2008 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

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11 CITY / 14 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2008:
  • New instrument cluster and steering wheel

  • New taillamp design

  • New rearview camera

  • New hands-free communication/telephone interface

  • Seven-speed automatic transmission for G500
Don't confuse the G-Class with the American-built GL-Class. The G-Class is Mercedes' venerable sport utility vehicle that, like the Hummer, began life in military service but has been modified for civilian use. But while modified for civilians, the G has retained its iconic, upright and basically boxy exterior design. The G-Class received significant civilian upgrades for the 2007 model year and they continue for 2008. Last year, it was navigation, bi-Xenon headlamps, a 7-speed automatic transmission, new fog lamps and center console, as well as new interior leather trim and better front-seat cushions. For 2008, the updates include a new instrument cluster and steering wheel, new taillamps, a new rearview camera and hands-free telephone.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty that includes 24-hour roadside assistance.

Model Lineup
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is available for 2008 as the G500 and the G55 AMG. The G500 comes with dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, power telescoping and tilting steering column with a heated steering wheel, COMAND (which is Mercedes' term for its cockpit management and data system with DVD navigation), cruise control, heated leather-covered front and rear seats, a power sunroof, 10-way adjustable front seats, a folding rear seat, rain-sensing windshield wipers, premium harmon/kardon audio system with a 6-disc CD changer in the cargo area, running boards, HomeLink garage door opener, telephone interface, trailer hitch pre-wiring, and an electrically heated windshield.

The G55 AMG, developed by Mercedes' in-house high-performance shop, adds Nappa leather, rear park assist and a rearview camera, illuminated door sills, Sirius satellite radio and hands-free communication. It also wears a silver-painted front grille and is equipped with AMG side exhaust.

The G500 is powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 292 hp and 336 lb.-ft. of torque. That power flows through a 7-speed automatic transmission to a permanent 4-wheel drive (4WD) system with front, center and rear locking differentials to provide maximum traction. EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2008 G500 are 12 mpg city/15 mpg highway, with a combined rating of 13 mpg. The G55 AMG gets a 5.5-liter V-8 engine hand-built to generate 493 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is linked to a 5-speed automatic gearbox. With electromechanical differential locks, an AMG exhaust system and AMG wheels, the G55 AMG can sprint from a standing start to 60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, Mercedes claims. To deal with its enhanced dynamic capabilities, the G55 AMG also comes with larger brakes. EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2008 G55 AMG are 11 mpg city/13 mpg highway, with a combined rating of 12 mpg.

Safety equipment on the 2008 Mercedes-Benz G-Class includes Electronic Stability Program (ESP), anti-lock brakes with brake assist, turn signals integrated into the side mirrors, bi-Xenon headlamps, headlamp washers, and front and rear fog lamps. These SUVs are equipped with front air bags for the driver and front-seat occupant and with curtain air bags that cover both rows. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has rated the 2008 G-Class for crash protection.

All 2008 Mercedes-Benz G-Class models channel their power through a full-time 4WD system that distributes torque through front, center and rear differentials, all of which can be locked for off-road use while the vehicle is in motion. This is done with buttons located on the dashboard. To reduce wheel spin in extremely low-traction situations, the center and rear differential locks can be engaged whenever the vehicle is off-pavement. In the most slippery off-road situations-for example, in deep mud-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 even be engaged on the fly at speeds up to about 15 mph. A 4-wheel electronic traction control system automatically helps drivers through on-road and most off-road conditions, Mercedes says. Traction control is integrated with Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which can detect an impending spin or slide and apply brakes on one wheel as needed to help keep the vehicle on track, the automaker explains.

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