The 2006 Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a tall, boxy style, much loved by military enthusiasts and off-road adventurers. Constructed by hand in Graz, Austria, the 2006 G-Class comes in two models: the standard G500 and the high-performance G55 AMG. A full range of high-tech features and creature comforts make this serious sport utility vehicle as palatable to city streets as to the pavement-free wilderness.
That being said, the G-Class does not suit everyone. Its top-heavy design isn’t ideal for displays of sharp athleticism, while its noisy engine doesn’t make it a great option for the suburbs. With a six-figure starting price, the G-Class best suits drivers with a generous budget and an interest in military vehicle history.
First constructed in the 1970s as a military vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is truly a one-of-a-kind offering in today’s market. The G-Class—also known in German as the Gelandewagen, or G-Wagen—was originally developed for the Shah of Iran, as well as German army use. Mercedes began offering it to civilians in Europe in 1979. Though it did not officially enter the U.S. market until 2002, some G-Wagens slipped into the country during the 1980s as an exclusive offering for wealthy buyers. This sturdy SUV has remained largely unchanged from its earliest, strictly utilitarian military days. However, the passing decades have brought a wealth of luxury upgrades, high-tech equipment, and practical improvements to the G-Class.
Body styles: sport utility vehicle
Engines: 5.0-liter V-8 (G500), 5.4-liter V-8 (G55 AMG)
Transmissions: five-speed automatic with manual capability
Models: C500, C55 AMG
The introduction of a specially badged Grand Edition marks the only notable change to the G-Class for 2006. Aside from updated safety equipment, the same classic features that have carried this ruggedly luxurious SUV for decades remain.
This full-size SUV represents one of the largest private vehicles on the road today, measuring 77.8 inches high and 185.6 inches long, with a tread width of 59.6 inches. The square-cornered G-Class is a stylishly practical box on wheels, though its external appearance puts function before form. The only exterior indulgences include a grille guard and special badging available with the Grand Edition package. The G-Class is also a working car, with front and rear tow hooks capable of hauling up to 700 pounds from the front and up to 7000 pounds from the back.
A generous range of interior luxury features and high-tech equipment offsets the G-Class’s austere exterior. High-class creature comforts include leather upholstery, wood trim, heated seats in both the front and rear, a six-CD changer, Bluetooth connectivity, a trip computer, power front seats, and a memory system for the front seats, steering wheel, and mirrors. Close your eyes and recline in one of the G-Class’s contoured and heated seats, and you’ll feel as comfortable and relaxed as you would in any luxury sedan. This vehicle may have been born as a military-grade SUV, but the 2006 G-Class has so much more to offer.
Performance & Handling
Considering its top-heavy design and somewhat cumbersome feel, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz G-Class still manages to provide a surprisingly stable ride, thanks to its off-road-oriented suspension. The G-Class does experience considerably more rocking than most other luxury SUVs, however. Its powerful V-8 engine pushes out 292 horsepower and 336 lb-ft of torque, with the G500 managing a respectable acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. In comparison, the high-performance G55 AMG provides more muscle with an enhanced V-8 engine rated at 469 hp and a sturdy 516 lb-ft of torque. This tall, narrow SUV affords more control than one might expect, though it certainly doesn’t compare to car-based SUVs, particularly with tight cornering.
The 2006 G-Class contains a full range of high-tech safety features, including front and rear head airbags, electronic stability control and traction control, parking aid, a vehicle anti-theft system, and four-wheel anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. A universal LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) is included in the rear, with all seats also offering three-point height-adjustable seatbelts, plus emergency belt tensioning in the front.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mercedes-Benz G500 and G55 AMG: 11/13 mpg city/highway
- Cargo room
- Hauling capability
- Interior luxury
- Unique history
You Won't Like
- Fuel economy
- Cumbersome feel and top-heavy design
- Challenging entry/exit
- Road noise
A retro feel and luxurious interior.
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