THE Mercedes G-Wagen – as it was called for so many years – was originally the company’s answer to the Land Rover Defender, built for uncompromising off-road use.
And thanks to front, rear and centre differential locks they could keep going even in the very toughest of terrain.
The latest G350 CDI Bluetec is a very up-market version of the same thing, which still has all the differential locks and low ratio gears of a ‘proper’ off-roader.
But now it has been given almost every conceivable extra as standard to try and make it appeal to a wider range of owners.
The car was fitted with leather, automatic seven speed gearbox and smooth and powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel.
Performance in a straight line is excellent and the engine is smooth and quiet, but the road manners simply don’t compare to today’s best 4x4s and I could not live with one.
The steering, road-holding and handling do not instil confidence.
Leather upholstery and electric everything might attract buyers who want something big and tough to tow the horsebox, but few people could live with it for everyday use.
There is lots of interior space for five and a very large boot, but rearward vision is compromised by big rear headrests, wind noise is noticeable at speed and costs will be very high.
Mechanical: 208bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox
Max speed: 109mph
0-62mph: 9 seconds
Combined mpg: 25
Insurance group: 48
CO2 emissions: 295g/km
BIK rating: 35%
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles
Main rival: Land Rove Defender