Mercedes G350 CDI Review | Autocar

26 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mercedes G350 CDI Review | Autocar
Mercedes G 350

Mercedes G350 CDI

What is it?

A thirty-year-old offroading icon given a new lease of life. Mercedes Benz World has recently begun importing updated examples of Steyr-Puch’s classic Gelaendewagen 4×4 into the UK.

Available in right-hand drive and with a choice of diesel engines for the first time, you can put one of these handbuilt 4x4s on your driveway for a mere £80k. But assuming you’re not a UN peace-keeper or professional mountaineer, the question isn’t so much “would you be to mad to buy one” but “exactly how mad would you need to be?” A little bit nerve-frayed, or a stark raving lottery-winner? Our test example, a 3.0-litre turbodiesel, gave us a good idea.

What’s it like?

Mercedes should be applauded for the thoroughness of its update to the G-class: this oil-burner gets MB’s seven-speed auto ‘box, electro-hydraulic power steering even, and returns an acceptable 25mpg. You get a full COMAND nav system as standard as well as heated leather, ISOFIX child seat anchorages even, while rear DVD screens, a heated steering wheel and a TV tuner are on the options list.

And yet the G-class’ driving experience remains determinedly, irredeemably old tech. Optional 18in alloy wheels with 60-profile winter tyres combine with the G-class’ rough and ready “railing link and panhard rod” suspension for an alarmingly choppy ride on typical urban roads. Performance is as plentiful as you’d ever want given the G-class’ approximate body control and lack of steering precision.

But this is a car you’d only ever drive slowly, particularly over larger bumps and dips, for fear of being thrown out of your seat. And regrettably, Mercedes’ electro-hydraulic power steering doesn’t seem to be powerful enough for the G-class: the car’s helm is now seriously heavy and slow to self centre.

None of which would matter much if you were buying the G350 for its considerable offroad credentials. This car will forge 600mm of standing water – more than a Land Rover Defender – and has approach and departure angles to humble a Toyota Land Cruiser. There are three separate differential locks too for peerless traction in slippery conditions, and a low-range transfer case for the seven-speed ‘box.

Add to all that the incredible reputation that the G-class has in 4×4 circles for unstoppable reliability and robustness, and if you regularly venture off the beaten track, you might just forgive the car its ‘characterful’ on-road ride and handling.

Mercedes G 350

Should I buy one?

Whatever you do, don’t buy the G350 Bluetec because you think it’s a luxury SUV; certain commercial vehicles are significantly more refined and comfortable. While a Range Rover is just about the most comfortable road car you can buy, this tester would rate a G-class as just about the least comfortable.

As a true go-anywhere offroader – now with added creature comforts – the G350 has a place for those who can afford the premium. It’s certainly got character to burn and provides a real sense of occasion. But as an everyday road car, it’s both antiquated and compromised.

Mercedes G350 Bluetec LWB

Price: £81,715; Top speed: 108mph; 0-62mph: 9.1sec; Economy: 25.2mpg; Co2: 295g/km; Kerbweight: 2575kg; Engine type, cc: V6, 2987cc, turbodiesel; Power: 208bhp at 3400rpm; Torque: 398lb ft at 1600 to 2400rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd auto

Mercedes G 350
Mercedes G 350
Mercedes G 350
Mercedes G 350
Mercedes G 350
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