Here is my analysis of the G platform...coming from a new G owner:
I just purchased my first G-Wagen approximately 3 months ago. It is important to note, I purchased a 1990 300GD which is a very different beast when compared to the US G-Wagens which are equipped with luxury interiors and a powerful V8 engine. The 1990 300GD is the simpleton cousin of the G500 or G550. It has a modestly powered (rather anemic in fact) 6cyl diesel engine. The interior is basic, with only a few luxury items such as power windows and a moon roof. Where others are comparing US spec G's to FZJ80's and UZJ100's, a more appropriate comparison to the 300GD would be an HZJ80 or even an HJ60.
This is my first non Toyota vehicle that I've owned since 1999. I have a serious passion for most things Toyota, especially the Land Cruiser. In my years I have owned 2 FJ60's, 1 FJ40 (recently sold), a UZJ100, and 2 Tacomas. Currently my wife drives a 200 series Land Cruiser, and I still own a 1987 HJ75 Land Cruiser with a camper conversion top. Needless to say, I have a lot of seat time in various Land cruiser Models and fully admire all things Land Cruiser.
I agree with much of what has been said thus far in this thread. In a nut shell, the Land Cruiser is dead nuts reliable, while the G-Wagen is more refined.
I think its unarguable that the G-Wagen is a more expensive platform to purchase, modify and maintain. I have had a few sticker shock moments purchasing parts for my G in the past month. However, just like with Land Cruisers, there are aftermarket and online vendors selling parts at a discounted rate making purchasing parts a bit more palatable. The ride quality and interior noise level is almost incomparable between the two platforms. I would say the road noise in my 25yr old G-Wagon is the same as in my wife's 2014 200 series Land Cruiser! The G's road manners are admirable as well. I've yet to do more than explore some Class IV roads in Vermont, so I can't talk much to the G's off-road performance. One thing that very much surprised me was the interior cargo space the G has. As a pro-photographer, I carry a ton of gear (especially on commercial jobs requiring lighting rigs) and was a bit nervous the G would carry all my equipment. With the addition of a Front Runner Roof Rack, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much gear the G can carry. I will say however, a suspension upgrade is in my future as I'm definitely maxing out the payload of the stock springs.
Another very important observation to note; the G-Wagen is a more precise machine than a Land Cruiser. Because of this, when items are worn or out of tolerance, the results are magnified significantly. For example, I've been fighting a drive-line vibration after replacing t-case mounts. I've discovered that with the G's driveline, if anything is out of tolerance you will immediately feel vibrations, shakes, ect. Along those same lines, when working on the G-Wagen it is very important to follow the Mercedes specified process for repairs. I've been bitten a few times working on my G and just "winging" it like I've always done with my Land Cruisers!
Overall I have been utterly enjoying my G-Wagen and absolutely love driving it daily. With that said, my HJ75 Troopy will continue to be my long distance travel vehicle of choice.
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