The Mercedes-Benz G-Class – or G-Wagen as it’s otherwise known – is one of the most iconic models in the automotive world, one that was originally developed as a military off-road vehicle that later became a popular and luxurious SUV for the masses – at least those that can afford one. The current-gen model just debuted for the 2022 model year following a long overdue redesign, and now, Ford Authority has spotted The Blue Oval benchmarking one – more specifically, a Mercedes G550, at its Dearborn Test Track and on surrounding public roads – alongside a Ford Bronco Raptor, interestingly enough.
The Mercedes G550 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 that produces 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, slotting in the lineup beneath the mighty AMG variant. Though the new-gen model gained updated styling and a brand new interior with modern tech features, the G-Wagen remains a decidedly vintage-looking machine with boxy styling, as well as widely-heralded off-road capability, albeit with a price tag that’s well north of $100k.
What’s notable about this particular sighting is that it could mean FoMoCo is considering a more luxurious version of the Ford Bronco, but it isn’t the first clue suggesting that such a thing is possibly in the works. As Ford Authority reported back in August of 2021, The Blue Oval hasn’t ruled out either an upscale version of its sixth-generation SUV, nor a fixed-roof variant. Additionally, Ford Authority spotted the automaker benchmarking another luxurious, fixed-roof, off-road-focused Bronco competitor – the Land Rover Defender – back in 2021 as well.
It’s unclear if Ford is actually thinking about creating a more luxurious, fixed-roof version of the Bronco, and at the very least, it could just be benchmarking the G550 against the Bronco Raptor to see how the two stack up in a number of areas. Regardless, we imagine that a market for such a product exists – the question is, will Ford seek to compete in that space?
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It’s probably not much of a compliment but the best I can say about the G-wagon is it has interesting windows in the doors.
One has to wonder what the purpose in the message is? Ford will never have their own version of anything close to a G-wagon.
Charging Ford customers more for less, is more likely the case.
Purpose in the message is that the G-wagon is a homely car. It’s not that difficult really.
I owned a Gwagen back in 2001 when MB started selling them in the US. I drove it 7,000+ miles in a month, east coast to west coast and back at 14MPG. Here’s the thing. It was built as a military vehicle and is still in use today for that purpose (without all the lux stuff). I can’t imagine Ford building something like this. It is so over the top for any driver other than to impress which it really doesn’t any more. Top level Range Rovers are better. The Gwagen is wretched excess. The sheet metal is thicker than all but an armored car. It has 50 liters of wax poured in the frame to ward off corrosion. The windows (except for today’s upgraded bug killer windshield) are all flat so they can be replaced with plywood or whatever if they are shot out in combat. I don’t know about the current refresh but my original was smaller than a 2001 Ford Explorer. It’s just tall! Not sure about today but back then it was the ONLY standard vehicle that came with 3 locking differentials. Lock that front axle on dry pavement and you will bend everything in the front end (I did not do this but the daughter of the MB dealer did on hers). If Ford comes close, they will sell but still be wretched excess over the current Brapter. Now if Ford wants to build a military vehicle for combat use, have at it. I, for one, would love to see that.
Looks nothing like a FORD. Don’t like the style.
Ford is prepping a Premium Bronco, this makes some sense.
Maybe but Ford could cover most of the sweet spot without the extreme nature of the G-Wagon.
If Lincoln’s future is only premium SUV’s and crossovers, is there any reason not to benchmark the MB to consider a luxury variant of a vehicle that is capable of off-road travel? I’m trying to figure out where Lincoln goes if the Nautilus and Corsair disappear in two years and there are only two domestic Lincoln models remaining (Navigator, Aviator). The Star concept is out there somewhere in the future but FMC can’t even keep its Louisville plant operational right now producing slightly refreshed ICE vehicles Escape and Corsair. I’m guessing a Mustang Mach-E variant is in Lincoln’s future if that model’s demons can be exorcised. Challenging times for FMC, but many self-inflicted wounds it seems.
I think the profit on a $100K auto would explain the use for the car. It would not be hard to rework a Navigator chassis, add some tech and flash and have a money maker for a make that has current quality woes. Anything that distracts is worth a try.
Well, I’ve had my Mustang Mach E First Edition since March 2021, and aside from one early 12 volt battery failure, it has been “demon free”. With 17,000 miles on it an several long road trips up/down the east coast, it has been great. There will always issues with completely new vehicles, but time and the warranty heals all. One thing not ever mentioned that I’ve seen is that the aerodynamic styling of EVs keep them pretty durn clean. If you don’t drive on muddy roads, you dust it off once a week!
Nice to hear some real world feedback. I agree with your take that nothing new is perfect but a good team will make it ever better.
If you can go back into that distant memory Jim, it would be interesting to hear you compare the GW with the MME.
I know they aren’t the same thing but it would be interesting.
There is a new Nautilus on the way for the US and the Corsair was just refreshed. There are two new EV crossovers arriving in 2025. Also arriving in 2025 is the new Navigator. I think Lincoln is going to be in pretty good shape.
The MB “G-Wagon” is not built by MB. Has been and still is built by Magna Steyr in Austria. Magna Steyr is a company completely independent of MB. The original production numbers anticipated for NATO consumption didn’t justify MB allocation plant space for it. The American demand of status SUV was why MB finally decided to have Magna Steyr build US legal models for MB dealers in the US starting with the 2002 model year.
Ford most likely bench marked the product mechanically not for price. For instance, look closely and can be seen that all the glass on the driver side is the same glass as the passenger side. (MB Star Logo reversed) This is one of the examples in manufacturing so that the military could reduce the amount of replacement parts needed to keep on hand.
A free wrong things. It was designed and built under contract originally for the Shah of Iran as his desert and mountain vehicle. He was deposed and there was no immediate market for it so it was sold in South America, primarily in Argentina. In later years it was imported and federalized by a guy in New Mexico or Nevada and was outrageously expensive ($125k in the 90s). I bought a loaded G500 in 2001 for $77,000. Magna Steyr builds them in Austria but MB supplies the drive train and adds the lux stuff. The vehicle is essentially hand-built in term of assembly.
My wild guess they could make Lincoln bronco ?
Why would Ford ever allow Lincoln to have something that we want? It would take sales away from the Bronce. Ford can never allow that to happen just as Ford will never allow Lincoln to get an S650 long wheelbase Lincoln LS v8. Never gonna happen. Lincoln is doomed to live the sedate life with no excitement.
If Ford could develop a Lincoln variant which would cover its cost and return significantly more profit per unit than Bronco, Ford would do it.
Ford will not do a Lincoln Bronco because Lincoln can’t be better or get more attention than Ford. Ford can do it but never will. Just like Ford will never give Lincoln a proper LS V8 off the S650 Mustang. There can be profit from the Lincoln edition but it takes away the mystique from the Mustang. Ford USA is putting little investment in Lincoln. Witness the arrival near the end of the year of the China Nautilus and sometime thereafter, a China Lincoln Mach E.
Lincoln and Mercury did more expensive versions of Fords for years. Even did a Lincoln Blackwood.
If there was a solid sustainable business case as I said above, Ford would do it.
Need lowest easy payment to match my income.