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Get muddy in Mercedes-Benz's new entry-level G-Wagen

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class started life nearly four decades ago as a rugged, do-it-all off-roader. It has gained premium features and a six-digit price tag over time, but Mercedes has just announced a stripped-down, entry-level G designed to go far off the beaten path.

Called G350d, the off-roader loses most of the chrome trim and sporty styling cues that characterize its more posh siblings. Instead, it gains a sturdy steel front bumper, a flat black grille, and 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped by all-terrain tires. The list of options includes a Professional Off-Road package, which bundles a roof rack with a ladder, dark-tinted glass, and protective grilles for the lights.

A more modern-looking dashboard helps make the cabin more ergonomic, while the list of creature comforts includes a multi-function steering wheel and a power-adjustable steering column. Make no mistake, the G isn’t going soft. It still ships with anti-slip surfaces in lieu of carpet and drain plugs built into the floor.

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Power for the G350d is provided by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine that generates 245 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and a robust 442 pound-feet of torque from 1,600 to 2,400 rpm. Mercedes points out its newest SUV can hit 60 mph from a stop in 8.8 seconds, and go on to a top speed of 100 mph. A seven-speed automatic transmission is the only unit offered.

More importantly, the G350d sits a little bit taller than other members of the G-Class lineup. Consequently, it boasts approach and departure angles of 36 and 39 degrees, respectively. And if that’s not enough, the G350d is capable of driving through nearly two feet of water.

Scheduled to launch in September, the Mercedes-Benz G350d carries a base price of €79,968, a sum that converts to nearly $90,000 once taxes are factored in. It won’t be offered on our side of the pond, meaning the $119,900 G550 will remain the most affordable member of the G lineup in the foreseeable future.