Test: Mercedes G-Class against Range Rover P400e - Auto & Mobil

On paper, the Range Rover P400e is all that the Mercedes G-Class is not: modern and economical. But the test shows: In reality, the hybrid SUV is just as a gas guzzler.

Edgy, archaic, those are the first terms that come to mind when you see the Mercedes G-Class in the parking garage enthroned. A wall unit of a car. The SUV still looks a bit like a military vehicle. No wonder, it was developed exactly for this target group in 1979. Even headroom has a simple reason: soldiers should be able to control the Mercedes without having to remove their helmets. Since then a lot has happened. Again and again, the G-Class has been modernized over the decades. Because in the area of ​​the Mercedes is hardly to be found. Rather, he has become a trendsetter. Off-road vehicles are rolling through cities today – and the G-Class is a pioneer of the SUV boom.

For the former military vehicle, this is a difficult balancing act: The off-road capabilities of the 2.5-ton Mercedes are legendary, its comfort on the road compared to mau. Everything should change now with the current version, which brings past and modernity together.

Autotest Out of time

Mercedes G-Class in the test

Fallen out of time

The new G-Class from Mercedes stands for cars of yesteryear – even if they should depend on the paved roads most other models loose.By Georg Kacher


Same design paired with the traditional V8 engine meets a roadholding that finally holds what promises the price of at least 107 000 euros. But the G-Class is also venturing into those areas where imitators have long since become widespread.

Such as the Range Rover P400e (price: 120 000 Euro). A modern SUV, which also wants to exist in the area, but gets in his life as a car maximum a gondola free dirt road in front of the radiator. Geared towards luxury, equipped with a modern engine. A four-cylinder with two liters of displacement, which complements an electric motor and moves with 404 hp in the same power range as the V8 of the G-Class (422 hp). An aggregate of the future versus the old credo: Much helps a lot.

Focused on luxury: the Range Rover P400e

(Photo: JLR Global PR)

It gets loud in the Range Rover only on the highway

For environmental friendliness, the plug-in hybrid of the Range Rover was not developed. Land Rover's customers mainly buy large engines due to the heavy weight of the SUVs. In order to meet the EU's CO2 targets, the British need to quickly reduce their fleet emissions. In the short term this is only possible with hybrid engines. This also explains why the P400e is 5000 euros cheaper than the comparable Range Rover with eight cylinders. On the paper, this works perfectly: the ride comfort is first-class, the P400e slides in conjunction with the electric motor almost silently on the road. In the same way, an SUV must be able to drive despite its size: sublime, hovering over things. It only gets loud at higher speeds on the highway. Then the two-liter four-cylinder comes to its limits and roars unusually gruff.

But this hovering is just an illusion. The pure electric range of the plugin hybrids is just 50 kilometers – if the gas foot is used very carefully. This requires the Range Rover to be plugged in for at least four hours. If you do not have a fast-charging station in front of the house, then you drive with gasoline again. Although the electric motor is supposed to recharge when braking, among other things by braking – in our test, it is hardly noticeable. After just one hour, the battery is dead, without much changes on the following kilometers. The manufacturer's stated standard consumption of a record-breaking 2.8 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers is wishful thinking. About eleven liters are in our test. This is annoying because Range Rover pretends to its customers, they could control a car of this size and still drive sparingly.

A car for self-proclaimed big-city cowboys

The Mercedes G-Class is more honest in this regard. She does not pretend to be anything but her: a pompous anachronism. The roar of the engine is a constant noise for drivers of the G-Class. Despite modernization still hums an eight-cylinder sonor under the bonnet of the Mercedes. Pure performance for a car that hardly ever embarrassed having to retrieve it. As a result, the road turns into an off-road course in thought. Every curb is an obstacle that can be overcome with pleasure, every roundabout just to plow through it. A car perfect for self-proclaimed big-city cowboys. Not to mention that the G-Class continues to drive rather spongy on the highway, but it can not.

If it were 1979, every passionate motorist would have fun with this Mercedes. 40 years later, that's simply out of date. Just a look at the consumption is enough: 16 liters per 100 kilometers are in our test period. An almost astronomical value. Unfortunately, the Range Rover is not an alternative. He promises a contemporary concept, but his electric motor is only good for short commuter routes. At the end of its reach, the P400e is just as fuel-guzzling as any other overweight car. Actually, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger showed that things could be different at the G-class premiere in Detroit in December. The declared supporters of the G-Class simply solved the environmental problem of his car for lack of alternatives: He had his off-road vehicle converted into an electric car. Maybe that's what serves both Range Rover and Mercedes as inspiration.

The test cars were made available to the editors by the manufacturer.

Electromobility and alternative propulsion Things are happening on the market for electric cars

Things are happening in the market for e-cars

More and more electric models are coming to the market. From the family car with seven seats to the small city car for well under 20 000 euros.


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