Recently I considered purchasing a 2013 G550 with a tick under 60k miles on the clock. Aki has been really good to me buying a CLS at EuroMotor Cars Bethesda I should thank for the opportunity.
Immediately I was intrigued because the G wagons kept the naturally aspirated engines longer than I thought they would. I was driving the 5.5L V8, not the 4.6L TTV8 in a 2013. The gas milage was not great more similar to a lifted P38a then the 5.0L SC, like 12.2MPG combined on the computer clock tracking 57k miles. She was shod with portal axels and leaf springs. Shocking how old school this car was. The interior too didn’t really compete with the L322, especially not the L405 or later L322s, but was slightly nicer than a P38a interior.
The ride over both broken pavement and nice roads was unexpectedly good. There were not rattles of early Range Rovers. This felt tighter and better put together. The build quality was and potentially is much better on the G Wagon. There was not a rattle to be heard, shocking for a body on frame SUVs with full lock up capabilities. As in you can fully lock the center, front, and rear differentials sending 100% of power to just one wheel.
I was surprised by the road manners, she turned better than a P38 and I would argue and L322. The acceleration was really nice. Potentially due to being naturally aspirated, there was almost no lag, with a nice linear pull. I would guess it would perform between a 4.2L SC Jaguar and a 5.0L SC Jaguar in terms of power delivery. The transmission felt fairly good too.
To be honest I wasn’t expecting to like the G-wagon as much as I did. It put a smile on my face. I guess with bigger wheels and in altitude a twin turbo car would be better, or perhaps the supercharged 5.5L would be ideal. But on road the naturally aspirated 550 pleased in a way that belied the output of 389hp.
I’d like to review the G vs Range Rover offroad. I have some clues about the outcome. Many of the intangibles for the RR hold true for the G wagon, including ability to make tight corners, and great visibility and awareness of the car.
You can really feel and drive this car. I believe it would be great offroad but I’ll have to wait and test it in a few different situations to really know. I would imagine it will equal the Range Rover in all but perhaps a few categories, such as water wading, and ability to traverse inclines side to side. I have a clue from the traction and power delivery that she would be the equal of the Range Rover in most low traction situations, and surpassing it in several due to the full lock up capabilities.
I don’t know how she will handle kicking out the rear end in tricky situations such as over roots on a narrow trail. She might be a little heavier too, so in sand, the Range Rover may be a bit better.
I would not hesitate to consider one of these if the bronco waitlist is a bit long. It is truly an offroader, that drives well on the road. This is perhaps the pinnacle of old school offroader, aside from perhaps the 4×4^2 which is a supertruck. I believe the later G-wagon kept a lot of this capability but I have not tried to drive one. I guess I’ll do an L405 vs G wagon review upcoming, if Land Rover and Mercedes let me.