Mercedes G55 is built for off-roading

A 2012 model costs Shs350m but if you want the next generation of G63, it will cost you approximately Shs700m. PHOTO/ROLAND D. NASASIRA

What you need to know:

In the past 32 years, the G-Class has won countless awards, one of which has been consecutive “best off-roader of the year”. Powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine, it delivers 155kW (3400rpm) and 540Nm of torque (1600-2400rpm).

When you first see Derrick Mubiru’s black Gelandewagen (G55), locally known as the Cross Country, you will appreciate nothing but the boxy nature the sport utility vehicle (SUV) has maintained since the 1970s when it was developed. 

A Mercedes Aufrecht Melcher and Großaspach (AMG), the 2012 G55 model runs on a Mercedes Kompressor engine, the one similar to that of the saloon Mercedes Benz C200. The difference is that the one for the AMG G55 is bigger with 5500cc, more than double that of the C200. After the G55, the next SUV in line is the G63, which also runs on a 5500cc engine, but with a bi-turbo.

An automatic by transmission, Mubiru’s G55 has double side exhaust pipes and light emitting diode (LED) lights. However, the double exhaust pipes on either sides of the car do not have any impact on fuel consumption. The boxy nature of the interior seats blends well with the boxy design of the car.

The rear seats were uniquely and comfortably designed to accommodate passengers of any height without their knees touching the back of the driver and co-driver’s seat. 

“It comes with an all purely leather interior. The most important performance aspect about this car is its ability to handle rough terrain. It has three double differentials; the front, middle and the rear. It is not a full time four wheel drive (4WD) but the system can be engaged when needed.

The only downside is that it has some level of discomfort because it is a stiff car,” Mubiru explains.


One challenge about the AMG G55 or even the G63 is that they are expensive not only to buy but also to maintain. For example, because he drives it often to meet clients in different places in Kampala, Mubiru spends approximately Shs1m on fuel per week.

The cost of service and maintenance is not only determined by the movements made but also by the parts being replaced. On average, it costs approximately Shs1.2m to Shs2m. This includes changing engine oil, oil filters, spark plugs and automatic transmission fluid, among others. Mubiru services his car every four months, although sometimes it could even be less than three months, especially when he has covered 5,000kms, the recommended mileage for servicing. 

“The care you give to a car determines its durability. When you buy an AMG G55, in order for it to last longer without frequent garage visits, you have to use high octane fuel from trusted fuel stations and service the car on time. When it comes to repairs, you must take the car to a trusted dealer,” Mubiru says.

Service cost

Apart from the service basics such as automatic transmission fluid replacement, if there is a part to replace such as a component or two of the suspension system, the service cost rises. Like any other high performance car, some of the parts that are prone to wear and tear include brakes and some parts of the suspension since it is a fast car. A pair of rear brakes costs Shs800,000 and Shs1m for the front. The car also uses 10 litres of engine oil.

For the suspension system, it depends on the part to be replaced. If you are to replace most parts or overhaul the suspension system, the cost goes up to Shs10m. However, when well maintained and driven carefully, this is a car that rarely develops mechanical issues. 


Built with a maximum speed of 280kilometres per hour, the AMG G55 has a winch that can tow other cars stuck on the road. The dashboard is more engaging with a number of buttons that apply different features. One of the features that the G55 lacks that other modern day SUVs have is a touch smart screen. It uses an ordinary type that is manually operated.


The cost of the AMG G55 and G63 is determined by the year of manufacture. A 2012 model for instance, costs Shs350m but if you want the next generation of G63, it will cost you approximately Shs700m. The new generation costs Shs1.1b for the 2021, 2022 or 2023 models.


According to, there are two variants on sale in the Australian market; the G350 BlueTEC and the G55 AMG, and not surprisingly, they are totally different vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz G 350 BlueTEC is the one you would go for if you actually intend to do some serious off-roading. Powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine mated to a 7G –tronic automatic transmission, it delivers 155kW (3400rpm) and 540Nm of torque (1600-2400rpm).