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2016 G65

There's nothing quite like the Mercedes-Benz G-Class sports-utility vehicle. How many vehicles were designed at the request of the Shah of Iran, have served as the official transportation device for the Pope, are used as military vehicles by nearly every major country in the world, and are sold brand new fully swathed in luxury from car dealerships in North America?

Only one that we can think of: the G-Class. The G has been around for more than 35 years, although only since 2002 has it been officially imported by Mercedes-Benz. Previously, North American importation was through Santa Fe, New Mexico-based grey market importer Europa International. Since 2002, the G has been available new from Mercedes-Benz dealers, despite brief hiatuses.


The G was once expected to be replaced officially in the consumer market by the GL-Class sports utility vehicles, but its fans protested and Mercedes-Benz relented. Thus, despite a history dating back more than a generation, the G-Wagen is still built by Magna-Steyr in Austria and sold new.

Building on the G63, the G65 rides on specific ten-spoke alloy wheels, and it wears revised bumpers on both ends. "V12 Biturbo" emblems on the front fenders hint at what's under the hood.

Specifications Sheet

The G65 uses a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 engine that makes 621 horsepower from 5,000 to 5,300 rpm and a massive 738 pound-feet of torque from 2,300 to 4,300 rpm. It spins all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Although it weighs over 5,900 pounds, the G65 is capable of reaching 60 mph from a stop in a physics-defying 5.2 seconds.

It'll hold its own off the beaten path, too. Like the regular G550, the G65 features full body-on-frame construction, solid axles front and rear, three differential locks and copious plating underneath to fend off rocks.

Life Aboard

Inside, the G65 feels a bit like a 30-year-old vehicle thank to an upright windshield, limited shoulder room and blocky design. Yet it's exceedingly well built and now features a new instrument panel and a center stack that brings the secondary controls into the 21st century. Standard equipment includes Mercedes-Benz's latest COMAND navigation, a harman/kardon audio system, a multicontour driver's seat with pneumatic bolsters and extensive premium leather trim, while G65-specific touches include designo leather upholstery with fluted leather door paneling.

Standard safety features include DISTRONIC PLUS, Blind Spot Assist and the parking aid PARKTRONIC with reversing camera. The ESP stability control system has been revised and now includes Trailer Stability Assist.

Key competitors

Loud, brash, and expensive, the Mercedes-AMG G65 is arguably in a class of its own. Buyers can conceivably cross-shop it against the Bentley Bentayga, which is much more refined, or high-end variants of the Land Rover Range Rover.