Parkers overall rating: 3.7 out of 5 3.7

Performance: 4.2 out of 5.0

  • One petrol and one diesel
  • Both powerful but heavy
  • Diesel more than punchy enough

Given that the G-Class is not the kind of car that enjoys being hustled along, we'd say the G400d is all the engine you really need. It has loads of low-down shove so you don't have to work it very hard to make good progress. If you do need to gain speed quickly, it'll crack 0-62mph in a respectable 6.4sec. If you'd expect 330hp to produce quicker acceleration figures, remember the G-Class weighs around 2.5 tonnes.

As the G400d is easily punchy enough for hammering up to motorway speeds on short sliproads or blasting past slower moving traffic, we'd say the far more powerful (and expensive) 585hp G63 is overkill. Yes, something this big and heavy sprinting from 0-62mph in just 4.5sec is fun a few times, but it feels a bit much for the chassis should you want to use it in bends. Both engines have automatic gearboxes that kick down a gear or two readily enough, although in most cases the engine's low-down pull is enough to provide the uplift in pace you desire.

Comfort: 3.7 out of 5.0

  • Softly sprung, but rivals comfier
  • Small wheels=best ride
  • Plenty of wind noise

In line with the huge strides made in the rest of the G-Class package, refinement and comfort are noticeably improved on this second generation model. Where the last G-Class would bounce and pogo down a road, this one flows with much greater poise.

This is mostly down to the mechanical improvements: the new suspension is much more biased towards on-road comfort than the off-road set-up of earlier models. Bumps and lumps in the tarmac are smothered well, although undulating country roads do generate a bit of side-to-side movement. It's more of a lumbering, old-school feel than more conventional rivals such as the BMW X7 and Range Rover which you'll either find endearing or annoying. Unsurprisingly, the sportier G63 is a fair bit firmer, but no bone-shaker.

We've no complaints regarding the refinement of the G400d, it's a smooth engine that transmits few vibrations through the controls, sounds pleasant when pushed and is virtually inaudible at a cruise. That's partially because the boxy body generates lots of wind noise while there's a bit of road roar from the fat tyres. It's a similar story with the G63, although you're far more aware of the V8 working away. Still, you probably want to hear that glorious rumble if you've bought one.

Handling: 3.8 out of 5.0

  • Much improved compared to predecessor
  • Good on road, some rivals better
  • Astoundingly good off-road

Front suspension that's far more car-like than the first G-Class has greatly improved its on-road manners. The steering has far greater accuracy, making it more pleasant to guide through bends and requiring far fewer corrections to keep it in lane on the motorway.

The wide tyres generate reasonable grip, but this is still a big heavy SUV that doesn't appreciate being hustled. You'll find plenty of body roll and stability control that cuts in earlier than you might imagine. A Range Rover or BMW X7 feels more at home being driven briskly, while an Audi Q7 would run rings around even the stiffer G63.

Of course, that's not the point of the G-Class. While it's merely adequate on-road, it's truly impressive off it. There's lots of suspension travel to help keep all four wheels on the ground over really bumpy terrain, and three differential locks (centre, rear and front) to keep you moving even if you've got a wheel or three spinning.

Even on road biased tyres, it romps up ascents that would leave a Range Rover or Defender sweating. There's very good ground clearance, impressive wading ability plus approach and departure angles that should mean you won't be scraping bumpers ascending or descending steep slopes.