Car of the Week - June 10, 2002

2002 Mercedes Benz G500

SEE ALSO: Mercedes Buyer's Guide

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This is the G500, or Gelaendewagen ("tough terrain vehicle"), from Mercedes Benz. After 20 years of only being available in Europe, this hand-built Austrian contains a killer 5.0-liter gasoline V8 engine creating 292 horsepower and 336 pound-feet of torque. By putting two spark plugs and three valves per cylinder the G500 is cool in California, emissions-wise. We immediately chose to test it on Highway 50 to Lake Tahoe - and it gave a Bavarian yawn and ate up that stretch of curvy High Sierra pavement. And what a view from its massive cabin - even Vlade would have headroom.

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The off-road capabilities are equally impressive. The triple locking differentials are easily engaged/disengaged with three push buttons on the dash. The brakes handle the weight with strong and straight effectiveness. Passengers all loved the comfort and ride - and there is enough cargo space to satisfy a small camera crew with big ideas (Steven Spielberg owns one for his little dinos). Priced at around $73,000, the G500 is somewhat of a bargain - down from $125,000. Hmmm.

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- Editor

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