After a decade’s absence Mercedes has decided to start selling its G-class off-roader in the UK once again. Budget buyers need not apply…
The Mercedes-Benz G-class is a kind of posh Land Rover Defender. Originally conceived as a military vehicle it offers extraordinarily solid build quality and exceptional off-roading ability. It’s even won the Paris-Dakar rally – in 1983.
After celebrating its 30th anniversary last year, the G-class returns to the UK in right-hand-drive form after a 10-year absence – and you’ll be hard pressed to spot any major visual changes.
Hand-built in small numbers, the G-class is Mercedes’ longest-lived passenger production vehicle. The demand amongst wealthy customers looking for a more exclusive luxury SUV clearly remains high in spite of the inevitable age-related compromises in construction techniques, efficiency and aerodynamics.
Just three variants will be made available to UK buyers when the G-Wagen (as it’s known in Germany) returns this autumn.
From turbodiesel V6 to supercharged petrol V8
Entry-level is the commercial G300 CDI V6 turbodiesel variant, designed to carry workers and equipment to inhospitable areas.
This is joined by two luxury passenger versions, the G350 CDI V6 turbodiesel, and the G55 AMG fitted with a supercharged high-performance V8.
The G55 has 493bhp, and can propel the brick-like G-class from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds. However, even the G350 CDI, with its mere 218bhp, can only manage 25.7mpg. This is a car for neither the feint of heart nor the slight of wallet.
Underlining this point, the commercial G300 CDI starts at £57,975. the G350 CDI costs from £79,975 and the G55 AMG demands an incredible £114,975.
Full-time four-wheel drive and luxury kit
The ‘G’ features a comprehensively effective four-wheel-drive system with stability control, 100% locking differentials, high- and low-ratio gearing – all ensuring serious off-road performance.
In addition to this, the passenger versions include automatic climate control, automatic gearbox, bi-xenon headlamps, heated seats, extensive leather upholstery, rear parking sensors and a Harman Kardon stereo.
The Mercedes G-class is undoubtedly something of a motoring anachronism. But the customer demand is apparently there…
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