This is perhaps the most absurd vehicle running around the
Streets of San Francisco. Looking like a military vehicle with a great paint job, chrome
and fancy wheels, the Mercedes-Benz G500 really is not suited to everyday duty. You can
just tell that it wants to be out doing some grunt work in the hills. Or climbing the side
of a building like Spiderman. Which it just might be able to do with its 336 lb-ft of
torque twisting its way to all four corners through the magnificent 5-speed automatic
transmission. And just in case the tires begin to slip just a little, even though it's got
Full Time 4-Wheel Drive, you can lock each and every differential (all three) with just
the flick of a switch without ever having to get out of the vehicle.
I don't think I've ever, no I know I've never, driven a vehicle that garnered as much
attention as the G500. People stared, people pointed. People knew what it was! A toll
taker on the San Mateo Bridge keep people waiting behind me so she could ask a million
questions, including how I got so lucky as to be driving it.
The G-Class is based off a military vehicle. That's why it looks like one. As far as
vehicles go, its design is ancient. But Mercedes-Benz is not stupid. When an independent
importer showed there was a profit to be made with the Gelandewagen (really, that was the
name before it was shortened to G-Class), Mercedes decided to sell a few themselves. So
they civilized the beast and gave us the G500.
What's civilized? Dual zone auto climate control, power telescopic and tilt
multifunction steering wheel, a great GPS Navigational system, cruise control, heated
front and rear seats, power sunroof (big enough to stand on a seat and wave to the crowd
from), leather seats, privacy glass (so no one can see what you're doing in there), rain
sensors for the wipers (neat stuff, turn the switch to intermittent and it automatically
adjusts the speed according to the amount of rain), and a killer stereo with a CD changer.
Okay, there is a slight down side. It gets terrible mileage. I mean it's rated at
14-mpg highway and you'd have to be a saint to get that. But who really cares? Not me. The
G500 was amazing. It really held the road. Heck it even cornered halfway decent. Yeah, so
it cost $74,945 plus tax and plates, but it had one feature that was well worth the cost
of admission. The name "Mercedes-Benz", engraved in both the front door sill
plates, was illuminated in a beautiful soft blue light and set against the Obsidian Black
paint. Now that's Class.