There are the ‘true off-roaders’, who for either professional or recreational reasons require a device capable of forging a path many would consider too challenging to undertake on foot. There are also the aesthetes, who for obvious reasons feel they can’t get a machine of such inimitable geometry and bravura anywhere else.
The body is new too although the design retains the boxy styling that dates back to the original model from 1979, with its adherence to right angles as a default.
The new G-Wagen isn’t merely larger and roomier inside, it’s all-round comfier, much nicer to drive over all surfaces, more modern and up-to-date in tech accoutrements. The top-shelf AMG G63 version, which spearheads the forthcoming updated G-Class range in Oz come August, is quicker, more ferocious in vibe, hugely more capable and fun on twisty tarmac, while also being faster, more compliant and eminently more engaging bombing along off-road and being much easier to live with. Even if it’s not all immediately apparent.
So Mercedes has done a remarkable job with the exterior styling, and the interior is just as note worthy. The huge one-piece screen that stretches from behind the steering wheel out into the middle of the dash, the standard seats with memory and massage function, the beautiful (if slightly complicated) steering wheel, the rotary vents… It’s like Mercedes has reshaped an S-Class into the boxy cabin of the G, and yet details like the grab handles and the heavy clunk of the locks make this unmistakably a G-Class – or G-Wagon to those of us with a misty eye on the past. You do also get the full-fat Comand Online infotainment system as standard, including nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a high-spec audio system (a Burmester system is optional, as is the carbonfibre trim).
From 50 paces, it’s 22-inch-wheeled, side-piped, fat-arched, slabby and hard-edged ostentation, and that familiar and old-school seduction continues as you prod the door handle push button, when the door shuts with a loud ‘clank’, and the central-locking activates with a signature, rifle-bolt snap. There’s freshness in detail: circular driving lights, multi-beam LED headlights, AMG’s new signature vertical