Rich pickings for Mercedes’ rugged performer
ONCE upon a time, the Mercedes G-Class was mostly about superior all-terrain performance.
Through successive generations, the boxy 4x4 has maintained its extreme off-road ability while, like the Range Rover, getting classier fittings – and higher prices.
From 1979 to the mid 1990s, it was known as the G-Wagen – as in Geländewagen – German for a cross-country vehicle. They are actually made in Austria for MercedesBenz and have been popular in a military role across the world. The Civvie Street models these days tend to be more glam than gloop and when the facelifted 2013 model goes on sale in March the cheapest will cost a staggering £82,945.
That brings a 208bhp 3-litre V6 petrol engine rated at 25mpg and 295g/km of CO2. The other choice is the G 63 AMG at £123,115. The hand built, bi-turbo 5.5-litre V8 AMG engine delivers 536bhp and 560 lb ft of torque.
It is more powerful than the outgoing G 55 AMG but CO2 is reduced by 13 per cent to 322 g/km and combined fuel consumption improved by 15 per cent to 20.5 mpg. Each version has permanent allwheel drive, fully engage-able differential locks, four wheel electronic traction control and a set of low-range gears for those über- slippery moments in the mud or snow.
ALL-TERRAIN: The new Mercedes G-Class.