Saturday, July 21, 2018

We test drive a Mercedes Tank

File:Mercedes-Benz W463 G 63 AMG at Legendy 2014.JPG

The Mercedes G-class is proof that sometimes you can have more money than sense.

The G550 uses a 4-liter bi-turbo eight-cylinder pumping out 416hp, you can step up to a AMG G63 using a 5.5-liter bi-turbo eight-cylinder pumping out 563hp while the top of the range AMG G65 uses a 6-liter bi-turbo eight-cylinder pumping out 621hp. The G-class isn’t one of those Mercedes you’ll find a ton of on dealer lots. We were able to find the AMG G63 but the manager at the dealership turned us away as he only wanted buyers who were absolutely certain they were going to buy it to test drive it. The second dealership we tried also turned us away, even though we did state we were interested in buying, the G550 they had was already in the process of being sold. It became almost a chore trying to find one to test drive, but we did come across one dealer who was very eager to let us test drive the vehicle. In fact the G550 that we were given the keys to was the manager’s own personal vehicle. He didn’t seem to mind one bit and we managed to keep the G550 for two days.  We just had to keep our trips short and also paid extra close attention to literally everything we did because one scratch or ding would set us back a tremendous amount of money that neither of us would be able to pay.

We love the way the G550 looks but when it comes to driving it, that’s just a totally different story altogether! While the G550 isn’t a small thing, it feels very daunting to drive. The blind spots are massive and while we did get plenty of safety aids to help take the sting out of it, the steering wheel is just way too slow to react and it often feels overly light at low speeds. You could shimmy the steering wheel from one direction to the other and the vehicle will continue going straight. The only other vehicle that we tested with steering like this was in a Mitsubishi Mirage and that’s a sub-$15k hatchback. The saving grace for the G550 is the contagious engine note that made it so worth the cumbersomeness that you’ll have to deal with. We didn’t really do much venturing around town as we stayed in the suburbs and kept the trips to a minimum. We did want to venture downtown and see how well the G550 fit in but had to make do with the upscale suburbs and high-end grocery stores. We did get a lot of people staring at us, as if we were made of money. The one thing that we loathe about vehicles that stand out like the G-class is that even though you are just testing the car or renting it (in our case) people think that you have tons of money and want you to buy everything that they are selling. We know people who will buy this have to have the bank to afford it and keep it on the road, but that doesn’t mean we want to buy your whole wagon of cookies or donate to every charity!

Despite the rude treatment we received literally every place that we went, the G550 is such a comfortable feeling SUV which was a shocker to us since the platform is so old. The doors don’t make the typical thump sound to let you know that it’s of high-quality. It makes a very faint ‘dink’ sound as if the whole door is made out of aluminum or some light weight material. The driving position is pretty much straightforward, you won’t struggle to get comfortable at all, even though some will feel they are sitting on top of the car rather inside of it. The interior quality does feel up to par with Mercedes standards, we just wish that it had a little more flash. It seems as if Mercedes just updates it in a way to make it feel fresh, but the design is oh so familiar. It’s like they’ve changed nothing at all. The rear seat offers decent space for three, but you’ll have dirty pants every time you get in and out of the vehicle. The rear door has an awkward step in that makes it nearly impossible not to brush your pants or leg against the side of the vehicle. The tall yet boxy shape does give you plenty of headroom. You’d have to be over 6’7 to even complain about headroom in this thing. The boot opening is very awkward and the boot space in general isn’t really anything to brag about, not that anyone would be bragging about it because it’s most likely not going to be used for that purpose anyone. And if you do use it for that purpose you’re better off with a GLE AMG.

The G-class doesn’t really come with many options and the ones that are optional were ticked as standard on this tester car we had. The adjustable suspension comes in handy as you can switch the suspension to comfort mode and glide over all the bumps and imperfections on the road, we didn’t test drive it in sport mode as it felt rather foolish, especially since the G550 drinks gas like no tomorrow.

The G550 isn’t like any SUV on the road. We hadn’t had the chance to drive it off road or even on the light muddy fields. It’s pretty daunting to drive too considering that it really is smaller than the GLS and Cadillac Escalade ESV we’ve driven. The biggest problem with the G550 is that despite it being an older design with updates here and there, there really is no point to this vehicle. We know majority of those who buy this won’t even take it off-road where it was meant to be driven and very few will ever even drive on muddy fields. It seems like one of those cars you buy because you have the money to buy one and don’t care about how much you’ll have to pay in running costs. We certainly found the car to be just too daunting to drive, almost as if it were a chore rather than engaging or entertaining. Plus everyone everywhere thought we had deep pockets because after all this is a $125k plus vehicle. You either love it or loathe it. It was certainly met with mixed opinion. We returned it to the dealer and the dealer and the manager was willing to knock off almost $20k if we took it off his hands, but we couldn’t afford to keep gas in this thing, let alone the purchase price of it. We wanted to like the G550 as it is a special type of vehicle that not everyone can buy but money doesn’t buy tastes and the G-class is proof of that. It’s stylish but rubbish in everywhere else.

Likes: The eight-cylinder engines sound amazing. It’s designed for off-road use and has a luxurious interior. We love how the doors don’t make the typical ‘thump’ sound when closed.

Dislikes: It rubbish to drive anywhere that’s not off-road. The purchase price is just as high as the running costs and don’t get us started on the bling factor.

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