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Your new Mercedes-Benz will now read your horoscope

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) operating system has been updated with four new entertainment options.

Using the voice command “Hey Mercedes,” you can now ask MBUX for the day’s horoscope report, along with a number of other queries.

MBUX: Looking into the stars for the driver

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

MBUX-equipped Mercedes can now deliver your forecast from the stars. For example, if you’re an Aquarian, you’d say “Hey Mercedes, give me a horoscope for Aquarius”.

Only available in German or British English, the date of birth or the star sign of the driver will be requested for a forecast to be given.

It joins region-specific weather enquiries and even a quiz feature.

The former means that someone planning on skiing in Samnaun, for instance, can ask “what’s the snow like in Samnaun?”. This feature is available in virtually any language. The car would show details on the depth of snow and how many lifts are available, as well as how many are operating.

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

MBUX can now act as a quizmaster too, with a geo quiz on capital cities of the world. This will help ease long journeys, and make Mercedes-specific journeys more enjoyable and memorable.

Take that, Tesla Arcade mode.

Another update in April will make MBUX more informal. This will be available for users in Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Poland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Mercedes says that MBUX has ‘loosened its tie’, with the ability to use the familiar form of “you”.

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

The MBUX user interface debuted on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, with significant updates coming to it upon the introduction of the A-Class.

It already features touchscreen controls and augmented reality navigation, with the latter overlaying directions onto a video image of your surroundings.

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Buy this extreme 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II now

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Mercedes-Benz might today produce an entire range of aggressive performance cars, but things were a little different three decades ago. 

The rare 1990 190E Evolution II sedan currently advertised on auction website Bring a Trailer bucked the trend, shocking Mercedes fans at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show.  

But this retro Benz is about more than just the looks, being a true road-going version of a successful racing car. 

Raddest Touring Car Master

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

The 190E was chosen by Mercedes-Benz as the basis for the firm’s entry into the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) in the 1980s.

FIA Group A regulations meant that Mercedes-Benz had to produce a street version of the race car, starting with the 190E 2.3-16 model. These cars used a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, modified by British tuning company, Cosworth. 

Cosworth would go on to develop a larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, fixing reliability issues with the 2.3-liter unit and extracting more horsepower. 

German Winged Warrior

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Mercedes-Benz entered into an arms race against DTM competitors, using the FIA’s Evolution rules to develop the 190E further. Modifications could be made to the basic car, but manufacturers had to offer 500 examples to customers to use on the road. 

The 2.5-16 Evolution II model shown here was the ultimate expression of the 190E, wearing a giant adjustable rear spoiler, widened fenders, and jutting front splitter. Unique 17-inch alloy wheels were also fitted. 

Having been developed in a wind tunnel, all of these modifications were made solely to help the car perform on track. It makes the 190E Evolution II similar to the Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird in ruthless single-mindedness.

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

An AMG Power Pack was fitted to the 2.5-liter engine, taking total output from the naturally aspirated unit to 232 horsepower at a high-revving 7,200 rpm. Torque was more limited at 181 lb-ft. 

A dogleg five-speed manual transmission sends power to the rear wheels, with a standard limited-slip differential. Top speed was rated at 155 mph.

Adjustable self-levelling suspension was standard, allowing the car to be lowered from a dashboard button. A wider track, stiffer suspension springs, and larger brakes also helped with the performance makeover. 

Still a Mercedes-Benz on the inside

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Despite the race track refugee look on the outside, Mercedes-Benz maintained usability inside. Heated leather Recaro seats, wood trim, climate control, and even a sunroof can all be found in this example. 

Of the 502 examples made, according to the plaque mounted by the gear shifter this is the 130th. The short production run took place between 1990 and 1991, with all cars expect two painted in Blue-Black metallic. 

Demonstrating the success of the modifications, the 190E Evolution II won the DTM Manufacturers’ title for Mercedes-Benz in 1992. Klaus Ludwig also took the Drivers’ championship behind the wheel of an Evo II

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

This car was delivered to a Swiss buyer from new, and remained with the original owner until October 2019. Having covered a total of 84,000 miles, the car is now currently for sale in the Netherlands.

Swiss-specification cars were delivered with a smaller Evo I rear spoiler from the factory. This car has had the correct larger main wing fitted, but not the lower trunk element. 

A repaint of the bodywork, excluding the roof, was commissioned by the former owner. Servicing records detail maintenance work done from 1990 through to 2016, with the most recent service undertaken then.

A (three-pointed) rising star

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Made in such low numbers, and with a prestigious motorsport pedigree, 190E Evolution II models are becoming seriously collectible. Just this month, Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale 2020 auction saw a low-mileage example sell for an incredible $434,000.

Commenters on Bring a Trailer have noted that the selling dealer has previously supplied cars to North America, meaning importing this rare Benz should not be a hassle. 

Bidding has already pushed the price high, with several days still left to run before the auction ends on Thursday, February 6th.

Mercedes-Benz named 2019’s most influential car brand

Mercedes-Benz influential car brand

Mercedes-Benz has been named the most influential car brand by a social media agency in Scotland.

The agency looked at the social accounts for the major car brands, before calculating the total followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

With 48,133,119 fans and followers, Mercedes-Benz finishes top, ahead of BMW (46,284,467) and Volkswagen (41,587,168) in second and third place.

Whether or not true ‘influence’ can be judged purely on number of followers is up for discussion. However, there’s no doubt that the three German brands are big players in social circles.

With 34 million Twitter followers, Volkswagen leads the way in the automotive sector, while BMW tops the Instagram table with 23 million fans. 

Mercedes EQC owner

But Mercedes-Benz only manages to finish 27th overall, making it a relative minnow in comparison to some non-automotive brands.

National Geographic leads the way with a mammoth 202,817,271 followers and fans, making it the most influential brand in the eyes of Pilotfish Media.

Next up is Samsung (180,880,818), followed by Nike (134,840,198), NBA (118,371,052) and Coca-Cola (116,650,534).

Top 10 most influential car brands

Brand Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Total
Mercedes-Benz 20,992,148 3,415,143 22,625,828 1,100,000 48,133,119
BMW 20,992,255 1,992,760 23,043,452 955,000 46,284,467
Volkswagen 34,046,736 580,669 6,801,763 158,000 41,587,168
Lamborghini 12,722,642 1,852,725 22,531,891 1,090,000 38,197,258
Ferrari 16,381,658 562,120 16,103,144 641,000 33,687,922
Porsche 11,694,523 1,799,720 1,760,357 786,000 32,240,600
Audi 11,206,274 2,029,077 14,901,907 448,000 28,585,258
Ford 15,773,235 1,193,886 3,602,808 2,000,000 22,569,929
Mini 12,283,157 91,377 1,099,070 100,000 13,573,604
Jeep 6,013,939 996,269 5,627,470 168,000 12,805,678
Toyota 9,466,553 771,663 1,529,967 370,000 12,138,183

Most influential brands overall

Looking at brands overall, Pilotfish Media claims these are the most influential:

  • Most influential brand: National Geographic
  • Most influential sector: Sport
  • Most influential brand on Facebook: Samsung
  • Most influential brand on Twitter: NBA
  • Most influential brand on Instagram: National Geographic
  • Most influential brand on YouTube: National Geographic

Click here to see the table in full.

The 10 new tech features Mercedes-Benz has introduced in 2019

New Mercedes-Benz tech

Nobody could accuse Mercedes-Benz of standing still. Ever since Karl Benz presented the Patent Motor Car in 1886, the company has consistently pushed boundaries.

Indeed, Mercedes-Benz has registered more than 80,000 patents to date.

Examples of its innovation include the electronically controlled anti-lock braking system (ABS) in 1978, an automatically extending rollover bar in 1989, and electronic stability control (ESP) in 1995.

In a kind of end-of-year Christmas ‘best of’ round-up, Mercedes-Benz is showcasing 10 new technologies it has introduced for the 2020 model year.

Mercedes Energising Coach

MBUX with Interior Assistant

A camera in the overhead console monitors movements of the driver’s and front passenger’s hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or touchpad, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system also includes gesture control.

E-Active Body Control

Works in combination with the air suspension  to counteract body roll, pitch and squat. The spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel.

Carwash Function

In simple terms, this system prepares the car for the car wash by adjusting the suspension to the highest position, folding the exterior mirrors, closing the windows, suppressing the rain-sensor and switching the air conditioning to air-recirculation mode. It will be standard on the next-generation GLS. 

Fully-variable 4Matic

The system can vary torque distribution between the front and rear axle from zero to 100 percent to improve handling and traction. The system is premiering on the GLE. 

V8 engine with 48-volt system

The twin-turbocharged V8 in the GLE 580 and GLS 580 features a 48-volt on-board electrical system and an integrated starter motor. This increases the performance and efficiency while eliminating the need for a belt drive for ancillary components.

New entry-level ‘35’ variant

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new entry-level version to the AMG range. The ‘35’ is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and is available on the A-Class and CLA. Meanwhile, the ‘45’ version is powered by the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine.

Active Stop-and-Go Assist

The system recognises traffic jams at an earlier state, supporting the stop-start system at speeds of up to 37mph.

Cross-Traffic Function

The system intervenes if it detects a collision with oncoming traffic when making a turn.

Vehicle Exit Warning Function

New models fitted with Blind Spot Assist will boast a Vehicle Exit Warning Function. It monitors the blind spot when the vehicle is parked and will warn the driver of the presence of approaching vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists.

Energising Coach

If a compatible Garmin wearable device is worn by the driver, the car can measure stress levels or quality of sleep. It acts as a comfort guide for drivers.

To find your next new Mercedes-Benz, check out our car reviews section.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63S 4-Door review: heavy metal thunder

Mercedes-AMG GT63S

Pity the poor Mercedes-Benz salesperson. The world’s oldest car company lists no fewer than 33 separate models on its UK website, from A-Class hatchback to S-Class limousine. Factor in engines, trim levels and optional extras, and the list of potential combinations is… a lot.

Such bountiful choice results in overlap between many models, too. Want a small, swoopy-looking saloon? Pick from the A-Class saloon and CLA. Want a large swoopy-looking saloon? Step forward the CLS and AMG GT 4-Door. The latter car – which I’ve been driving this week – is a conundrum in its own right. Named after the AMG GT supercar, it shares its platform with the E-Class and CLS. Oh, and it actually has five doors. Go figure.

Read more Motoring Research reviews FIRST on City AM

If all that sounds more confusing than the beer menu at Oktoberfest, the result is something quite spectacular. This four-seat family car (of sorts) has more power than a McLaren F1. Driving all four wheels via a nine-speed auto ’box, its 639hp twin-turbo V8 delivers 0-62mph in 3.2sec and nigh-on 200mph. You could lose your licence and end up behind bars without getting beyond third gear.

A rippled bonnet and Hannibal Lecter grille endow the 4-Door with formidable rear-view-mirror presence, although it’s less athletic from other angles. Inside is where it really makes a statement, with widescreen digital displays, a jutting centre console, animated switch graphics and 64-colour ambient lighting. At night, my car’s cabin was bathed in neon pink and purple, an effect somewhere between Blade Runner and a seedy German strip club. Or how I imagine such an establishment, at least. Ahem.

No question, though, this is one of the best interiors of any new car – even for passengers sat in the two sculpted rear seats (a three-person bench is optional). Mercedes has finally trumped arch-rival Audi at its own game, blending daring design with build quality to shame the Berlin Wall. The only disappointment is the new touchpad interface for the media system, which replaces a vastly more intuitive clickwheel. Try changing a playlist at your peril.

Thankfully, the blood-and-thunder V8 is all the soundtrack you need. It exhales through four tailpipes with a belligerent bellow, piling on speed with psychotic intensity. Throttle response feels exuberant and there’s ample four-wheel-drive traction, backed up by belt-and-braces suite of active safety systems. Navigate several sub-menus and the daring/deranged can also select Drift Mode, which effectively makes the car rear-wheel drive. I had stern words with my inner hooligan and left well alone.

Mercedes-AMG GT63S

I suspect few cars could devour a derestricted Autobahn quite like a GT 63S. However, it’s also agile and engaging at sensible speeds, helped by precise steering and a keen chassis. Around town, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts to aid manoeuvrability, then in faster corners all four wheels swivel in the same direction to improve stability. There’s also selection of drive modes from Comfort to Race, with numerous configurations in-between. Mercedes-Benz does like offering choice, after all.

Apart from its £135,550 cost and 22.1mpg thirst (low teens if you enjoy yourself), the only downside here is the restless ride. Three-chamber active air suspension quashes body-roll, keeping the car poised and planted, but the pay-off is a fidgety feel at odds with the ‘GT’ side of the AMG’s character. If you want comfort, both the CLS and S-Class fit the bill better.

The AMG GT 4-door, though, defies such level-headed logic. A Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is more rounded and no less rapid. And, if you can sacrifice two doors, the Bentley Continental GT is even more louche and luxurious. Yet for sheer chutzpah, nothing tops the bombastic AMG. Here’s one car that sells itself.

Price: £135,550

0-62mph: 3.2sec

Top speed: 196mph

CO2 G/KM: 257

MPG combined: 21.4-22.1

Mercedes-AMG GT 63S 4-Door: in pictures

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Girls given toy cars to combat gender stereotypes

Matchbox Mercedes-Benz car

Mercedes-Benz is donating 50,000 toy cars to young girls across America.

It’s part of a plan to challenge gender stereotypes while encouraging girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.

More than 100 organisations will engineer toy racetracks, design cars, engage with female role models and attend STEM workshops. The aim: to expand how girls see their future.

Research show that women represent 29 percent of the current science and engineering workforce in the United States. When pressed for reasons for not majoring in STEM subjects, young women cite a lack of encouragement and role models.

Which is why Mercedes-Benz, in partnership with Mattel and the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), launched the No Limits initiative.

The 50,000 girls participating in the No Limits project will be given a Matchbox Mercedes-Benz 220 SE toy car.

It was in this car that Ewy Rosqvist and co-driver Ursula Wirth became the first all-female crew to win a major rally. In 1962, Rosqvist won the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix, finishing over three hours ahead of the rest of the field.

‘Question the gender stereotypes’

Mercedes-Benz toy cars USA

“Whatever they aspire to be – an astronaut, engineer, judge, nurse, even the President, we want all children to dream big, dream bold and never give up on that dream,” said Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for Mercedes-Benz USA.

“We’ve seen that stories like Ewy’s – championing women trailblazers and achievers – can have a big impact by calling into question the gender stereotypes that children may inadvertently adopt.”

Karen Peterson, founder and CEO of NGCP, added: “The No Limits initiative is important to the future success of our young girls.

“Demand for workers with STEM-based skills is rapidly growing, yet women are still significantly underrepresented in these fields. We know that gender associations are formed at a very young age. We applaud Mercedes-Benz and Mattel in their efforts to breakdown the gender stereotypes that keep young girls from engaging in STEM studies.”

If you’re not one of the 50,000 girls who’ll be gifted a Matchbox Mercedes, the toy car will be sold in stores across America from December. Just in time for Christmas… 

Mercedes-AMG A35 review: 306hp hot hatch takes on Golf R

Mercedes-Benz AMG A35

The hot hatch has reached boiling point. Mercedes recently revealed a new AMG A45, with the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever. Its scorching 416hp bests a 288 GTO – Ferrari’s mid-1980s poster car – in a game of Top Trumps, and could mean 0-62mph in less than four seconds.

A supercar-slaying hatchback was unthinkable back in 1974, when the Simca 1100 Ti first screeched into showrooms. Arguably the origin of the species, it eked out 82hp from a 1.3-litre twin-carb engine – good for 60mph in 12 seconds. The 110hp Volkswagen Golf GTI debuted soon afterwards, bringing power to the people like never before, hotly pursued by the 128hp Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI. By 1992, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth mustered a mighty 227hp, on par with a contemporary Porsche 911.

Read more Motoring Research reviews FIRST on City AM

Today, even the lowliest Golf GTI outguns the classic Cossie, while outputs beyond 300hp are routine. Yet the horsepower race has, ironically, left a gap for something (slightly) more sensible. Meet the Mercedes-AMG A35, which slots below the ballistic A45 as Affalterbach’s entry-level offering. Could it be all the hot hatch you really need?

Mercedes-Benz AMG A35

Let’s start with the spec: a 306hp turbocharged four-pot, seven-speed paddleshift transmission and four-wheel drive. The suspension has solid mounts to sharpen response, tyres are bespoke 19-inch Pirelli P Zeros and the four-piston brakes are borrowed from the A45. Our car also sported the AMG Style bodykit, with motorsport-style canards sprouting from the front bumper, a high-rise rooftop wing and a functional rear diffuser. I’d save the £2,595, choose a paint colour other than Sun Yellow and go incognito.

Wild or mild, the A35 actually looks best from the inside. This is hands-down the classiest cabin of any hot hatch, with superb quality and game-changing tech. Highlights include two giant widescreen displays, ‘augmented reality’ sat nav that overlays directions onto a video feed from the front-facing camera, plus a voice control system that responds when you say “Hey Mercedes”. There’s a caveat, though: most of this must-have kit costs extra. You’re even asked £495 for Apple Carplay and Android Auto phone connectivity. The £35,580 base price of our A35 had swollen to £43,660 by the time options were factored in.

If you hoped for a headstrong hooligan in the mould of AMG’s V8 models, you may be disappointed. This is a point-and-squirt sort of car, with punchy power delivery, snappy twin-clutch shifts and all-wheel traction. Select Sport or Sport+ modes and more torque is diverted to the rear wheels, yet the chassis remains planted rather than playful. More ‘Golf R’ than ‘Type R’, in other words.

Mercedes-Benz AMG A35

Much of the time, that slight detachment is welcome, making the A35 comfortable and easy to live with. Unlike some cars of its ilk (here’s looking at you, Renault Megane RS), it doesn’t constantly shout about how sporty it is. Occasionally, you may wish for a malleability and a magic that isn’t quite there – perhaps a less civilised soundtrack, too. But you’ll rarely hanker for more speed. On British B-roads, most drivers this side of Lewis Hamilton will cover ground more confidently – and likely more quickly – in this baby Benz than AMG’s flagship GT supercar.

Mercedes has pitched the A35 perfectly. It’s not madcap enough to overshadow the upcoming A45, nor is it too sober to justify an AMG badge. Like the now-ubiquitous Golf R, it serves up driving fun, practicality and car-park kudos in a well-rounded package. It’s a car for the North Coast 500 and the North Circular. And that, surely, is what hot hatchbacks were all about in the first place.

Price: £35,580

0-60mph: 4.7 secs

Top speed: 155mph

CO2 G/KM: 169

MPG combined: 38.7

Mercedes-AMG A35: in pictures

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Mercedes prepares eActros electric truck for service

Mercedes electric truck

Customers have been testing the Mercedes-Benz eActros electric truck for over a year, so it’s almost ready for active service. It’s due to go into production in 2021.

Just in time, given Bristol city plans to charge diesel trucks £100 per day for entry in 2021, with many other cities likely to follow suit.

eActros ‘innovation fleet’

Mercedes electric truck

Mercedes calls its range of electric trucks the ‘innovation fleet’. The mileage count built up by customer testers is now into five figures. The results and commentary from businesses and testers are being taken on board by the marque, as it prepares the truck for production. 

Ten companies across Germany put the trucks to use, including Hermes. They were used for a variety of haulage tasks. Mercedes says that “heavy-duty short-radius distribution is already possible with local zero emissions and quiet operation”.

Bristol, Mercedes-Benz is looking at you…

How far will the eActros go?

Mercedes electric truck

Mercedes has found that, regardless of payload or route, the eActros is good for a realistic electric range of around 120 miles. Not exactly up to Tesla’s claims for its semi, but a start nonetheless.

The potential for driving style to recover more miles is there, too, with the effective use of the recuperation system. The truck and all associated systems, such as climate control, reportedly performed flawlessly in all temperatures.

The batteries have a 240kWh capacity, which can be charged in two hours using a 150kW charger.

Mercedes electric truck

“We’re on absolutely the right track with the concept behind the Mercedes-Benz eActros,” said Andreas von Wallfeld, head of marketing, sales and services at Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

“For me, this is the key finding after more than a year of extremely intensive real-world trials with our battery-electric heavy-duty short-radius distribution truck.”

Jay Kay’s classic Mercedes estate heads to auction

Jay Kay Mercedes

Jay Kay has owned everything from a McLaren 675LT to a ‘Kermit Green’ LaFerrari. But the Mercedes-Benz estate heading under the hammer at this weekend’s NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, England is a little more down-to-earth.

Not that it comes with a down-to-earth price tag. In fact, you could say that the pre-auction estimate for the 1983 Mercedes-Benz 280 TE wagon is cosmic, girl.

Silverstone Auctions has given the Thistle Green estate an estimate of between £20,000 to £25,000 ($26,000 to $32,000), which might seem steep for an ageing load-lugger, but there are many reasons why it stands every chance of reaching such heady heights.

The celebrity factor shouldn’t be underestimated. Although the Jamiroquai frontman only bought the car in 2009, his reputation as a collector of fine vehicles gives it real provenance. One suspects that Jay Kay doesn’t buy just any old motor.

But there’s more to this Mercedes-Benz than a link to a music icon. The estate version of the W123 series Mercedes is regarded as one of the finest vehicles of its kind – people pay good money for fine examples.

The original Mercedes ‘Stationswagen’

Jay Kay Mercedes estate

Known as the ‘T’ (for Tourism and Transport) – with an internal designation of ‘S’ for Stationwagen – this was the company’s first production estate car. Although it was technically similar to the saloon, the estate had a bespoke feel, thanks to upgrades including self-levelling hydropneumatic rear suspension and carpeting throughout.

These vehicles were pressed into hard service, often used on business during the week and for family and lifestyle reasons at the weekend. Which is why it’s remarkable that this 1983 car has covered a mere 30,000 miles from new. It would appear that Jay Kay has added just 1,500 miles during his time, which suggests he’d prefer to drive his Enzo or LaFerrari.

It’s also worth noting that the car’s MOT expired in August 2019, so the winning bidder won’t be driving it away from the NEC unless it’s tested before the auction.

Jay Kay Mercedes interior

The 280 TE, powered by the six-cylinder petrol engine, is the pinnacle of the W123 estate range, and Jay Kay’s motor features cruise control, air conditioning, ABS, alloy wheels and headlight wash-wipe.

It’s not cheap, but when you consider that the top estimate is roughly the same as an entry-level Mercedes-Benz A-Class or GLA, it begins to make more sense. Besides, neither of these cars offers a rear-facing child bench in the boot.

If Jay Kay’s Mercedes-Benz appeals to you, it will be going under the hammer at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale on 9 November 2019.

Mercedes-Benz G 350d review: sensible nonsense

Mercedes G-Class G350 review 2019

The image of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class in recent years is that of a Sunset Boulevard cruiser kept in production by the Kardashian family, who seem to have at least one each. It’s also best-known today as the G63: an AMG V8-powered brute with garish wheels and trumpeting side exhausts.

The rise to Instagram and rap video stardom of the big G seems contrary to its original purpose. After all, Geländewagen, roughly translated, means ‘go-anywhere car’.

When we tested the aforementioned Mercedes-AMG G63 last year, we couldn’t help but hanker for the diesel version with small wheels. Well, now we’ve had one.

More refinement on the road

Mercedes G-Class G350 review 2019

For the past 40 years, the G-Class has been rivalled only by the Land Rover Defender for off-road capability. That was down to its three locking differentials and, until very recently, a solid axle at the front and rear. The G, like the Defender, has remained faithful to an old-school template – and has somewhat suffered for that as a road car.

Apart from being fitted with tyres made for supercars, the old one also handled like an old Land Rover. Indeed, grippy rubber only highlighted its limitations all the more. We’re pretty sure you could cock the inside front wheel in tight corners if you were brave enough.

The new G has gone independent at the front end, although the back retains a beam axle. The result is transformative to its road manners – and it actually has more wheel travel for when you venture off-piste.

Mercedes G-Class G350 review 2019

Also new is the 286hp 3.0-litre straight-six diesel engine, which is every bit as brilliant as we’d hoped. Coupled with Merc’s excellent nine-speed transmission, it’ll return 30mpg economy on a longer run – and shift all 2,600kg to 62mph in 7.4 seconds.

On the inside, it gets a contemporary cabin that feels like an S-Class in a greenhouse. Add it all up and you have a G-Class without compromise.

OK, maybe not entirely without compromise. The G is a bit of a brick, so wind noise can be intrusive at speed. But we’d be reluctant to sacrifice those chunky looks in the name of better refinement.

The art of articulation

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We then took to the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside in search of somewhere to test the G’s off-road skills. Although 20 inches is quite large for an alloy wheel, they still leave room for thick-walled all-terrain tyres.

Traversing the rutted forest trails, the G made short work of uneven surfaces: 40mph was smooth as silk. An old Defender would have been in bits in our dusty wake. After a bit of exploring, including a dead-end excursion into the woods, we found a suitable testing spot.

Some consumer testing today. Articulation: ☑️ pic.twitter.com/1NiQ2uSCtZ

— Ethan Jupp (@EthanIsSaying) October 3, 2019

 

A crater, which obviously saw regular use by local off-road enthusiasts, offered descents of varying levels of severity down into its claggy depths. The short overhangs and impressive articulation of the G-Class would be a real boon here.

We exited the bowl up a middle-tier ascent, with ruts part-way up, and clambered out with the suspension at full flex. It gave onlookers a nice view of the dual-reservoir shock absorbers at the rear.

Mercedes G-Class G350 review 2019

OK, so we weren’t exactly crossing the Darrien gap. But for all its bling, its ambient lighting and Burmester stereo that costs as much as a whole classic Land Rover, the Mercedes never felt out of its comfort zone. Its jutting wheelarches give a good perspective on the extremities of the car at the sides, helped by the all-round camera system. A lot of modern off-roaders feel like fish out of water in these scenarios. The G just doesn’t.

Allow us to paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson: if you have an expensive watch that can handle 2,000 feet of depth in the ocean, it makes you feel better when you drop it in the sink.

The G-Class is the watch you wouldn’t hesitate to take deep-sea diving. It’s an old-school mud-masher with a luxurious veneer, not the other way round. Then again, I had an inkling of that before even firing it up, with the industrial ‘chonk’ of the door slamming shut. It speaks of longstanding solidity.

Mercedes-Benz G 350d: verdict

For the first time, the G-Class is genuinely a car you can recommend to people over a Range Rover or an Audi Q7. It’s not a seven-seater, and it’s not as commodious, but it’ll hold its money better, looks cooler, and feels a lot more at home when the going gets rural. It’s also just as sturdy on-road the rest of the time, with a nicer cabin.

For a car with capabilities far behind what most people will need, it’s really quite sensible. It really has had what the Kardashians call a ‘glow up’ and feels, at 40 years old, in the prime of its life.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G350d AMG Line: specification

Engine: 3.0-litre straight-six diesel mild-hybrid

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic, four-wheel-drove

Power: 286hp

Weight: 2,451kg

0-62mph: 7.4 seconds

Top speed: 124mph

Fuel economy: 29.4mpg

CO2: 253g/km

Length/width/height: 4,606/1,984/1,969mm

Boot size: 667 litres

Price: £94,065

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