Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
  • Commanding driving position
  • Incredible visibility and sightlines
  • Mercedes-AMG G 63 is intoxicating

A choice of V6 diesel or V8 petrol power ensures the G-Class is effortlessly capable on- or off- road

A 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine means that, despite the vehicle’s high kerb weight, Mercedes-Benz G-Class performance is good.

The engine generates 213hp and 540Nm of pulling power, allowing the car to accelerate from 0-62mph in a relatively rapid 9.1 seconds. If you’re feeling brave, and you’ve enough room, the engine will push the G-Class up to 109mph.

Despite its 2,550Kg weight, the Mercedes-AMG G 63 reaches 62mph in 5.4 seconds

Power is transmitted to all four wheels via a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission that operates without intrusion and changes gear quickly. Gearshift paddles are fitted to the steering wheel, allowing you to over-ride the transmission if required.

Those who are looking for a G-Class that offers more performance should look to the Mercedes-AMG G 63 version.

Performance is, in a straight line, superb, as crammed between the chassis rails is a 5.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8. It outputs 540hp and 760Nm of pulling power, which catapults the G-Class from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds with a ferocious roar.

  • Agricultural chassis, tuned well
  • Seats and insulation excellent
  • Can be unsettled on poor tarmac

It’s dated, hard work and outclassed on-road by even cheap pick-ups; the G 63’s ludicrous performance is addictive though

Mercedes-Benz G-Class handling is best described as vague but endearing. There’s plenty of grip on offer but the steering is overly heavy, lacks precision and it doesn’t self-centre quickly enough. The G-Class turns in very slowly and the whole experience is akin to piloting a slightly wayward oil tanker, particularly if you’re driving around town.

This all might sound bad but, truth be told, the G-Class is still a satisfying car to drive. After all, it’s not designed as an off-roader with sporting pretensions. It's easy to position on the road thanks to its boxy shape and well-defined corners, particularly once you've got used to the rather ponderous steering.

It’s crude, but effective – live axles at both ends are well controlled and robust

If you do overstep the mark somewhat an electronic stability control system, powerful anti-lock brakes and an emergency brake assistance feature will help rein the Mercedes-Benz in.

At speed you will have to get used to continually feeding in small steering inputs to keep the G-Class in check, as it has a tendency to wander slightly after hitting bumps or ruts; this is amplified in the Mercedes-AMG G 63, with stiffer suspension and a slight increase in ground clearance.

Brute force on-road becomes agility off-road

Further bolstering the car’s impressive off-road ability is the Four-Wheel Electronic Traction System (4ETS), three fully locking differentials and the off-road "crawler" ratio. These features allow the G-Class to keep moving in rough conditions, even if only one wheel has traction. Unlike most competing 4x4s and SUVs, the G-Class relies on this mechanical and straightforward drive to all four wheels to keep moving, and electronics are an additional element, not a substitute.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class towing capacity: 3,500kg braked and 750kg unbraked

Buyers looking to tow trailers or horse boxes will also be pleased to find that the G-Class can tow a 750kg unbraked trailer, while the braked towing rating is a substantial 3,500kg.