly that it didn’t feel as stable at higher speeds than the Range Rover.
One of the first orders of business was to remove the brush bars. I certainly like black better than chrome, but I didn’t like how they are curved.
If I was committed to keeping the car, I would have removed the spare tire cover and replaced all 5 tires with larger all terrain tires.
I’ve owned the car for over a year, but this last week, I shipped it to California to somebody who wanted to buy it from me. Given the limited number of Red G-Wagon’s available, the value has held up extremely well. In fact, some are selling with 5-10k miles for as much as I paid brand new. So I’m out of the G Wagon and ready for something new.
The 7 Reasons I sold my G Wagon
Below are is the laundry list of what I disliked about the G Wagon. It’s not that any single issue was a deal breaker, but the combination made for a less than enjoyable experience.
- Poor handling, rough ride.
- Annoying technology that you can’t permanently disable (Lane Assist, Braking Assist, Parking Assist).
- No convenience technology such as Auto Unlock doors on approach, Soft Close Doors, Air Suspension.
- Doors are difficult to close.
- Back Seat is small and uncomfortable.
- Infotainment isn’t a touch screen.
- Poor gas mileage (15mpg avg)
I decided to take the money I had into the G Wagon (I owned it outright) and put it towards something old. That’s right, a classic car. Something that I expect will hold it’s value better over a 10 year period, and be more enjoyable to drive. I’ll keep the Range Rover for highway travel.