Mercedes-Benz G Class G63 Manufaktur Edition 5dr 9G-Tronic

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 19.1 mpg
  • 5 door suv
  • 338 g/km CO2
  • 338 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 19.1 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 4.4 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 585 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

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 the improved, now electrified version of this second generation model is 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.

Background

You might well know it as the G-Wagen, that slab-sided truck more readily associated with squaddies trailing in convoy along autobahns, but the G-Class has come a long way from its utilitarian origins. It was first sold to the general public way back in 1979 and as it ploughs unstoppably into another decade on sale, the second generation model first launched in 2018 has, six years on, been treated to an extensive bout of electrified re-engineering that's left almost everything changed, but nothing much different. Don't think that means the G-Class has gone soft in its dotage. Although it's no longer a stripped-back, rough and ready mud plugger, it's still built from the same solid materials. It's just that the market for these cars has changed and the G-Class has changed to reflect a newer, more moneyed customer base. You can now spend some serious coin on a G-Class and there's a privileged queue of people looking to do just that.

Driving Experience

When a G-Class becomes electrified, you know the electric revolution really is getting into full-swing. To be fair, mainstream versions aren't that electrified, for this improved model gaining the brand's 48V mild hybrid integrated starter system. That adds 20hp to the output of the base diesel version, which now has 362bhp, with torque of 750Nm. This is why this 2.9-litre six cylinder variant's badging has been changed from 'G 400d' to 'G 450d'. The alternative petrol variants also get mild hybrid drive but still require possession of a small oil well if you're to run them confortably. The G 500 has six cylinders and 449hp, though the 5.4s 0-62mph sprint time (en route to 130mph) is only 0.4s faster than the G 450d can manage. So if you want a petrol-powered G-Class, why not go the whole hog and get yourself the eight cylinder 585hp Mercedes-AMG G 63 4MATIC. This dispatches 62mph in 4.4s en route to 137mph. All combustion G-Class models continue to use a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic gearbox; the G 63 uses a faster-acting AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS version of it. You'd need to be pretty deaf-eared to the call of the melting polar ice cap though, to run a G 63. Is there a way to run a G-Class without all of that environmental embarrassment? Well yes, now there is. Provided you can stretch to the not-inconsiderable sum Mercedes wants for the very-first all-electric version of this model, the 'G 580 with EQ Technology' version. This is quite a beast. Two electric motors are centrally housed at the front, with another two at the rear (hence the substantial 3.0-tonne weight). They're energised by a huge 116kWh battery. Total power output is rated at 587hp (so only fractionally less than the G 63) and the 62mph sprint is dispatched in 4.7s. There's a so-called 'G Roar' artificial sound system to make up for the lack of a combustion engine note. Whichever G-Class model you choose, the available mountain of torque should be adequate to drag you out of most sticky situations, while the car's three electrically controlled 100-percent differential locks, ladder frame and rigid axle characteristics also underline its mettle in rough off-road terrain. There's a 3.5-tonne towing capacity with all the engines - no figure's quoted for the EV. But that electric version's just as good as its combustion counterparts off road (some Mercedes engineers think it's better) and can wade up to 850mm of water (150mm more than the fossil-fuelled versions).

Design and Build

Visually, there's nothing quite like a G-Class - and loyal customers wouldn't have it any other way. Its sheer anti-fashion nature has, rather perversely, made it quite a chic item. Mercedes didn't want to make too many changes to this updated model, but the detail differences become evident as you get up close. There's a revised bumper and radiator grille, while the front-facing camera has now been mounted lower in the front bumper so that it offers better visibility of obstacles using a new 'transparent bonnet' view. To improve the barn door aerodynamics (the drag coefficient's now enhanced from 0.53 or 0.48Cd), the A-pillars have been carefully rounded off and a lip has been added to the leading edge of the windscreen. Measuring 4,715mm long and 1,881mm wide, this G still remains more compact than most of its similarly-priced SUVIP Range Rover-segment rivals. Previous owners will recognise classic G-Class details such as the distinctive door handles, the exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and prominent indicator lights. A few cabin changes are significant: keyless entry for the very first time on a G-Class; and the central MBUX infotainment display is now a touchscreen. The off-road 'control centre' in the middle of the dashboard has been revised to give the driver easier access to the most important functions. And there are now temperature-controlled cup holders and a wireless 'phone charger. As before, there's a multifunction steering wheel, plus an electric handbrake and a gear selector stalk mounted on the steering column. An analogue instrument panel comes as standard, but a 'virtual' display is optional. Hallmarks of the original G-Class include a grab handle in front of the front passenger and chrome switches for the three differential locks. In the rear, you're going to be surprised by just how little space there is from a car of this size; you'd really struggle to comfortably take more than a couple of adults. Boot capacity is 667-litres - or 1,941-litres with the seats folded.

Market and Model

G-Class pricing has, with this electrified model, taken another lurch skywards. The days of paying just over the £100,000 mark for one of these are well behind us, partly because Mercedes now offers only one fully-stocked 'AMG Line Premium Plus' level of trim for our market. At the time of this updated model's launch, things kicked off from around £137,000 for the base G 450d, with the other six cylinder model, the petrol G 500, priced at just over £146,000. The Mercedes-AMG G 63, was priced from this updated version's launch from around £184,000 in standard form, but you can spend more than that if you go for the more visually-arresting 'Carbon Edition', 'MANUFAKTUR Edition' or 'Magno Edition' models. As for the full-electric 'G 580 with EQ Technology' variant, well at the time of launch, that was only being offered in a single top-spec 'Edition One' form ambitiously priced at just over £180,000. Standard equipment with 'AMG line Premium Plus' trim includes 20-inch alloy wheels, MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, privacy glass, running boards, a heated windscreen and an electric sunroof. Inside, all models come with a Burmester 3D surround sound system, a dash cam, Keyless Go keyless entry, MBUX augmented reality navigation, a parking package with a 360-degree camera system and a Widescreen Cockpit with dual-bonded 12.3-inch widescreen displays. There's also a 64-colour ambient lighting system, a DINAMICA microfibre roof liner, a leather-stitched dashboard, an air ionisation system, power-adjustable seats with memory settings, heat for the front seats and rear ones and THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control. The G 63 version is set apart by 22-inch AMG forged wheels with a cross spoke design and red calipers. Plus there's an AMG body styling kit, along with an AMG-specific radiator grille and bumper inserts in stainless steel. This variant also gets AMG Active Ride Control. And an AMG Performance steering wheel.

Cost of Ownership

Given that the G-Class tends to be purchased by individuals of rather hefty net worth, the day-to-day running costs aren't hugely relevant to the buying decision. That said, Mercedes is a company that likes to measure itself by some tough criteria and inefficiency is seen in company circles as an example of engineering laziness. It's not something that looks good on the corporate account. To that end, Mercedes has worked at improving the efficiency of the G-Class range across the board but even so, the monster G 63 AMG model only manages 14.8mpg on the combined cycle (worse than the previous version despite the mild hybrid tech). Emissions are no better, with this MK2 model G 63's 338g/km showing; yes, that's 35g/km better than before but Al Gore still won't be tooling about in one of these. The G 450d fares a little better but maybe not by as much as you'd imagine with the 48V system fitted - 31.7mpg and 235g/km (a useful 46g/km better than the old G 400d). The petrol G 500 returns 25.0mpg and 257g/km. Most rivals still do better. But can any of them get you where a G-Class will go? We rather doubt it. As for the 'G 580 with EQ Technology' full-EV version, well that has a range of up to 285 miles. Charging time is 32 minutes (10-80%) at a DC charging station. At home using an 11kW wallbox, you'd need 11 hours 46 minutes.

Summary

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. This second generation electrified update offers proof that 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 G 450d diesel 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 or the G 580 EV. As ever, any G-Wagen is something strange and wonderful, but the motoring world is better for its existence.

  • 2 USB ports in the rear
  • Aux-in socket
  • Burmester 3D surround sound system
  • DAB digital radio module
  • Sound personalisation
  • AMG bodystyling with exclusive Mercedes AMG G 63 front aprons with cooling air intakes and AMG flared wheel arches
  • AMG Crest on engine hood
  • AMG Crest projection in outside mirror
  • AMG fuel cap
  • Bumper insert in stainless steel
  • Electric sunroof sliding, with one-touch opening
  • Manufaktur logo projector in exterior mirror
  • Rear side wing doors
  • Transparent Bonnet
  • Underguard in silver
  • V8 BITURBO lettering
  • 12V socket in centre console, rear and load compartment
  • 2 cup holders in front and rear
  • AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather
  • AMG steering wheel buttons
  • Centre armrest between front seats with integrated stowage compartment
  • Designo dinamica microfibre roof lining in Black
  • Electrically adjustable steering column, with automatic adjustment for entry/exit
  • Four illuminated stainless steel door sill panels
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Ionisation of interior air including fine particle activated charcoal filter system
  • Luggage compartment cover
  • MANUFAKTUR grab handles in leather
  • Partition net
  • Driving assistance pack - G Class
  • Stowage space pack - G class
  • 3x3 point rear seatbelts
  • Airbags - windowbags
  • Driver/Front Passenger airbags
  • Front side airbags
  • i-Size child seat attachment system for the outer rear seats
  • Pre safe system for preventive occupant protection
  • Rear door child safety locks
  • Rear side airbags
  • Seat belts, 3-point design in black
  • Seatbelt pretensioners
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Anti-theft alarm system/interior protection with tow-away protection and interior monitoring systems
  • Dashcam
  • Guard 360 degree vehicle protection plus
  • Immobiliser
  • Keyless Go starting function
  • CO: 0.242
  • HC: 0.021
  • HC+NOx: N
  • NOx: 0.017
  • Particles: 0
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 338
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 3982
  • Compression Ratio: 8.6:1
  • Cylinder Layout: V8
  • Cylinders: 8
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 83
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 92
  • Engine Layout: NORTH SOUTH
  • Fuel Delivery: MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
  • Gears: 9 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 32
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 14.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 14.5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 12.5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 22.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 13.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 19.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 19.5
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 22.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 12.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 20.6
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 4.0
  • Badge Power: 585
  • Based On ID: 105544
  • Coin Description: G63
  • Coin Series: Manufaktur Edition
  • Generation Mark: 2
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 30
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 90
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 83
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 78
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 72
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Service Interval Mileage: 15500
  • Special Edition: True
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 999999
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 4.4
  • Engine Power - BHP: 585
  • Engine Power - KW: 430
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 6000
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 627
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 86.7
  • Engine Torque - NM: 850
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 2500
  • Top Speed: 137
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 295/40 R22
  • Tyre Size Rear: 295/40 R22
  • Tyre Size Spare: FULL SIZE
  • Wheel Style: CROSS SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 22" ALLOY
  • Height: 1976
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4873
  • Wheelbase: 2890
  • Width: 1984
  • Width (including mirrors): 2187
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 100
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 3200
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 2010
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 640
  • Max. Loading Weight: 560
  • Max. Roof Load: 150
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 3500
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 2640
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 13.4