Yes we can buy the Mercedes-Benz G-Class in North America but because they think we are too rich and too shallow, we can only have the one Cindy Crawford would buy – the fully blinged out G550 and AMG variants G63 and G65.
To wit, our starting price here in the States is $119,900. That’s hefty change for one of the oldest pieces of hardware still roaming this planet. But while we Yanks say, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, the G-Class SUV remains a true off-road tool with some hefty credentials.
This brings us to other parts of the world where you can buy the new Mercedes-Benz G350d Professional, a less silk-lined and infotainment fettered off-road variant of the G that purrs like a diesel kitten and prowls rock strewn hills like a mountain lion.
The G350d enjoys the 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel employed in a number of vehicles we can buy here in the States. In this one it churns out 180 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. Power goes to a real four-wheel drive transfer case through a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Controlling the four-wheel drive system is still a push button affair, asking Mercedes-Benz for a lever on the floor might be a bit rash. You can lock both front and rear differentials, and smile knowing that all its hardware is held together with a rugged ladder frame underneath.
Granted, it’s not as fast as the turbocharged V8 gasoline variants we can buy here at home. Zero to 60 mph will take you a comparatively leisurely 8.8 seconds but that still falls into what we call reasonable given this thing’s weight.
But its about more than the diesel torque and hardware underneath, the G350d Professional is about looks too. It’s fashioned more in the rugged individualism and old-school safari trek set than for Rodeo Drive.
Here you get matte black trims for the grille, radiator and exterior hardware accouterments. Wheels aren’t diamond crusted Dubs, but 16-inch matte black alloys with 70-series off-road tires. A steel bumper is prepped for a winch, which is a factory option by the way. The thing even comes with a steel tube roof rack.
This nets the G350d Professional a 36 degree approach and a 39 degree departure angle. It also has a 24 degree break-over angle and can ford water 23-inches deep. These are all numbers that would make most Jeepers proud. And with the Professional package suspension, it gets an additional inch of ground clearance to boot.
And boots you can wear inside. This interior doesn’t have the expensive woods and leather lined surfaces you’d be afraid to muddy up. It does have a more modern dash and center stack than it used to, but it’s plain-a-fied. The floor lining is rubber, there are drains for hosing it out and the cargo area has a wood plank deck.
The thing is so down to business in fact the large infotainment screen that would normally sit on top of the center stack is replaced with a blank plate with two screws in it that simply reads “Professional”. Sweet. You don’t need no stinking navigation system anyhow.
While more rugged and to the point, it still offers the high-quality Mercedes-Benz fit and finish inside. And you can still stack back in some technology from the options list if your smart phone doesn’t already have everything you need.
Is it expensive? Yes. The reality is that even if Mercedes-Benz offered this very toy here in the States it would easily cost nearly as much as the G550 does now with all its fashion store glitz. But would it sell? We think so. Just because we are rich and shallow, don’t mean we’s stupid.