It's said that cockroaches will be the only thing to survive a nuclear conflagration. Whoever said that clearly never drove a Mercedes G-Class. It's a vehicle that neither time, progress, fashion nor legislation can kill and it's now better than ever. It'll be irrelevant to virtually everyone, but for that merest fraction of a percentage point of UK buyers, it's the greatest car on earth.
On the face of it, putting a 544PS engine into a tall off-roader sounds a bad idea. No, scrub that. It sounds an absolutely certifiable notion. The Mercedes G 63 AMG is that car and it's the flagship model in the G-Class range, for the UK at least. My advice would be to stick with the 63. It's a great engine, this 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 and it clouts the G 63 to 60mph in a blink over five seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 130mph.
The G 63 AMG might hog the headlines but the G 350 BlueTEC long-wheelbase model with its 2987cc diesel engine offers a touch more real-world relevance.
The G-Class has one of those faces that even its mother would find hard to love.
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Lantern-jawed doesn't even cover it, but its sheer anti-fashion nature has, rather perversely, made it quite a chic item. Mercedes has resisted the temptation to substitute straight edges for Bezier curves and the latest car features the sort of aerodynamics last seen when whole warehouses were swept away in the Boston Molasses Flood. The plus side of this is that there's a decent amount of space inside, especially if you opt for one of the long wheelbase versions.
Judging the Mercedes-Benz G-Class by the usual criteria just doesn't work. The normal rules resolutely don't apply. It's an oddity but a rather wonderful one and long may it continue. Where the Land Rover Defender has just become a rather ancient-feeling curio, the G-Class has moved with the times, whilst maintaining its essential character. It's unashamedly expensive and when you examine the actual prices these cars leave dealers for, it's hard to justify. Best not to even try.
With huge sales mopped up by the Middle East, Russia, China and the US, the UK is very much a minority interest market, but that doesn't mean the G-Class doesn't attract interest. The G350 BlueTEC model would appear to be the most relevant to our requirements but if you're going to be silly, go the whole hog and stretch to the G 63 AMG. It's something strange and wonderful and the motoring world is better for its existence.