Mercedes-Benz G-Class 2020 Review

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz G Class in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£99,995
Average price
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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Off-roading image
  • Spacious, practical interior
  • Improved on-road manners

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Expensive to run
  • Rivals are better all-rounders
  • MPG

    21 - 21

  • CO2

    299 - 299 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model Review

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the old guards of the off-roading class, having been around for more than 40 years. It was originally called the G-Wagen – Gelandewagen, which translates as terrain vehicle in German – and is now one of the longest produced models in the brand’s history. 

It started life as a military vehicle in the early 1970s but Mercedes saw an opportunity to make a civilian version and in 1979 the W460 G-Wagen was born. It was available in three different body styles – a two door convertible, a three-door wagon or a five-door wagon. 

Production ran for just over 10 years before the second generation was launched, and while it was still heavily focused on its off-road ability it had started to gather something of a cult following. So, Mercedes gave it a more upmarket feel, with high-quality cabin materials, leather seats, cruise control and burl wood trim. 

Since then the G-Class’ popularity has gone from strength to strength, proving popular with A-list celebrities, footballers and even the Pope, with the latest 2018 model gaining from even more luxuries than ever before. The latest version keeps the rather slab-sided looks we’ve come to associate with the G-Class, but overall it’s grown in size and is every bit a premium SUV.  

 

Latest Model

Creating an all-new version of the G-Class falls into the category of ‘re-inventing an icon,’ much like the Mini, Land Rover Defender, VW Beetle and Fiat 500. However, from the second you first see it you can tell it’s a G-Class

There are just two engines available, one diesel and one petrol. Needless to say, if running costs are any consideration then the G 350d AMG Line will be the one to go for as the Mercedes-AMG G63 will have you making regular fuel stops. 

Value for money

When you’re spending nearly £100,000 on an SUV, you would expect high levels of comfort and luxury. It’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed with the G-Class.

All models come fully loaded with the standard diesel model coming with 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry, mood lighting, and climate control. It also gets two 12.3-inch display screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. 

Opt for the powerful AMG model – with costs £146,490 – and it includes a sports exhaust system, exterior styling package and upgraded sound system.  

Don’t think you can save by looking for a nearly-new example, either, as the huge desirability of the G-Class means values remain strong, even on older cars.

Video review

Looks and image

Looks-wise the latest G-Class isn’t too much of a departure from its predecessor. It retains the same iconic shape with round headlamps, exposed door hinges, bonnet side lights and a spare wheel on the back. It also has double-exhaust pipes poking out of the side of the car rather than the back, and the LED headlights and taillights give it a more modern edge. 

The most noticeable difference though is in the cabin which has a much more upmarket and high-tech feel. There’s no question the last version of the G was starting to show its age, and this latest model is a big step forward – coming with a pair of 12.3-inch digital displays.

The first is in front of the driver where the dials would normally be and the other positioned in the middle of the dash shows everything from satellite navigation through to DAB radio, in-car settings and phone connectivity. The system isn’t totally new though, we’ve already seen it in the E-Class and S-Class, so it is tried and tested and works beautifully in the G.

If you decide to opt for the petrol-powered Mercedes-AMG G 63, then prepare to turn heads. The larger alloy-wheels and more aggressive styling will make a lot of celeb spotters wonder who’s behind the wheel.

Space and practicalit

The G-Class was always a big car, but this latest one is even larger, which is good news if cabin space is important. It’s not the biggest in the Mercedes range – that’s reserved for the seven-seat GLS – but there’s more than enough room for five to sit in comfort. 

The G-Class sits pretty high up, meaning some older people might struggle to climb in, but it is made a tad easier with grab handles and a side-step to stand on. 

The boot is a good size too, but not class leading. With the rear seats in place it offers 667 litres of space, expanding to 1,246 litres with the 60/40 split folded seats down. As with older G-Class models, the boot opening is side hinged, which makes it heavy and a pain to open if someone’s parked too close behind you. 

Engines

There are two engines to choose from, one petrol and one diesel. The former is a Mercedes-AMG-tuned 4.0-litre V8 which offers 585bhp and performance figures that would shame many sports cars. It will do the 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and upgraded brakes mean it will stop much quicker than you’d expect for a 4x4 weighing in at over two-tonnes. 

Needless to say, running costs will be high, so if this is a consideration then the 282bhp 3.0-litre straight six diesel – badged G 350d – might be a better option. It’s not as quick as the petrol, unsurprisingly, but it will do the 0-60mph dash in 7.4 seconds and certainly still feels punchy enough.

Running costs

If running costs are a consideration, then we’d recommend starting to look elsewhere. The G-Class isn’t cheap to buy or run. Even the more frugal diesel will return just 26mpg and with sky high emissions of 288g/km of CO2. To tax it in the first year of registration will cost you more than £2,000, too.

If you go for the petrol, then you’ll average just 19mpg and ridiculous emissions of 343g/km of CO2. Remember these are the official combined fuel economy figures, based on optimal driving conditions, so it might be even worse in real-world conditions.

Things to look out for

The G-Class is still relatively new so time will tell just how reliable it will prove, however much of the technology used is tried and trusted so that should prove to be a positive. If you’re looking at older models though, then it was subject to a recall in 2017 for an issue with the steering column. If it’s fitted with a tow bar, also check for any salt damage that might have been caused by launching boats into the water. As all G-Class models are expensive, it’s worth having any vehicle mechanically inspected before buying to hopefully avoid any expensive bills.

Rivals

The most obvious competitor for the G-Class is the Land Rover Defender. Both started life as rugged, utilitarian off-roaders, and have roots as military vehicles. Both are also seriously capable off-roaders, but have ditched their basic mechanical off-roading routes to offer a more luxurious, on-road driver experience. If you’re looking at this type of car then the only other real consideration comes from across the pond, with the Jeep Wrangler.  

If you’re not so fussed about actual off-road ability, and just want an imposing luxury SUV, have a look at the Audi Q8, BMW X6 or Porsche Cayenne.

Depreciation

If you’re happy to spend over £100,000 on an off-roader that returns around 19mpg, then there’s a strong chance depreciation isn’t going to be a major concern. Normally, those sorts of figures would mean it would lose a huge amount of value straight from the off, but because the G-Class is such an iconic offering, it holds its value exceptionally well.

Which G Class to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

G400d Edition 5dr 9G-Tronic

Most MPG

G63 5dr 9G-Tronic

Fastest model (0-60)

G63 5dr 9G-Tronic

Trims explained

Three trim levels are available on the G-Class – AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and the proper AMG. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

AMG Line

The AMG line is the only option available with the 3.0-litre diesel, but it does come well equipped, including 20-inch alloys, LED headlamps and tail lamps and two 12.3-inch infotainment screens which have satellite-navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with keyless go, heated front and rear seats, a leather interior and three-zone climate control.

From £96,220

AMG Line Premium

Upgrade to the ‘Premium’ model to get a Burmester sound system, an electric sunroof, adaptive suspension, multibeam LED headlights, 64-colour ambient lighting and a 360-degree parking camera.

From £102,215

AMG

Needless to say the AMG model comes fully-equipped, including a sports exhaust system, red brake callipers, additional chrome trim and exterior styling package. It also has an AMG instrument cluster and leather upholstery in a choice of eight colours.

From £146,490

Summary

  1. Excellent build quality
  2. Good cabin space
  3. Strong performance on AMG model
  4. Upmarket interior
  5. Iconic image
  6. Limited engine choice
  7. Good driving position
  8. Expensive to buy
  9. Sporty looks on AMG model
  10. Expensive running costs

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