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Tyres /  Tyre News4x4 & SUV / LBS Mercedes G Wagen

Is the Mercedes G Wagen still the king of SUVs?

Join The Brake Show host, Jonny Smith, in the home of the G Wagen as he puts the new Mercedes G63 AMG through its paces and gives us a tour of the new Mercedes G500

The G Wagen has been a staple of the SUV market for 45 years now, sharing its birth year with Jonny himself. The first real update to the iconic range since its 2018 revamp is enough to draw our host all the way out to its home in Graz, Austria, where Mercedes handcrafts each luxurious model to order.

Mercedes G63 AMG

To kick things off, we tag along on a tour of the G63 AMG, the flagship model which, despite being one of the most expensive cars, in one of Mercedes most expensive ranges, remains the best-selling Wagen. Watch as Jonny flips through his little black notebook to double check that the base level G63 does indeed costs a staggering £175,000. 

Visually, Mercedes has “gone to a huge amount of effort not to change it much” when it comes to the G63, but Jonny briefly runs through the list before highlighting the bigger changes in the two new suspensions packages.

The Off Road Package Pro comes with multiple driving modes to allow for grip and roll stiffness adjustments, and a “professional” wheel holder which gets a little chuckle from Jonny. Off road wheels and tyres are also included in this package, with General Grabber being the choice to amp up the robust aesthetic. The AMG Performance Package targets an on-road experience, impressing with 0-62 mph in 4.3 seconds thanks to its launch control, making the most of Mercedes latest 4 Litre Twin Turbo V8.

Jonny and the G63 head out to Mercedes “Off-road experience Centre” to put each other through their paces, strapping on a set of Falken Wildpeak AT3 tyres for the terrain.

Despite all the luxury bells and whistles, G Wagens still have some clear cross-country chops. Visibly uncomfortable, yet impressed, Jonny leans on the SUV’s automated features to abort a 55° hill climb backwards. Then puts his life in the hands of the G Wagen’s engine break in the other direction down a smooth 39° slope, but you’ll have to watch the full clip to see how Jonny tackles the uneven, rocky slope. 

Back in the G Wagen carpark Jonny cannot help but admit that some models have become slightly too “Beverley Hills” for his taste, before darting towards the more utilitarian “authentic” models on show.

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Mercedes G500

Cut to studio, and something a little more his cup of tea. The Mercedes G500, available in the UK for the first time, is a “purer” non-AMG Wagen sticking a little closer to its military origins. With a smaller inline-6 petrol engine, this model replicates the adaptive suspension from the AMG to capture the same “revolutionised” driving characteristics. 

The real appeal of the G500 lies in the option to strip away some of the over-the-top lavishness, removing shiny bits of exterior and replacing them with black or body coloured trim. Less is more sometimes, even on a G Wagen. 

This display model is sat on Falken road tyres, however the impressive wheel options from 18 to 22-inch provide further utility through an array of tyre options for any terrain.

Even this though, which will be priced above the entry level £131,500 offering, leaves our host wondering if a true “base model” Wagen exists. Stitched leather, a full width touchscreen dash, heated (and cooled!) cup holders, heated armrests, 18 speakers including some in the roof — not exactly back to basics, is it?

So, while clearly impressed by the hardware on show, does Jonny still want an SUV aimed more at farmers than at Dr. Dre? Watch along with us to find out.

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