Wednesday 11th April 2012


V12 and V8 bi-turbo engines among the goodies unearthed with a fresh rummage around the Mercedes parts bin

Like some unstoppable force the Mercedes G-Wagen lumbers on, a facelift that even the press material accepts as 'discreet' signifying the arrival of some twinkly LED running lights and different door mirrors, this time pinched from, we'll take a punt on this, the new M-Class. And, yes, officially we're supposed to call it the G-Class but G-Wagen just sounds cooler, especially pronounced 'Vagen' as per the German way.

If the guys in the design studio had an easy day of it, there's been a bit more work in the drivetrain department, the G gaining the latest crop of Merc powerplants including AMG's twin-turbo V8 and, for some markets, V12 too. Yes, for those who find the new 544hp/560lb ft G63 just a bit too slow and frugal (20.4mpg? In your dreams!) you can now go V12, AMG now offering an 'official' factory version of the uber-G configuration long offered by the likes of Brabus for those living, cough, in countries where fuel is plentiful and cheap.

G's ability to do this remains undimmed
G's ability to do this remains undimmed
We won't get the G65 though, the G63's features - laughably Mercedes boasts of the fact it has Eco start-stop - considered adequate for UK tastes. A fond farewell too to the M113 supercharged 5.5-litre V8, the G55 the new 63 replaces being the last of a celebrated line of AMGs to use this thunderous Kompressor engine first debuted in the SL55 over a decade ago. So long as the 63 gets the same side exhausts we'll be happy though.

Vaguely sensible G-Wagen ownership is meanwhile offered by the revised G350 Bluetec diesel. 211hp is a little more modest than the G63, but 398lb ft of torque should leave no stump unpulled and you might even score as much as 25.2mpg out of it according to Mercedes' laughably optimistic official combined figures.

Facelifted you say? Er ... nope ...
Facelifted you say? Er ... nope ...
Inside the G gets yet another donated dash/instrument cluster, the three signature diff-lock switches now chromed and suitably prominent. Much like the traditional grab handle on the passenger side. The infotainment screen, Comand system and other features have all been updated to bring the G in line with the rest of the Mercedes range, features like Distronic Plus radar cruise control, Blind Spot Assist and other gizmos also among the updated features. The revised ESP now gets Trailer Stability Assist too. Past experience shows that G-Wagen interior refreshes are usually confined to the visible bits, much of the vinyl clad remainder feeling like, well, a late 70s Mercedes. Nothing wrong with that either.

Now 33 years old, the G-Wagen remains in as rude health as ever. And should remain so for a good few years yet with this update. Prices? To be confirmed but the £81,745 for the outgoing G350 Bluetec and £117,610 for the G55 should give you a ballpark, with sales starting in the autumn.

Author: Dan Trent
Want more PH news like this daily - then signup for the PH newsletter here!