I own a 2002 G500 and a 2005 CL55 (debadged.) I live in Northern New England.
I used to travel to Manhattan on business and I always took the G500. I like to drive in the center lane as a rule. I found that taxis and people would get out of my way, and it was much easier to see nonsense and traffic jams forming up ahead because one sits so high. People would also keep "hands off" when it was parked on the street. Safety first!
If I could only have one vehicle it would be a G. I know that the 2009 G55 has the same engine and transmission as my CL, but I think that the G550 has plenty of power and better gas mileage. It is also less likely to attract the kind of person who covets than the G55 (or any AMG), which has a kind of reputation urban-wise for better or worse.
If this is going to be your only vehicle and you live in Chicago I STRONGLY recommend you purchase a set of H-rated WINTER tires for it, preferably those with the snowflake symbol, at a minimum. All-season tires will not work as well, trust me. I use Yokohama AT-S (I think I saw Yoko HT-S on the 2009 G550 that a local dealer has - they are not the same tire but they are a good tire!) all year round since I do outdoor sports year-round; Bizzaks are also a good choice if you want absolutely the best performance on ice. All season or summer tires such as come stock on either G vehicle will be like hockey pucks in the Chicago winters. Of course, during the summer you can put the stock tires back on. You have to take off the Blizzaks for wear and compound issues during the summer. Oh, make sure that the production date of the ice symbol tire is as recent as possible. The compounds tend to age quickly and lose their grip.
Tirerack supplied me with the Yokos and I had them installed by an independent - often the MBUSA dealer will NOT install anything but a V-rated summer tire. Although winter tire specs are on the door handle, my dealer had no ice tire options to suggest to me. They drive the darn things in Germany during ice storms - what do our friends in Northern Europe use?
Several years ago my friend and I went to Boston after a terrible blizzard. There was a legal parking space in front of the restaurant we wanted to go to but had a mound of snow plowed into it. I drove the G up the pile, got the snow shovel out of the back and dug steps into the drift so the lady could descend gracefully. We left just as gracefully. I wish I had a picture!
Last edited by ivanj; 07-17-2009 at 12:21 AM.