The recent Bollywood blockbuster ‘Animal’ has had a surprising side effect: it’s sent the popularity of the Mercedes Benz G-Wagen aka G-Class soaring. Scenes of the hulking SUV tearing through the Indian countryside have captured the imagination of moviegoers, and social media is now awash with clips of G-Wagens in action. It was perfect timing for Mercedes Benz India to send over the new G400d for us to test drive. Right after the car was dropped off, it became the centre of attention wherever we went. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the G400d from rickshaw drivers to aunties on scooters. It’s a defiantly eye-catching car, and there’s no doubt that ‘Animal’ has played a role in its newfound popularity. Of course, the G-Wagen’s appeal goes beyond just its movie star status. It’s a genuinely capable off-roader, with a luxurious interior and a powerful engine. It’s no wonder, then, that it’s become such a popular choice among those who can afford it.
Whether you’re a fan of ‘Animal’ or not, there’s no denying that the movie has helped to make the Mercedes Benz G-Wagen even more desirable. So, if you’re ever lucky enough to see one in person, take a moment to appreciate its unique blend of style and substance.
Let’s move on from all the pop culture of the G-Class to the current Mercedes-Benz G-Class which is a meticulously redesigned version of the 1970s Geländewagen, originally built as a rugged 4×4 for military and agricultural use. The updated model features an all-new chassis, modern Mercedes engines, transmissions, a redesigned body, and a leather-clad interior equipped with 21st-century connectivity. While smoother, faster, and more luxurious than its predecessor, it retains iconic elements like exposed door hinges, push-button handles, and a distinctive central-locking system for a touch of old-school charm.
The G400d has a boxy appearance and prominent fender flares, which are characteristics of the classic G-Class that have drawn admiration for decades. Its angular headlights and massive grille accentuate its commanding stance, while its side-mounted spare tyre and black roof rails allude to its spirit of adventure. The Adventure Edition is essentially a dressed-up version of the G400d, amping up its rugged appeal with specific design elements. Think, of rugged fender flares, and a prominent roof rack ready for all your overlanding gear. It also came with 275/55 R19 Pirelli Scorpion Zero tyres which looked the part for this Adventure edition.
The G400 is outfitted exactly like any Mercedes-Benz would be. A powerful Burmester 13-speaker sound system, power-adjustable leather seats, digital screens that span two thirds of the large, leather-capped dash, and all the luxury and safety features you expect behind the three-pointed star await you inside.
This marks the second time Mercedes-Benz has introduced a diesel-powered G-Class in India. The earlier G350d, launched in 2019, is now succeeded by the G400d. Although both models share the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, the G400d boasts an enhanced power output of 326 bhp, a significant increase from the previous 286 bhp. The torque has also seen a substantial boost, reaching an impressive 71.38 kgm.
The nine-speed automatic gearbox that is mated to the diesel engine feels robust; it shifts gears smoothly and builds speed readily, even under strong acceleration. Still, Mercedes-Benz asserts that the G400d is a formidable SUV, goes from 0-100 kph in a mere 6.4 seconds.
The G400d boasts not one, not two, but three locking differentials, making it a true off-road beast. Think of them as three invisible chains, one for each axle, that can magically lock the wheels together.
Imagine this: You’re stuck in deep sand, one wheel spinning frantically while the others just dig deeper. This is where the magic happens. By activating the front differential lock, you essentially connect the left and right wheels, turning them into a united force to get out of any tricky situation. So, while the G400d might look like a luxurious city cruiser, its three locking differentials reveal its true nature: a conquering off-roader ready to tackle any challenge you throw its way.
The G400d’s ride and handling are a testament to its versatility. It’s a car that can seamlessly transition from conquering mountains to cruising city streets. While it might not be the sharpest tool in the shed for cornering, its off-road prowess and surprisingly comfortable on-road demeanour make it a compelling choice for adventure seekers who demand both luxury and capability. Ultimately, the G400d is a car that defines its own category, blurring the lines between SUV and off-road beast.
After spending a day behind the wheel of the G400d, one name kept popping into my head: Otto. Not just any Otto, mind you, but the legendary 1988 G-Wagen nicknamed ‘Otto’ that traversed 215 countries and almost a million kilometres with its intrepid owners, Gunther Holtorf and Christine. Every bump, every turn, every triumphant climb over seemingly insurmountable terrain echoed Otto’s spirit of adventure, reminding me that the G-Wagen wasn’t just a car; it was a passport to endless possibilities.
Sure, the ₹ 2.55 crore price tag might make you wince, but as you navigate cityscapes with effortless luxury and then effortlessly transition to dirt trails that would make lesser SUVs whimper in fear, you understand the G400d’s premium. This isn’t just a car; it’s an investment in experiences, a gateway to unexplored horizons.
2925 cc, 6 Cylinders Inline
326 bhp @ 3600 rpm
71.38 kgm @ 1200 rpm
F/R: 275 / 60 R19
₹2.55 crore (ex-showroom)