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Both Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover rolled redesigned, modernized versions of their classic 4×4 nameplates in the last few years. The Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G Class (aka G Wagon) together bear the torch for vintage-inspired, boxy off-roaders on the luxury market. They’re direct competitors, each offering a blend of high-end luxury and robust all-terrain capabilities. But the Land Rover Defender has a very distinct advantage over the G Class.  

Is the Defender cheaper than the G Wagon?

The Land Rover Defender has an advantage in that it is much more affordable than the Mercedes-Benz G Class. 

Despite competing in the same segment and bearing similarly vintage styling, these two models have quite the price disparity. According to Car and Driver, the Defender starts at a pretty reasonable $54,975. The G Wagon meanwhile starts almost $90,000 higher at an eye-watering $141,050. 

A few factors play into this pricing gap. 

For one, Mercedes-Benz doesn’t beat around the bush with a stripped-down G Wagon in the U.S. market. It gets straight to the point, offering even base models with an array of premium features and technologies. In contrast, Land Rover offers a pretty basic two-door version of the Defender that’s outfitted with only necessities like cloth seats and steel wheels. 

There’s also the pop culture factor. The G Class has garnered a reputation as the vehicle of choice for many celebrities and athletes and Mercedes-Benz has leaned into that identity with gusto. While the Land Rover Defender is a cult classic among 4×4 enthusiasts, it still doesn’t have the same cultural clout as the G Wagon. 

Trim upgrades and options quickly make the Defender more expensive

The G Wagon competitor may have a starting MSRP around $55,000 – but it isn’t hard to push that price up past $100,000 with options and packages. 

For example, simply going up one trim level from the base Defender 110 bumps the price past $70,000. Add a few options and you’ll see $80,000 in no time. Meanwhile, Car and Driver reports that the top-trim Defender lands at a price over $112,000.

It remains short of the G Wagon’s gargantuan prices. Still, the Land Rover Defender is anything but a cheap luxury SUV. 

Is the Land Rover Defender faster than the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon?

The Mercedes-Benz is faster and more powerful out of the box than the Land Rover Defender. This is where the G Wagon pulls away from its rival. 

The Defender’s available turbocharged inline-six engine can help it accelerate from zero to 60 mph in a respectable 6.2 seconds, according to Car and Driver’s testing. The G Wagon beats it by a full second – and that’s with the base engine. 

Upgrading to the Mercedes-AMG G63 gets you a twin-turbo V8 making no less than 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than enough to propel the AMG G63 to 60 mph from a standstill in about four seconds. 

But then there’s the V8 Defender.

With its available supercharged 5.0-liter V8, the Land Rover Defender can keep pace with the base G Class. However, it’s still slower than the AMG G63.

Which vintage-inspired luxury off-roader is superior?

A green Land Rover Defender sits in front of a gray wall. The Defender is a top competitor against the Mercedes-Benz G Class.
Land Rover Defender | Land Rover

It’s hard to pick a clear winner between the Land Rover Defender and the Mercedes-Benz G Class. Both are among the best 4×4 vehicles on the market and can handle most any all-terrain challenge thrown their way. They’re also exceptionally well-equipped with all sorts of luxurious creature comforts. 

That being said, each model has its own use case where it fares better. 

The Mercedes-Benz G Class may be expensive, yet it earns its price tag with its unmistakable looks, immense power, and all-or-nothing attitude. It’s the perfect SUV for splitting the difference between modern fashion mogul and ‘80s action star. 

On the other hand, the Land Rover Defender is more likely to please more focused off-road enthusiasts. Its stripped-down base trims are more attuned to punishment on the trails while its higher trims maintain the brand’s luxury appeal.


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