The G-Class gets some significant upgrades for 2007, including a standard navigation system, bi-xenon headlamps, a 7-speed automatic transmission, new fog lamps and center console controls, leather interior door handle inserts, and enhanced front-seat cushioning.
The G-Class (not to be confused with the American-built GL-Class) is Mercedes' venerable sport utility vehicle that, like the Hummer, began its life in military service but has been modified for civilian use-although it has retained its iconic, upright, and boxy exterior design. The G-Class features dual-zone climate controls, a power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated leather seats for both front and rear rows, a power sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, rear park assist, a rear fog lamp, and a Harman/Kardon premium audio system with a 6-disc CD changer-all as standard equipment. Also standard are electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side curtain air bags.
The G-Class is available in two models: the G500 and the G55 AMG-a high-performance model from AMG, Mercedes' in-house tuning shop. The G500 carries a 5.0-liter V-8 that pumps out 292 hp and 336 lb.-ft. of torque, while the AMG version gets a supercharged V-8 that boosts its 5.5-liter V-8 engine's output to 469 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. The AMG model sprints to 60 mph in a sports-car-like 5.5 seconds, and also gets larger 13-inch front brakes to enhance stopping power.
All G-Class models are equipped with a full-time, four-wheel-drive system, which distributes torque through front, center, and rear differentials, all of which can be locked for off-road use (while the vehicle is in motion) through buttons located on the dashboard. To reduce wheelspin in low-traction situations, the center and rear differential locks can be engaged anytime the G-Class is off pavement. In the most slippery off-road situations-deep mud, for example-the front differential can also be engaged for maximum traction. The G-Class comes with a 2-speed transfer case that features electronically-controlled high and low ranges. Its fully synchronized low range can be engaged on the fly at speeds up to 15 miles per hour.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class competes in the Large Premium Utility segment, which consists of 13 models. Buyers in this segment look for exterior styling, performance, and comfort, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the Cadillac Escalade (39,017 units sold), Lincoln Navigator (23,947), and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (18,776) in its first year on the market. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class sold 587 units in 2006, a decrease of 56 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Large Premium Utility segment include the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, Cadillac Escalade ESV, HUMMER H2, Land Rover Range Rover, and Infiniti QX-Series. Joining the segment in 2007 is the Lincoln Navigator L.