With prices starting out from over £143,000, the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon hardly seems like a sensible choice. But if you want to make a statement with a massive, luxurious, powerful and rapid SUV, it will certainly help you turn a few heads.
It’s not only a Mercedes like no other Mercedes, it’s also a car like no other car. Once a rugged workhorse back in the eighties, it’s now a trendy status symbol driven by the rich and the famous.
Well, the rich and famous who don’t mind getting muddy, that is.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon review.
Mercedes-Benz made the first ever car to be driven on the road and they’ve come a long way in terms of design since that moment. Read more about the historic marque in our brief history of Mercedes-Benz.
Overview of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon
On the Road
It’s hard to put into words how powerful this machine is. However, it’s also a bit of a colossus that weighs a lot. Despite its considerable bulk, it’s actually quite agile, while its steering is surprisingly responsive.
Indeed, Mercedes have managed to trim some weight off its back, and they’ve also redesigned its chassis. This has the effect of improving the way it can take corners, and it’s also easier for you to keep it under control.
The steering, while still disconnected and inert, is better than last time.
Body lean is better kept in check than few would have imagined, and this is a testament to Mercedes’ team of engineers. However, you can’t rely on communication from the steering to help you through bends, but instead just have to go off your view of the road ahead.
In terms of its engines, there’s just the one available. This is a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol unit that develops 577bhp. It can haul you from rest to 62mph in 4.5 seconds, and bellows as ferociously as a raging bull. The side-exit exhausts contribute to the sonic drama, too, with the result being that the car sounds more like an animal than a car at times. It’s also Mercedes’ loudest model.
The engine is paired up with a 9-speed automatic transmission as standard, and this itself is a pristine piece of engineering. And if you want to take the G-Class off-road, you can do. While its massive tyres are built more for tarmac, its increased ground clearance allows it to tackle harsher terrain with ease.
Mercedes-Benz G-Class Interior, Design and Build
Ride comfort isn’t as good as it is in other Mercedes models. In fact, while the car loves the rough and tumble of off-road terrain, in everyday traffic the performance is less capable. The result is that you and your passengers won’t be as cosseted as you would be in smaller SUVs or estate cars.
Insulation is good, and this is important because the un-aerodynamic shape of the car means that it captures a lot of wind noise. Fortunately, very little actually makes its way into the cabin.
Other than that, the cabin is much more modern than its rather dated predecessor. Not much has changed in terms of its layout but you’ll notice new design touches here, there and everywhere. For example, metallic climate control switchgear has been brought over from the S-Class, as have the turbine-look vents.
Build quality is fantastic as ever, and the car isn’t exactly wanting for tactile finishes.
The dashboard is now fully digitalised, with a pair of 12.3” touchscreens dominating. A Burmester stereo is standard, while 64-colour ambient lighting brings the luxury.
Is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon practical? It’s wider than last time and can accommodate five passengers better. Leg, elbow and shoulder room have all been improved, but it doesn’t feel as vast – or quite as luxurious for that matter – as, say, the Bentley Bentayga. It’s spacious but far from class-leading on this front.
It’s a car that’s hard to park, too, while three-point turns will be tricky. Mercedes have included a 360-degree camera as part of its standard kit, though.
Its boot, meanwhile, measures 667-litres and can be extended to 1,941-litres by folding the rear seats.
How reliable is Mercedes-Benz? Read our honest assessment of the brand.
Equipment and Safety of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon
Considering its price, its standard kit had to be generous. It is, with the G-Class coming with huge 20” alloys, a pair of 12.3” digital screens, 3-zone climate control, a Burmester stereo, heated front seats, a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control and a tow bar.
A Winter Package could be a useful optional extra and includes an auxiliary heater and a heated windscreen.
Safety-wise, the car hasn’t – and won’t be – crash tested by Euro NCAP, but its strong construction should give you some peace of mind. Its standard safety kit includes active cruise control and lane keeping assistance, but there’s no place for autonomous emergency braking.
Costs of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon
Prices for the new car start out from £143,305 and rise to £164,495. For information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, Mercedes have managed to trim some weight off the Station Wagon, but it’s still absolutely massive – and it’s still not exactly green-friendly. It emits as much as 299g/km of CO2, which is far, far higher than any of the brand’s AMG models.
Meanwhile, economy is pegged at 21.4mpg at best. However, it’s likely that you’ll be returning 10mpg on a daily basis.
Pros and Cons of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon
Solid second-hand values
When you decide that it’s time to part company with your G-Class Station Wagon, the good news is that it’s a desirable used model.
Its huge engine produced a colossal 577bhp, and as such the car works well as an excellent tow machine.
It’s modern, comes with lots of tech and it’s well-insulated.
Not good for the environment
If you care about the planet, this is hardly a car you’ll want to go for.
Not very comfortable
Comfort is typically what Mercedes do best. Not so here.
Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon vs Range Rover Sport vs Porsche Cayenne
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon review.
Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon vs Range Rover Sport
The new Range Rover Sport is considerably more affordable than the outlandish G-Class, but it still boasts a luxurious cabin.
On the road, the new model eclipses its predecessor when it comes to drivability. It handles well, it’s fast, and it’s more agile.
A lot of this is down to its new, lighter construction, with Range Rover splashing the cash on more aluminium. A redesigned chassis also plays a big role in its driving dynamics, while an anti-roll system ensures the car remains level through bends.
Body lean isn’t too much of an issue, but OSV wouldn’t want to mislead anyone – this is still a sizeable (okay, massive) car. Moreover, the steering is probably a tad too light.
Off-road, the Range Rover Sport performs just as well as the G-Class, although both live in the shadow of the standard Range Rover on this front.
In terms of its engines, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel sits at the bottom of the range. It develops 298bhp and has a 0-62 time of 6.8 seconds. Rounding off the range is a huge 4.4-litre SDV8 diesel unit that’s considerably faster, and which produces a Teutonic 329bhp.
Running costs? The smaller diesel engine can return 40.4mpg economy on a good day while emitting 185g/k of CO2. It has a BiK rating of 37%, which is the highest there is. The bigger diesel qualifies for the same BiK rating, emits 219g/km and returns 33.6mpg at best.
Inside, the ride is a bit on the firm side, but other than that this is a classy and well-built cabin. The quality of materials used is high, and there’s a genuinely luxurious feel to the proceedings. Design-wise, it’s not quite top-dog, but the dashboard is superbly put together. It’s coated in leather and button-clutter is no longer an issue.
A two-tier infotainment system dominates the dashboard and can rival Mercedes for tech.
Is the Range Rover Sport practical? It’s a bit smaller than the standard Range Rover but it’s still a large family car. Visibility is excellent, parking sensors are standard, and five adults should be able to sit in relative comfort on longer trips.
That said, this is more of a 4.5-seater, with the middle seat sporting a rather unorthodox shape.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 784-litres and can be increased to 1,761 by folding the rear seats.
Mercedes – £143,305 – £164,495
Range Rover – £64,085 – £101,145
Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon vs Porsche Cayenne
With the new Porsche Cayenne, Porsche have managed to transfer the brand’s signature driving dynamics onto an SUV.
In so doing, they’ve have raised the bar for what an SUV can be. It handles superbly, even if you’re always aware that this is an SUV and not a 911.
Porsche have spent a lot of time developing its chassis, as well as introducing some smart new tech so that it behaves brilliantly on the road and off it. 4D chassis control, for example, is a system that primes the air suspension so that the car is better able to deal with specific conditions.
Drivers can flick between 5 on-road driving modes, while electrically operated anti-roll bars are available as an optional extra. Even if you choose not to add them, the Cayenne remains undefeated in this class when it comes to handling finesse. Grip is exceptional and there’s barely any body lean.
In terms of its engines, there are no diesels to choose from. Kicking off the range is a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine that develops 335bhp, while the Cayenne S model comes with one more turbocharger and produces 434bhp. These are huge engines but it’s the range-topping Cayenne Turbo model that will catch the eye the most. It develops 542bhp, comes with eight cylinders, and can haul you from a standstill to 62mph in 3.9 seconds if you specify the Sport Chrono pack.
All engines are paired up with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while active four-wheel-drive is also standard.
Running costs? High performance always comes at a cost. The 3.0-litre V6 engine is the most frugal in the range and returns 31.4mpg at best. From there, it’s downhill and you shouldn’t expect to return more than 25mpg economy on average.
Inside, the Cayenne is more relaxed and comfortable than you might have imagined. It soaks up the miles with ease, while insulation is excellent. That’s remarkable when you consider how massive these tyres are.
The dashboard is better than last time and is now more “Porsche-like.” It’s got a few nods to the car’s past, such as its traditional rev counter, but there are also lots of modern features, including a high-def, highly configurable 7” information screen.
You sit a lot lower in this car than you do in the Mercedes, and this has the effect of feeling sportier. Build quality is exceptional but if we can have a criticism it’s that there are too many buttons. Still, a 12.2” touchscreen looks fantastic.
Is the Porsche Cayenne practical? It’s Porsche’s most usable car. Interior space is reasonable, though not class-leading, while the sports seats are 18-way adjustable if you opt for the Turbo model.
The rear bench slides back and forth and can recline, while the boot measures an impressive 741-litres.
Porsche – £55,965 – £99,292
Verdict of our Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon Review
If you want a Mercedes that can go anywhere, the G-Class Station Wagon is the motoring brand’s toughest car yet. It’s a proper, dyed-in-the-wool old-school 4×4 that’s backed by a ferocious 4.0-litre engine. It breaks the bank, but if you’ve always desired the best things in life, the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class Diesel Station Wagon will take your off-road journeys onto the next level.
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