Thinking the Unthinkable... or, is it the Inevitable?

One Car to carry them all, One Payment to give Them,
One Car to serve them all and on the journey take them.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL550

I didn't think it would happen. I thought it would be the one that would last. I thought my 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI would be my keeper--the perfect sports sedan to keep and enjoy for years and years. But I'm having doubts and it looks like my history of not keeping any vehicle for more than 5 years may be repeating....

Pictured above is the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL550. It has the same 5.5L V-8 engine with 382 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque that's available on the S-Class ├╝ber-sedan and rides on 21" AMG alloy wheels with an available off-road package that includes center and rear locking differentials and a 2-speed transfer case.

Luxury with on-road handling and off-road performance above other large, 7-passenger SUVs in its class: Could it be "The One" for us?


  1. Wow. What is it about the STI you're reconsidering? Is it that you want to have more performance while still driving the family around?

  2. In January we got enough snow overnight to cause a snow day (the last one was 12 years ago). I had no problems navigating the streets in the STI but I had a hard time getting out there in the first place because the plows had piled up snow on the sides and blocked us off. Also, with the STI now being lowered, I realized that I have to be more careful about how deep the snow is where I drive.

    Earlier that week, we needed to use the Ody to shuttle the kids around. Unfortunately, the snow plows hadn't cleared the roads and Ody had trouble navigating some streets even with winter tires. I guess with us living on a mountain, a lot of the streets are difficult to drive on in the snow without 4x4.

    I hate feeling trapped. The GL550 offers off-road capability, luxury, and performance without handling too much like a truck. I thought that maybe one vehicle that can handle all conditions would be better than having two vehicles that can handle only some.

    That being said, I've been driving the STI to work this week and I'm starting to fall in love with it again. It's so fun to drive especially when you push it!

  3. I am wondering, what percentage of tax do you have to pay on new cars in the USA or Canada?

    Here in the Neterlands we have a crazy system: you pay 19% 'BTW' (=VAT) on the price of the car. On top of that you pay a percentage (depending on some factors) of BPM (another tax), for a GL550 I would have to pay €34.500 (=$50.550)on BPM. So basically, we are paying tax on the tax we pay :S

    This is shocking.... The GL550 is sold for $78.500 MSRP in the USA, coverted to Euro's it would cost €53.400. However, in the Netherlands the GL550 is sold for €85.270 (=before-tax-price), wich is equivalent to $125.000. So your "before-tax-price" is almost $50.000 lower :S
    All in all, wen I want to buy a GL550 in the Netherlands, I have to carry €136.000 to the dealership, which is equivalent to $199.200 :S

    As you probably can imagine, I am seriously considering to emigrate to Canada right now ;)

  4. Wow, I thought it was bad in Canada, but that price in the Netherlands is incredible!

    In Canada, there's a sales tax of 13% plus in BC there's an extra luxury tax for vehicles over a certain price. With the Canadian dollar close to the same level as the US dollar, people are starting to notice how much cheaper things are in the US. In the US, the GL550 is $78,000 but in Canada the price is $91,000!

    Many people are now buying cars in the US and importing it to Canada. I may do the same thing. There are even businesses that will do it for you. Right now, the trade-in value of the STI and Odyssey are fairly high because both are new. That would help a lot with the price of the new vehicle because you only pay tax on the value minus trade-in.

    I also think that if I feel "the need for speed," I still have my Burgman (or I can always get another motorcycle).

  5. I know what I would do... I would want that Merc on my driveway ASAP! Despite my fondness for Subarus...
    Mercedes is back at the level of quality and style they had somewhat 20 years ago, and I think their cars are among the best engineered right now. They can compare theirselves to much more expensive brands like Ferrari and Aston Martin when considering quality of finish.

    I drive a refrigirated Mercedes Sprinter Van (in North-America it is marketed as a Freightliner Sprinter every saturday during my work as a courier for a wholesale bussines in vegetables, and even that is superbly engineered. These vans are faced with a lot of abuse, varying from hitting curbs now and then to being loaded to the absolute maximum. Some of the vans have driven in excess of 300k kms and still keep on going without problems...

    I think this is representative for the way Mercedes builds his cars. Sure, they are expensive, but you still get a lot of value for money!

  6. I know how you feel about not wanting to be trapped, but at the same time, I love the idea of getting by with a car that's unlikely to be anyone's first choice given the weather conditions. Hence the Mazda MX5 I drove last winter. A good set of tires, and the amusement of steering the car on its throttle at less than 15 mph.

    I drive a 2002 WRX Wagon now, which is why I'm commenting. I wanted a second car for the rough stuff, so I bought my friend's 1988 Subaru GL Wagon, which is lifted 4'' and is about to be fitted with a snorkel for days when the roads flood (common on the Gulf Coast, where I live). A lot of people have been lifting other Subarus as well, like Foresters and even Outbacks. The thing that's fun about this is that you keep the reliability that comes with owning a Subaru, it's considerably inexpensive to do, and even after seeing a 4'' lift and different tires, they still drive like Subarus. Loads of fun.

    Anyway, I enjoy your blog. Keep it up. Cheers.


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