Vehicle Overview

More than one automaker would like to believe its sport utility vehicle is the “ultimate” example. Mercedes-Benz is taking a step in that direction with the new G500 (G-Class), which evolved from the no-compromises Geläendewagen that’s sold in Europe. Only 1,500 units will be available in the United States by fall 2001, with a sticker price of $72,500.

With its M-Class sport utility model on sale in the United States since 1998, Mercedes-Benz focused largely on road-going manners. The Geläendewagen, in contrast, is a hard-core offroad machine inspired by the demands of military service but transformed into a high-end luxury SUV. Mercedes-Benz claims that it will climb an 80 percent grade and remain stable on a 54 percent lateral slope. Handcrafted in Graz, Austria, the G500 will face such competitors as the BMW X5, Land Rover Range Rover 4.6 HSE, Lexus LX 470 and even the Hummer H1.

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