In this article, I want to go over the two extremes. The most overpriced Mercedes-Benz ever sold, and the best used Mercedes-Benz money can buy.
Having worked on many Mercedes-Benz cars, I felt obligated to share my knowledge of two unique Mercedes-Benz cars. Are you wondering which is the most overpriced Mercedes?
The most Overpriced Mercedes-Benz
The title for the most overpriced Mercedes-Benz goes to the G-Wagen.
For the record, I have not owned a G-wagon or have the desire to own one. My experience with the G wagon comes from working on the M113 and M273 engines found on the G Wagen, 722.6 transmissions, and driving them for short periods.
I am not saying that the G-Wagen is a bad vehicle. It is as reliable as a Mercedes-Benz can get. It costs over $100k new and is undoubtedly the most overpriced Mercedes-Benz car.
The G-Class has been in production for 5 decades. It is still built and looks the same as 50 years ago, but with redesigned bumpers and LED headlights. I guess that’s enough changes for Mercedes-Benz to call it “The next generation G-Class.” While the other models have a life cycle of about 5 to 7 years, the G class has remained almost the same for 50 years. Without a doubt, Mercedes-Benz saves a lot of money in the design of the G Class compared to other models such as the C, E, S, and ML-Class.
Not only hasn’t the G-Class been redesigned for decades but if you look carefully under the hood of the G Class, it is equipped with the same engine and transmission used on the GL and the S Class. The same goes for the interior. On other models, you will find many center console buttons and switches in the G Class. For example, the G Class interior has a lot of pieces copied out of the S Class. The older models even had knobs and switches removed from the C Class. The G-Class is the only technology and a drivetrain developed for other models pieced together to fit the G-Wagen.
The only place where the G-Wagen shines is its off-road capabilities. If you spend over 100K for a new G-Class or 30K+ for a used one, there is very little chance you will take it off-road.
The G Class is the model in which Mercedes-Benz invests the least money (Research, Design, Development) and sells it for much more than the rest of the fleet. It is even more expensive than the top-of-the-line luxury S-Class and GL-Class (GLS). The G-Wagen makes the GL/GLS look like a bargain.
The title for bargain Mercedes-Benz goes to the R-Class.
I know what some of you are thinking. In case you are wondering, the R-Class has a bad reputation. If you know which trims to buy, you can get a reliable luxury vehicle for less than the price of a used Honda CR-V or Toyota Rav4.
Why is the R Class the best value, Mercedes?
First, it is based on the GL-Class platform. It has many features and the comfort of the big and luxurious GL-Class. Models as early as 2006 had parking sensors, active headlights, keyless entry, push start, two DVDs in the rear, navigation, Bluetooth, air suspension, and the best safety features you could get at the time. The Interior is identical to that of the GL Class. The exterior is another story. Some call it a VAN, and others call it an SUV. I like to call it the R Class because nothing else is like it.
A used R Class sells for under $10k while the price of the same year GL Class is almost double. The price of the same model year overpriced G-Wagen is about four to five times that of an R-Class. Yet the G-Wagen doesn’t offer anything more than the R-Class.
The R-Class is so cheap because, for the first couple of years, 2006 and 2007, the R-Class had many problems. The engines had balance shaft issues. Transmission failed more often than most. R Class vehicles were also having problems with the differentials too. On top of that, some were equipped with air suspension, which of course, can fail more frequently due to its complexity.
All these problems gave the R Class a bad name. After 2008 Mercedes-Benz addressed most of these issues, yet the R Class inherited that bad reputation from the first couple of production years.
What to avoid?
Stay away from 2006, 2007, and early 2008 R350 and air suspension models. While air suspension is a nice comfort feature, get one without air suspension if you are looking for a reliable R Class. All R500 models are solid vehicles (engine, transmission, and full options), but keep in mind they have air suspension. R320 and R350 air suspensions were optional.
There is no question that the G-Wagen is overpriced. At the same time, a used 2008 and newer R Class is undoubtedly one of the best used Mercedes-Benz cars you can buy. The G-Wagon is your best choice if you want to look rich and drive an overpriced Mercedes-Benz.
If you are looking for the ultimate luxury SUV loaded with technology that few vehicles have, skip the G Class. A GL-Class or the new GLS63 AMG are way better choices than the G-Wagen.
Going for the GL-Class instead of the G-Class leaves a lot of money in your pocket. You will have so much money left that you can even donate to your favorite charity or find another way to make a difference. You will feel better and won’t be driving a vehicle from the 1980s that only about 0.01% of the population thinks is cool.