There was a time when hardcore off-roaders were the only kind you could buy. Then came the SUV tsunami and now hardcore off-roaders are the exception rather than the norm, and luxury hardcore off-roaders are more rare. There’s the Range Rover and then there’s this, the second full generation of the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen, now called G-Class to fit in with Benz’s streamlined modern names. The second G-Wagen hit the Detroit Motor Show this week, with Benz saving everybody 39 years of the original’s evolution by skipping straight past the military versions, hose-out interiors and small engines and into high-end luxury. Just five parts have been carried over from the original 1979 G-Wagen, the most significant of which is the windscreen-washer nozzle and the most obvious of which is the door handles’ plastic cover. Benz already has two gigantic SUVs, including the GLS, but can’t help feeling threatened by two Bentleys (the Bentayga and the even larger upcoming Falcon), the Lamborghi...

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