In many ways, the second-generation G-Class couldn’t be more relevant. It comes at a time when SUV growth is still rapid and predictions are that this will continue to be the case for the next few years.
Not only that, but Mercedes has heritage with this SUV, something that few can claim. Launched in 1979, this is one of a handful of off-roaders that existed long before the trend for high-riding, look-at-me SUVs became rife.
Mercedes has also focused on bringing it back up-to-date, with claimed improved driving dynamics on- and off-road and shiny new interior plus more space.
But at the same time, the G-Class seems a little, well, out of place. Mercedes has plenty of SUVs in its line-up now, and more to come, that are better suited to mainstream demand. And the G-Class’ boxy exterior, so unashamedly identical to the last, seems a relic from another age.
Yet, still people buy them. And that’s the thing: the small circle of people that have bought them for all these years – particularly once Mercedes wised up to making them more luxurious and powerful – will continue to buy them. The G-Class is for the affluent, the Middle Eastern sheikh, the look-at-me-in-Chelsea car fan.
And so, as editor-at-large Matt Prior has rightly pointed out, Mercedes might not sell many of these cars, but the ones it does sell are well and truly profitable. And with UK sales of the old G-Class up by 30% last year (though still under 300 units) and global sales at 22,000, it’s almost certain Mercedes has made the right call in keeping the G-Class in its line-up.