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View all Mercedes-Benz G-Class reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6

Uncompromised ability, yet compromised to fulfill all roles

Mercedes-Benz G-Class (12-18) - rated 3.6 out of 5
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PROS

  • Off-road capability
  • Endearing character
  • Premium feel and quality build
  • Timeless and upmarket

CONS

  • Difficult to justify
  • Expensive to buy and run
  • True ability rarely needed
  • Outclassed on-road by rivals

PROS

  • Off-road capability
  • Endearing character
  • Premium feel and quality build
  • Timeless and upmarket

CONS

  • Difficult to justify
  • Expensive to buy and run
  • True ability rarely needed
  • Outclassed on-road by rivals

Mercedes-Benz G-Class rivals

Mercedes-Benz G-Class - large 4x4: Parkers - From uncompromised all-terrain origins, the G-Class has added luxury, performance  & refinement

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class has been in production for more than 40 years, during which time it has evolved from a utilitarian working vehicle to a globally recognised status symbol. Nevertheless, it has retained those core abilities and improved incrementally over the years.

Read about the all-new 2018 Mercedes G-Class here

Depending on your perspective, if off-road ability is important you could consider a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, a Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery or perhaps a Toyota Land Cruiser to be fair rivals. If luxury and performance are more valuable to you, then a Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga or Maserati Levante are probably more appealing alternatives.

2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 350 d 4x4

Either way, the G-Class is not a cheap car, and the underlying four-decade-old solid axle, indirect steering and off-road focused chassis can only be tweaked so far towards good handling and road manners. Mercedes-Benz has worked wonders during the evolution of this model, but it is now due for replacement – and faces the enviable position of being valued for the unchanging nature of it, rather than being obsolete.

G-Wagen: Powerful engines and capable transmission

Under the bonnet of the G-Class lies either a 213hp 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine that outputs an impressive maximum pulling power of 540Nm, or a Mercedes-AMG V8 petrol. Official figures say the diesel will average 25.2mpg, which reflects a hefty 2,570kg weight and permanent, mechanical 4x4 - so the engine of the G 350 d has to work hard to get moving.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class buyers in the UK can enjoy the rather aggressive 540hp Mercedes-AMG G 63 if they wish to avoid diesel. To cope with the twin-turbocharged V8 engine, further modifications are made to suspension and brakes allowing a top speed of 130mph (limited) and 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds. Drama is created by the distinctive quad exhaust pipes that exit below the rear passenger doors.

This aggressive, instantly recognised performance SUV has become a staple of gangster rap videos, an urban status symbol that is ludicrous yet, somehow, thoroughly acceptable in a way a Hummer or Lamborghini LM002 wasn’t. For that level of extrovert, the 4x4x2, 6x6 pick up and Mercedes-Maybach G 65 Landaulet provide, for an appropriate cost.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class: A utilitarian workhorse that became a symbol of quality and luxury

Despite its weight the G-Class performs well and its smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox helps to deliver a relaxing driving experience. From behind the wheel the G-Class feels imperious and, while it’s not as competent on the road as some of the alternatives like the Porsche Cayenne, it’s still a good car to drive.

Age has advantages, too, as good visibility through the flat windscreen, slim A-pillars and a close, compact dashboard is very different to the experience in a cossetting, protective modern SUV. Weaving the narrow-bodied G-Class through city streets and narrow tracks is far easier than the weight, cost and image as a big off-roader suggests.

An extensive standard equipment list

The G-Class is pricey but it comes with a long list of standard equipment. As well as features such as cruise control and climate control, it comes with premium kit such as an upmarket media system, sat-nav and an electrically adjustable steering wheel. Further boosting its abilities are myriad electronic assistance systems.

Buyers looking to personalise their G-Class won’t be disappointed either. Mercedes offers a wide range of options, including different interior and exterior trim finishes and multiple alloy wheel choices. Also available is a comprehensive array of advanced features, like radar-guided cruise control, and accessories like a towbar.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class rivals

Other Mercedes-Benz G-Class (2012 - 2018) models: