Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Essentials

  • Price from £82,945
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 25.2mpg
  • What is it? Luxury army-style 4x4 that's best used as a true off-roader

Great

  • The G-Class has awesome off-road ability and loads of street cred
  • It's luxuriously equipped and you can personalise it to your heart's content
  • Both engines make light of its enormous weight

Gripes

  • It's not that easy to drive, manoeuvre or park
  • It costs a bomb to buy and to run
  • The rear tailgate is heavy and swings out rather than up so it needs lot of room
  • Drive

    Powerful but too much like hard work to drive round town

  • Inside

    Luxuriously appointed interior but a little bland

  • Safety

    A host of sophisticated safety features plus eight airbags

  • Reliability

    Feels solid and has a decent enough record

  • Space

    Plenty of space for occupants but the boot's nothing special

  • Standard and extras

    No more than you'd expect for upwards of 80,000

  • What's it like to drive?

    Despite the price tag this is still an old-school 4x4, so it feels a bit like a truck to drive on-road. The steering is weighty, it leans heavily round corners and the ride is bouncy. None of this helps with manoeuvring this 2.5-tonne vehicle round urban streets. It's noisy in every way too. However, the G-Class goes a lot faster than most trucks, thanks to a choice of a strong 3.0-litre diesel or a bonkers 5.5-litre V8 petrol which pull it along quickly and haul it easily over rough terrain. It's off the Tarmac that the G-Class is at its best. While it doesn't have any electronic trickery like Land Rover's Terrain Response, it's still capable of crossing ground that sherpas would find hard-going.

  • What's it like inside?

    The dashboard is reminiscent of any posh Mercedes so it's easy to use, if a little bland here. Where it differs is that the gearlever is mounted on the centre console and there's a traditional handbrake. There's plenty of electronic adjustment to the seat and steering wheel, though the small windows don't give the greatest view out. There's plenty of room for five occupants but the boot is nothing special for the class  in fact it's smaller than a Range Rover's, and the heavy rear door swings out rather than having a useful split tailgate. You can vary the car's ride height, which can help passenger access.

    The G-Class comes with plenty of equipment as standard  including heated leather seats, a Harman and Kardon stereo and Mercedes' Comand infotainment system with its seven-inch colour display and internet connectivity  but this is no more than you would expect for upwards of 80,000.

  • How reliable is it?

    As befits a high-end Mercedes, the cabin is made from high-quality materials that seem well screwed together. It comes with eight airbags and a host of modern safety systems as standard (more are on offer as options) including a sophisticated traction control system and a Brake Assist programme. An alarm and tow-away protection system are standard too. While the company didn't do as well as Audi and BMW in What Car?'s last reliability survey, the G-class hasn't changed much in 30 years and should prove reliable.

  • Should I buy one?

    The G-Class is eye-wateringly expensive to buy and discounts are hard to come by; running costs are similarly steep. The diesel averages 25.2mpg and emits 295g/km of CO2, while the G63 struggles to average 20mpg and emits 322g/km. At least the G-Class should hold onto its value well.