While in some parts of the country spring may already have sprung, here on the Eastern Seaboard we're still months away from cherry blossoms and G&Ts. In some ways this is the toughest time of the year – we're worn down from a long winter, yet the snow keeps falling – and it requires some tough gear to get through it in style. A key comfort of course is a vehicle that can not only handle the elements but keep them firmly in their place, while keeping you warm, dry and wrapped in luxurious refinement. We've yet to experience anything that can turn the worst ice storm of the year into a minor inconvenience with as much impressive panache as the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. Not everyone loves its spartan exterior and sheer tonnage – just shutting the doors requires serious effort – but they're usually the same people who "swear by" their tin can minivans; we saw them stranded on the side of the road as we cruised by in the G550 on our most recent Geländewagen excursion.
Meticulously handcrafted inside and out at a special manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria, the military-derived G-Wagen is the progenitor of every Mercedes-Benz SUV on the road today. Essentially unchanged aside from certain key upgrades since it was first introduced over 30 years ago, it's done everything from winning the famous Paris-Dakar Rally to making sure the Pope gets to his appointments on time. With a starting sticker of $105,000 it's definitely something of an indulgence, but that helps maintain a certain exclusivity which is not without an appeal of its own. Only a few thousand models are sold here every year so you don't often see another one en route; while that means a certain amount of stares directed your way, unless you get one custom-painted bright red – it's only offered in an understated palette of black, grey, silver, white and dark green – those tend to be minimal as it's about as subtle as an SUV this size can get.
To help see out the season in style we have assembled a number of items which complement the G-Wagen's rugged good looks and provide essential assistance before, during and after the journey. For starters we selected a lightweight, trim-fitting down bomber jacket by Ralph Lauren Black Label (above left), made of supple goat suede with a leather throat latch and gunmetal hardware. The most stylish weather defender we've seen all season, it's the G-Wagen of outerwear. On the wrist we sported the new limited edition Breitling Transocean Chronograph (above right), a high-performance, shock-resistant, and damned good-looking watch on a mesh steel strap, while waxed canvas hunting boots from L.L. Bean Signature kept our feet warm and dry.
Gallery: G550 Style