Video road test: Mercedes G350 BlueTEC LWB
I've been fascinated by Mercedes' Tonka-toy tough G-Class off-roader since owning a Siku model of the short-wheelbase version as a child.
I'm now 35, the G-Class is also over 30 and is now officially available again in the UK after a 10 year absence.
See more of the G-Class in action with my video road test below:
So when Mercedes offered me the chance to spend a week with a £81,715, G350 BlueTEC LWB, I was not only keen to fulfil a childhood dream but see whether this premium off-roader can still cut it on UK roads or whether it's just a rich man's toy.
It might be old, but Mercedes should be congratulated for making an old car feel like new with the latest technology and features.
For example, our G350 test car featured the latest BlueTEC 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, which is mated to the latest seven-speed automatic transmission. While inside, standard equipment includes modern Mercedes luxury features such as the Comand sat-nav system, heated and cooling front leather seats and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
Inside, the driving position is good and the seats really comfortable. Taller passengers might find rear space more of a problem, but the boot is huge and practically-shaped despite some wheel arch intrusion.
The G-Class feels as though it's built to last and the fit, finish and build-quality would I think shame many of the newer models from the three-pointed star brand.
It may have modern mechanicals and features, but to drive the G-Class feels definitely old school. The combination of 18-inch alloy wheels and Panhard rod suspension make for a unsettling ride on typical UK roads. This isn't helped by woefully imprecise power steering, that can make the G-Class feel much bigger than it is.
This is just proof that even Mercedes' latest electro-hydraulic power steering can't keep this old Merc under control. It's a shame, as there's enough performance to press on and although there's lots of body roll the G-Class goes round corners just fine.
Take it off-road and the G-Class is impressive, I went on some deeply rutted lanes and steep inclines and this car made light work of them.
So, if you can afford a G-Class - should you buy one? Well, I admit I'm slightly biased as this car can't really be judged alongside modern off-roaders. However, if you can afford it, there really is nothing like it and the fact it's still on sale after 30 years is impressive. It's very easy to see why the G-Class appeals to Premiership footballers and American rapstars, as now I want one too.