Remember when we talked about the CLS getting a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine in China? Well, now we have a similar story regarding the mighty G-Class. The reputable off-roader was offered until recently only in the V8-powered G500 and AMG G63 versions, but a new variant has been added to the bottom of the lineup.
It’s called the G350 and kicks off from 1,429,800 Chinese Yuan or the equivalent of about $208,800 at today’s exchange rates. You could buy an AMG G63 ($156,450) in the United States and still have enough money left for another brick-shaped Mercedes SUV, a $38,600 GLB 250 4Matic on top of which you could add some optional equipment.
Not to be confused with the G350d pictured here, the China-spec G350 is a gasoline-fueled model rather than the oil burner sold in Europe with a 3.0-liter inline-six mill. The tiny-but-mighty 2.0-liter engine produces 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet (370 Newton-meters) of torque. That might not seem much for such a large and heavy vehicle, but it’s enough for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in a fairly decent 8.1 seconds en route to a top speed of 118 mph (190 km/h).
The four-pot muscle is channeled to the 4Matic system through a nine-speed automatic transmission in a G-Class specification that could remain a China-only affair. It’s a known fact the People’s Republic has high taxes for large-displacement engines, hence why Mercedes is downsizing the G’s engine to make it more attainable.
Curious to know how much the V8 models cost in China? You’d better sit down for this one. The G500 retails for the equivalent of $238,000 before options whereas the flagship AMG G63 kicks off at a whopping $325,500. The V12-powered AMG G65 with its huge twin-turbo 6.0-liter won’t return for the latest-generation G, not that many Chinese buyers would’ve been able to afford it anyway.