So why can't Americans?
Want to put a new Mercedes G-Class in your driveway? That'll be $124,500, plus delivery, minimum. And that's just for the base G550: the AMG G63 will set you back at least $147,500. But European customers can get one for a fair bit less.
Just now reaching showrooms across Europe is the new G350d – a more cost-conscious version of Benz's flagship SUV. And it starts at €95,021.50 – or about $109k at current exchange rates. That's significantly less than the €107,040.50 (~$123k) that domestic customers would have to pay for the G500 (which we get Stateside as the G550).
So what's the deal? The engine, that's what. The base G-Wagen in Europe is a diesel. The G350d packs a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel rated at 286 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. That's a fair bit less power but almost as much torque as the G500/G550, which boasts a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 416 hp and 450 lb-ft, and far less on both fronts than the G63 which uses a handbuilt version of the same, tuned to deliver 577 hp and 627 lb-ft. Otherwise, though, it's essentially the same vehicle, right down to the nine-speed automatic transmission.
As enticing as the prospect of a less expensive, diesel-powered G-Wagen may seem (to some), Mercedes' decision to keep the base model out of US showrooms hardly comes as a great surprise.
With diesels accounting for just 3 percent of its sales, and in the wake of the rival Volkswagen Group's "Dieselgate" scandal, Mercedes pulled the last of its oil-burners from the US market almost a year ago – leaving the Sprinter van as the last holdout.