As a thoroughly jaded automotive writer, I have to make it clear that there are very few products that make me gasp or catches my attention anymore.
It's sort of sad, really.
Don't get me wrong, I still have a BURNING passion for what I do but I have noticed it becomes hard to really love something after you've driven it and it disappoints. Hell, there's even been some complete shockers in my day and after piloting it I have a completely new perspective on it -- can you say Porsche Panamera?
But one of the vehicles, which I can count on one hand, that ALWAYS makes me gasp or cut off people mid conversation is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Or, as it's more formally known: the Geländewagen.
Even after driving one and not being overjoyed, it still gets me every time.
Its driving position places you feeling as though you're riding on top of the hood -- great for offroading, not daily driving --, the bottom seats are flat as The Great Plains, its interior's switchgear is an ergonomic mess and this baby is very top heavy.
In fact, it drives very similarly to a Jeep Wrangler. Except this has a plentiful amount of power and is a steady cruiser on the highway.
My favorite part of the 2010 G550 I drove was its navigation set up that buried the screen so far down that even attempting to look at the screen gave me that same feeling as when I sneeze at triple-digit speed. You essentially make a decision to totally pull your eyes off the road and tilt your skull down and hope that nothing bad happens just so you can tell if that turn you *think* you're suppose to make is the right one.
But with the bad came the good.
That 5.5-liter V8 that's found just about across the Mercedes lineup was tuned to sound MEAN and AGGRESSIVE in the G. If you hear the G coming towards you at wide-open throttle, it's making itself very clear: "Get out of my way."
In addition, its very truck-like driving dynamics are fun in this rugged, utilitarian kind of way. Though it's a luxury product, you feel as though you can use it as a battering ram and throughout its 30 plus years of history, it has been a proven off-road beast.
Ultimately though, at the end of the day, I walked away from the G-Class disappointed. However, there's some major part of my heart that adores it and is still mystified for no clear reason. I can't put my finger on it.
Why is that?
Now for 2013, Mercedes-Benz is at it again. Given its age and heritage, that makes the G-Class the Porsche 911 of sport-utility vehicles. Slowly over time it's been updated with the latest gadgetry and gizmos; however, it appears that Mercedes finally got around to making a series of proper changes.
**Note: The placement of the new navigation unit
Take a look below at some of the new studio shots Mercedes-Benz took of the 2013 G-Class and tell us which new details you notice.
Once you're through with that, let us know if you're a fan of the G wagon or finding its appeal less than stellar.
2013 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Photo Gallery
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Paris to Beijing Photo Gallery