Mercedes-Benz to Discontinue G55 AMG

Posted: May 09, 2011 01:05 p.m.

Mercedes-Benz announced last week that before it discontinues its iconic G55 AMG SUV for the 2012 model year, it will release two special editions. Unfortunately, U.S. fans of the supercharged Geländewagen won’t be able to get their hands on these special-edition upgrades, since they’ll only be released in Europe. “Americans will have to admire these special models of the G-Class from afar,” writes Anita Leinert of Inside Line.

So, if you’ve always had your sights set on the G55, now’s your last chance to snatch one up. You might have to fight the auto press to get the last few models though. Auto journalists love the G-class for its wicked performance and downright impracticality. “It's the first thing I'll put in my dream garage,” writes Mike Magrath of Straightline. “It's completely unreasonable with a design and chassis from the '70s, doors that make a bank vault feel flimsy, a nearly 7-foot height, serious four-wheel drive, barely-over-single-digit fuel economy (11 / 15) and a supercharged 5.5-liter V8 making 500 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Oh, and it costs $124,450.”

These military-inspired bank vaults on wheels will probably grow in value rather than depreciate, since they’re already somewhat of a collector’s item. If you’ve been thinking about buying one, they might even cost less new than waiting a few years to buy them used, when supply is limited and the SUV’s status has grown even further.

But we know that most people don’t have a cool $124,000 lying around, just waiting to be invested in a no-holds-barred, boulder-crushing off-road machine, especially one that’s so tricked out from the factory it doesn’t even offer any options. Shoppers who’ve been yearning for a high-class luxobarge that can climb mountains and wade through streams can still find a vehicle to suit their requirements, although the class is rapidly shrinking. The Land Rover Range Rover matches legendary off-road performance with a luxurious interior, and starts at about $79,700, which is a bargain when you compare it to the G55. Although a Range Rover can be optioned to more than $132,000, most of the auto press agrees that the British off-roader still doesn’t have quite the cachet of the Mercedes-Benz G-class, especially the AMG-tuned G55.

If you can’t live without your very own piece of off-roading history, check out our used car listings before the model is discontinued. That way, you’ll be able to grab one up before the rest of the public realizes the G55 AMG is really gone forever. We found a listing for a 2005 G55 in Gadsden, Alabama, for $57,990 -- only about 47 percent of the current asking price for a new G55.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.