What is it?
Short of a tractor, nothing will tackle mud as well as this. But you pay for it on-road. Still, no modern Mercedes is built quite like this, and that AMG version is just mad.
The steering needs a lot of lock before the G starts to tack, at which point it weights up considerably, and soon after the nose gets rather vague as the front tyres yield to physics - often before the stability control has got a sniff of what's going on. But even so, it does speed and grip in a way that lets it keep pace with modern stuff without too much effort.
Around town, the G feels firm, but beyond city limits, it's properly hard. You can see why this is - Merc has sought to improve body control by fitting stronger springs to limit roll and improve cornering ability. They work alright, but the trade-off is that the G hops and skips where say, a Range Rover wouldn't.
The auto gearbox may have seven speeds, but it's slower to choose between them, plus the engine is more raucous and less keen to respond quickly and accurately.
On the inside
Inside, the Geländewagen still has the look and feel of a proper utilitarian vehicle. It's right there in the slabby trim and square-edged plastics, the lack of ergonomic friendliness, the way the doors have to be hurled shut, the roof guttering and dado rails round the flanks, and the careless width of the panel gaps. The overall suggestion is that passenger satisfaction and comfort weren't primary objectives. But otherwise this thing will outlast mankind.
25mpg for the 3.0-litre diesel and 295g/km of CO2, or 17.8mpg for the 500bhp 5.5-litre AMG V8, complete with 372g/km of the nasty stuff. Also starts at £81,745 for the diesel, or £117,610 for the AMG. So not cheap, then.