Mercedes-Benz G350 CDI review

Chris Harris
22 Sep 2010
Verdict:

Mercedes G-Wagen off roader returns in right hand drive, prices start at £79k

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
£79,975
For 
Charm, strength, off-road brilliance
Against 
Cash, crudity

A right-hand-drive Geländerwagen hasn’t been available in the UK since 2004, but come October it’ll be back. Sales will be through Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands and the prices will reflect the largely hand-built nature of the beast: £79,975 for this ‘entry level’ G350 CDI.

In terms of NVH, outright performance and handling, a Range Rover TDV8 makes it feel like something from the Cretaceous period, but we already knew that, because the G-Wagen is very, very old. Then again, the 2987cc V6 turbodiesel motor is brand new, giving 221bhp and 399lb ft of torque. Mercedes claims 9.1sec for the 0-62mph sprint, which is perfectly adequate, and 109mph for the top speed, which is probably a little conservative, as I’ll explain in a minute.

Do not, under any circumstances, reject this thing as a cruel joke. For sheer rugged, hand-built charm, there isn’t anything in the SUV marketplace to match it. When North Korea sparks WWIII and the cockroaches finally die, all that will be left are G-Wagens. The doors clunk like a bank vault’s. Trim and build quality are exceptional, and full of pleasant idiosyncrasy too: this is a patchwork quilt of Mercedes bits from the past decade (I think the clocks are B-class), but it blends very well.

You sit a foot higher than in any other SUV, with those light repeaters marking the extremities of the bonnet. The steering is slow, the ladder chassis predictably a little cumbersome, but it grips well enough. Aerodynamics cause it problems at a high-speed cruise: fuel consumption falls drastically at 100mph.

The cabin is vast, as is the boot. All three differentials lock electronically, making it a known genius off-road, and in terms of charm I can’t think of anything truck-like I’d rather spend time in. Speaking of which, in three days I covered 2100 miles in this LHD version. It hit an indicated 121mph, but it also averaged 18mpg. Money no object, I’d love one.

Specifications

Engine V6, 2987cc, turbodiesel
Max power 221bhp @ 3800rpm
Max torque 399lb ft @ 1600rpm
0-60 9.1sec (claimed)
Top speed 109mph (claimed)

Read more about:

Experience the thrill of driving every month with evo magazine, devoted exclusively to the greatest performance cars in the world. If you're passionate about performance cars then evo is your ultimate monthly read.