What's the new 577bhp G63 like to live with?
Last year, when Merc threw the covers off its new G-Class (or G-Wagen as most still like to call it), our inner eight-year-olds exhaled with relief. Unlike every other carmaker that’s decided to fire its design language into the 22nd century, Merc went for the plucky decision to make it look pretty much exactly the same as the old one – just a little softer, like it’d been left in the wind and eroded by the hands of time. But don’t judge a car by its new headlights. The new one is the most significant overhaul the boxy icon has had in over three decades.
Only five parts have been carried over from the old one. They’re not significant, either. They’re the spare wheel cover, headlight washer nozzles, sun visors, push buttons on the door handles and the tow bar. But the new G-Class hasn’t forgotten its roots. It still uses a traditional ladder-frame chassis, three diff locks and low-range gear reduction. The ground clearance is better than before, improving the already formidable wading depth and approach/departure angles. Only now, should you prod the right mode selecting buttons, there’s a bit of tech to help soak up tough terrain and simplify any sticky situations without the use of sand paddles and swear words.
There’s been a complete makeover, inside, bringing it bang up to date with the rest of Merc’s range. More than that, the G is up to 170kg lighter than before, but a bit bigger – 53mm longer and 121mm wider – which has helped interior space (always a bugbear in the inverse-Tardis old car) but it’s still massive to manoeuvre around town. Something not helped by a poor turning circle.
Currently, we only get the 577bhp G63 in the UK (the £92,070 G350d is coming but no G500 for us), so that’s what we’ve got. Everybody loves its imposing stance and brutal burble from the side pipes, and with the £2,700 Night Pack, aka the make-everything-that’s-shiny-black pack, contrasting the dark Selenite grey paint and brown leather and walnut wood interior, it looks the nuts. Really, there ain’t nothin’ like a G thang.