Home » The New G-Wagen: Even The Mighty Mercedes-Benz G-Class Can’t Escape The Exodus Of The V8

The New G-Wagen: Even The Mighty Mercedes-Benz G-Class Can’t Escape The Exodus Of The V8

Der GelÄndewagen: Offroad. Unlimited. Established 1979. The GelÄndewagen: Off Road. Unlimited. Established In 1979.
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If things keep going as planned, the gasoline-powered V8 engine isn’t long for this world. Brands from Jeep to Toyota have already hopped aboard the downsizing train, and even in today’s sports sedan segment, you’re more likely to find a boosted six than an eight under the hood. For 2025, downsizing is even coming for the iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Class as the G550 swaps its V8 for an inline-six.

More specifically, it gets Mercedes-Benz’s three-liter turbocharged mild-hybrid inline-six making 443 horsepower and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. That’s a gain of 27 horsepower but a loss of 37 lb.-ft. of torque over the old M176 hot-vee turbocharged V8. However, at this tier of output, does losing 37 lb.-ft. of torque really matter? The old G550 did zero-to-60 mph in 5.1 seconds during Car And Driver instrumented testing, and I think we can all agree that’s quick for an SUV that feels like the world’s nicest telephone booth.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Mind you, there’s more to the new G-Class than just a new engine. It’s hard to spot, but the A-pillars, the leading edge of the roof, and the front end have been subtly reshaped for aerodynamic efficiency. This might seem silly, but with the outgoing model working with a drag coefficient of 0.55, even marginal gains can have big effects. We’ll have to wait on EPA fuel economy numbers just to be sure, but NEDC figures of 19 to 21 mpg combined seem promising for the new engine and aero tweaks.

Der GelÄndewagen: Offroad. Unlimited. Established 1979. The GelÄndewagen: Off Road. Unlimited. Established In 1979. G-Class

As some of those aerodynamic tweaks involve styling, we should probably talk about how the new G-Class looks. The most obvious change is that the grille bars have been simplified, evoking the treatment given to older models and just classing up the joint. Speaking of simplification, fuller bumper corner grilles eliminate the split arrangement on the old model, but this thing still keeps the chrome trim caps that cover mounting points for a bull bar.

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Der Neue Mercedes Benz G550 G-Class

On the inside, the updated G-Class gets some useful technology improvements. Its 360 degree camera system pulls a leaf from the Land Rover playbook and lets you effectively see beneath the front of the SUV, a handy touch for placing wheels on rocks and boulders without a spotter. Mercedes-Benz calls it the Transparent Hood function, which is fine if you ignore the fact that it totally doesn’t make the actual hood see-through. Still, add in updated infotainment, a new steering wheel, and adaptive cruise control with lane centering assistance, and you get a useful techlift that brings the G550 up to date with newer competition like the Land Rover Defender.

Der GelÄndewagen: Offroad. Unlimited. Established 1979. The GelÄndewagen: Off Road. Unlimited. Established In 1979.

Of course, if you still want a V8, you’ll be happy to know that the G63 hasn’t gone to an inline-six. If anything, it’s slightly brawnier than before. The four-liter twin-turbocharged M177 AMG V8 gains a 48-volt mild hybrid system, and while it still produces 577 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque, the 48-volt system’s integrated starter/generator can assist the engine in torque delivery, smoothing out the occasional dip in the powerband. There’s also a new adaptive hydraulic anti-roll bar system that can stiffen up under aggressive cornering or soften for improved articulation off-road and ride quality on the straights. If you pay for the AMG Offroad Package Pro, um, package, you can even alter anti-roll bar stiffness on the fly instead of merely putting your faith in the computer.

Der GelÄndewagen: Offroad. Unlimited. Established 1979. The GelÄndewagen: Off Road. Unlimited. Established In 1979. G-Class Mercedes-Benz G550

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Then again, any furor over downsizing might be a moot point soon. This is likely the final update the luxury-line G-Class will get before an electric model comes out, and while instant torque has its benefits off the beaten path, and any improvement on the historically abysmal fuel economy is appreciated, the smooth nature of an electric powertrain likely won’t have the drama of a thumping V8 breathing out of side-exit exhaust tips. In the meantime, meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

(Photo credits: Mercedes-Benz)

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Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
19 days ago

Who put fancy wheels and DRLs on some military shitbox? Oh, wait that’s actually supposed to be a fancy car?
No idea why rich people cream their pants over this box, it still looks like the built to budget basic military truck it started as. In what way is that aspirational?

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
20 days ago

That darker blue G550 is just so pretty.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
20 days ago

I feel like the G Wagen has lost it’s purpose and become a signifier of wealth rather than a serious tool. The 5 and 6 cylinder ones from the 80s and 90s are like a Landcruiser 70 while the modern V8 models are a caricature. The local population runs the gamut from a rainbow oil slick wrap G500 I loathe to a grey import 280GE 2 door I love. The W460 can go hang I want a 300GD with with vinyl seats and a 5 speed.

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
19 days ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Also see Chevrolet Suburban that went from what was basically an enclosed work truck to a luxury-adjacent SUV.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
19 days ago
Reply to  LarsVargas

Yeah, some time during the transition to GMT800 the W/T dropped off. My son has a 99 3/4 ton Suburban (GMT400) with work truck trim, crank windows, black plastic grille with square lights and a vinyl bench seat. That is very rare, while the SLT he used to have is the majority.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
20 days ago

This is more of a Geez Wagon.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
20 days ago

They should’ve put the 4 banger in it

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
20 days ago

Ah yes, that 200+ German horsepower per liter 4 popper that’s definitely not going to go kablooey the second the warranty is up

Last edited 20 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Citrus
Citrus
20 days ago

It’s German, every engine they have is going to go kablooey the second the warranty is up.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
20 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

There are some exceptions to this rule but they’re few and far between. I watched my mom’s Allroad (damn the EA888 to hell) leave this mortal coil within days of her extended warranty ending. The engine just stopped turning and the car was a total loss at 60,000 miles.

My dad had an A6 and as soon as it reached 60k he sold it to CarMax after spending all of about 5 minutes googling what could go wrong. I’ve told both of them that this isn’t normal and suggested they consider Japanese luxury cars or even rolling the dice on Genesis but they refuse to drive anything that isn’t German.

They just…accept that their cars will kerplode and need to be replaced. It’s probably easier to do that when you’re in the financial place they’re in compared to us plebs…but it still seems like a puzzling thing to do when they could just buy a Lexus and keep it until the end of time.

But yeah. There are a small handful of German powertrains that tempt me (Porsche’s Flat 6s, the glorious B58 and S58, and the Audi/Porsche turbo V6) but as a general rule of thumb I’m not touching anything boosted and German unless it’s one of the engines I listed.

ESPECIALLY not the EA888. The fact that VAG standardized that absolute piece of shit will never cease to amaze me. You’ll be lucky to get more than 60k out of one…and I got out of my MK7.5 GTI after two years because of how many times the engine threw a tantrum and shut off cylinders. That stupid ass thing had 3 or 4 unscheduled visits to the service bay in the first 6,000 miles and was starting to have ignition issues at 12,000 miles.

I said not today Satan and got my N. For as much shit as Hyundai gets I’ve got 13,000 miles of driving the Kona N as god intended and it’s never complained a single time, even on the track.

AlterId
AlterId
20 days ago

I said not today Satan and got my N.

And we all know what Satan said back.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
20 days ago

Am I happy V8s are dying? Of course not, V8s rule and may well be the most ubiquitous internal combustion layout of all time. However, folks are sleeping on how good of a consolation prize straight 6s are. The best inline 6s are a goddamn treat.

If you don’t believe me go test drive something with God’s own engine the B58 and then tell me with a straight face that you’re unhappy we’ll be getting more of them. I for one welcome our new straight 6 overlords. They’re keeping ICE alive for a few more years and tend to sit at a great intersection of power, efficiency, and aural pleasure.

Do they sound as good as an LT1 V8 at wide open throttle? Of course not. But they sure sound better than pretty much every 4 cylinder and non-exotic V6. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of them, especially since Stellantis and Mazda just developed their own from the ground up. Don’t knock em til you try em!

Last edited 20 days ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Tyler
Tyler
20 days ago

Maybe I’ve spent too much time on BaT looking at old G Wagens, but seems normal to me to have an inline 6.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
20 days ago
Reply to  Tyler

This isn’t really news for anyone who knows what the G-Wagen is/was until the Hollywood elite stole it.

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