The G-Class always used to have the sort of unreconstructed handling that might have led you to describe it as a one-speed car: heavy of tiller, permissive of springing, low on grip level, and without indulgences like self-centring on the old recirculating ball steering or much at all in the way of feel or on-centre stability – not at all as easy to drive as modern SUVs have made us used to.
The new one is a different prospect entirely. Its new electromechanical steering and suspension give it enough simple handling accuracy, lateral grip and high-speed stability that you really can drive it exactly as you would any large 4x4 on the road: fairly quickly and easily from A to B as and when you need to, but otherwise in a relaxed but secure mode that makes the best of its luxurious character and lets you enjoy the view from that first-storey vantage point.
Useful pace, medium weight and predictable positivity make the steering superbly easy to get on with – and that, in turn, makes what has now become a car even wider than it is tall feel reassuringly precise when being guided along a narrow lane.
The G350d rolls progressively but sticks to a chosen cornering line very faithfully, has handling response and outright grip as strong as any big SUV with a genuine dual-purpose brief, and feels agile and manoeuvrable enough around junctions and car parks but for a turning circle that could do with being tighter.