The G350d’s engine makes for plenty of outright performance and, producing peak torque from just 1200rpm, for fine drivability too – even in a 2.5-tonne car. That the G-Class isn’t ‘fast’ seems an entirely moot point. It is, in any case, more than a second quicker from rest to 60mph than the old Land Rover Discovery TD6, according to our test results, and doesn’t want for power when overtaking, on motorways or when picking up speed from town pace. The car’s nine-speed gearbox clearly thrives on so much pulling power, and has a knack for picking the right gear first time and sticking with it in give-and-take motoring.
You can select gears yourself using the shift paddles, but that you so seldom feel the need to is a tribute to the effectiveness of the gearbox and engine calibrations, as well as to the responsiveness of both – and also to how well they are matched to the motive character of the car.
With some heavy-duty towing or very-low-speed serious off-roading to do, owners will find the G350d very well prepared. The progressiveness of the initial accelerator pedal response allows you to ease it into motion as gently and smoothly as you’re ever likely to want to do – and that’s in high range on the transmission, of course. Conserving and controlling momentum at low speeds is very easy, and good brake pedal feel makes bleeding it off equally easy.
There is excellent mechanical refinement to praise from the car, which long-time diesel G-Wagen owners certainly wouldn’t have expected. And there is very creditable fuel economy on offer, too: our average test economy result of 24.9mpg fell only marginally short of Mercedes’ WLTP combined fuel economy claim for the car, while our touring testing proved that beating 30 to the gallon can be achieved on a longer run.
The car’s outright braking performance on dry Tarmac, as we benchmarked it, did show evidence of the G-Class’s mass and its tendency to dive, but was still well above the margin of respectability.