The G-Wagen is an imposing vehicle whichever way you view it, its reputation is legendary, but then so is the price. This particular G350 TEC BlueTec costs £83,830, then there’s the £22,320 worth of extras bringing the total up to an eye watering £106,150.
For the 2013 model year, the G-Class underwent some significant changes, of course mainly on the inside. The dashboard was been redesigned, Mercedes have added their iDrive Command controller, a console mounted 7” tablet styled screen, a new instrument cluster, and centre console amongst many.
Before driving, I was trying so hard not to compare it to a Land Rover Defender 110, but with similar underpinnings it was quite difficult not to. Both have live axles and coil springs, both are long wheel bases, both have a strong separate chassis and both have a long history with the military, but that’s where it ends.
Being used to rugged 4x4s, I felt straight at home stepping up into the G350, but again, that’s where it ended. It’s like easing yourself into an S Class, where you’re met with the finest leather upholstery and hi-tech gadgets. I smiled as I sat in front of the leather and wood steering wheel, it gave a real sense of occasion whilst still having the character of a 36 year old design.
Familiarisng myself with all the buttons and switches I set off on the 20 minutes route around Brooklands that I’d found. The 3ltr turbo diesel V6 coupled to the 7 speed auto box was a joy, and quite sprightly too, the steering was reassuringly heavy, albeit a tad vague at times, but I forgave it straight away as it’s a proper off roader, and I’m confident when off road, it’ll come into its own. It is what it is, no matter how much technology you throw its way.
Overall, behind the wheel a G350 is a lovely place to be, though if I’m being picky, the console mounted tablet styled screen appears to be like an afterthought, and rear vision is blocked by rear head restraints, but then that’s the same in most cars.
Overall the Mercedes engineers have done a fabulous job in bringing the G-Class into modern times, and with 3 years unlimited mileage warranty and up 30 years corrosion and pan-European roadside cover, Mercedes are fairly confident about their build quality!
Going off it’s pricing, it’s going head to head with a Range Rover, and although I would choose the latter, as an enthusiast I would have to admit that the G-Class would be better suited to the UK’s ever decreasing number of ‘green lanes’.
I know I shouldn’t really compare it to a Defender, but I’ll say the same thing about the G350 that I do the Land Rover, you don’t buy a G-Class because you want a 4×4, you buy a G-Class because you want a G-Class.
Handing back the keys I was still bemused at the price tag, but as a 4×4 enthusiast, I felt a little bit richer for the experience. Shame I didn’t get it muddy, maybe next time!