OBJECT OF DESIRE
The Mercedes-Benz G350d, the high-end 4x4 built like a tank on the outside and a private jet inside
In the rightly forgotten 1990 comedy Crazy People, the late Dudley Moore plays a dyspeptic advertising executive on the brink of a breakdown. Evidence for his fragile mental state is overwhelming: he wants his commercials to start telling the truth. Witness his proposal for a new slogan for a certain Swedish car company: “Volvo. They’re boxy, but they’re good!” (Later he’s carted off to a mental institution where he gets off with Daryl Hannah, a woman half his age and three times his height. Happy days!)
Volvos back then were boxy. And good. Had they not been both, the joke never would have landed. But Volvos have nothing on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class — not so much boxy as actually a box, on wheels.
And not so much good as gobsmackingly brilliant.
The G-Class is the German marque’s distinctive four-wheel-drive. It has been in service since 1979, and despite the transformative changes in car design which have occurred since, the G-Class has retained its unique looks and rebellious spirit: hard as nails on the outside, luxurious and refined on the inside.
Today, it is available in the UK in three versions: the G350d, a comparatively sensible family 4x4; the bonkers AMG G63, with its thrilling biturbo V8 and menacing styling; and, for really Crazy People, the AMG G63 Colour Edition, which comes in various vivid shades and will set you back a jolting £152,600.
Esquire recently had a few days in the least Dudley Moore-doolally of the three, the G350d. We loaded up with kids and pets and luggage and hit the road feeling like we were in a posh armoured vehicle. We didn’t want to give it back. The G-Class is exciting, a bit odd, and much cooler than one of those jellymould SUVs that everyone seems to want these days.