Benjamin ZhangAs an automotive journalist, I have had the privilege of driving a couple of hundred different cars over the past few years. Even still, very rarely do I have the chance to get behind the wheel of a legend.
Which is why we simply couldn't say no when Mercedes-Benz dropped off a 2017 G550 clad in an eye-catching paprika metallic paint job. In a marketplace filled with soft-riding, car-based wannabes, there are still a few hardcore off-roading purists left. For the past four decades, the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen or the G-Wagon has been one of the true standard bearers for what a true SUV should strive to be.
(Technically, Mercedes-Benz retired the G-Wagon moniker in favor of the G-Class designation in 1998, but to its fans, it's still the G-Wagon.)
However, the high-price luxury SUV we know today came from decidedly humble beginnings.
In that time, the G-Wagon has found itself on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East
Even though its roots are planted firmly in the mystique of its uncompromising off-roading prowess, the G-Wagon has now become the SUV of choice for the posh suburbanite or the Hollywood starlet looking for something "different".
In many ways, the G-Wagon is a rolling contradiction. It's a vehicle made famous for its ability to survive and thrive in some of the world's most inhospitable conditions. Yet, these days, it's most likely to be found driving around the palm-tree-lined boulevards of Southern California decked out in fancy wheels and a custom paint job.
It's Jason Bourne with a manicure — a rolling embodiment of special ops chic.
As a result, the brutish Austrian-built Benz is unlike anything on or off the road today.
The Mercedes-Benz G550 starts at $122, 400 while our test vehicle drove off the dealer lot at $136, 375.