When you are looking for a serious off-roader there are a few notable picks. We have the Land Rover Defender, the Jeep Wrangler and finally the Mercedes Benz G-Class. The G-Wagen as it is popular known features the same rugged box shape that is the hallmark of serious off roaders. The car is manufactured in Austria by Magna Steyr, which was formerly known as the Steyr-Daimler-Puch. With this in mind the G-Wagen is sold under the Puch name in select markets as the Puch G.
What’s in a Name?
The G-Class is sometimes referred to as the G-Wagen, which is short for the German word Gelandewagen which means “cross country vehicle.”
The G-Class came about at the behest of a suggestion of the Shah of Iran who was at the time a shareholder of Mercedes. The Shah suggested that Mercedes build a military vehicle, which they did, and offered it simultaneously for civilian use as well in 1979. In its military form the G-Class is known as the “Wolf” and LAPV Enok.
Its development started back in 1972 where Diamler Benz and Steyr Diamler Puch as it was known at the time entered into an agreement, where Benz would come up with the design, while Puch would come up with the production plans. It stayed in development until 1978, where it was unveiled to the public and a year later it went into production. The first generation of the G-Wagen was known as the G 460 for civilians and the G461 for the military, both of which were launched at the same time. One of its top clients at the time was the Vatican who wanted a special G-Wagen that wore a clear thermoplastic top to serve as the Popemobile.
Currently, the G-Wagen is in its second generation and was launched back in 1990 as the G-Class 463. It featured a larger selection of engines and it has three electric locking differentials for better traction. Another notable upgrade was that it had a better interior with wooden accents and optional leather upholstery. There have been a number of updates since its launch where the car has evolved intrinsically while staying the same extrinsically. A plethora of new models have been released with some special editions. In 2006 the launch of the GL-Class was expected to replace the G-Class. However, the G-Wagen is still in production even today.
The G-Wagen comes in these trims:
- G-500 (Known as G-550 in the US, Canada and Japan)
- G 63 AMG
Powering the G-Wagon are V8, V6 and V12 engines. Notably, both the V8 and V6 engines used are both strictly petrol, while the V6 engines are all diesel. The most powerful engine belongs to G 65 AMG, which is a 6L V12 twin turbo that is capable of producing 604 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque. As for the most powerful V8 engine it belongs to the G 63 AMG, it’s a 6L twin turbo behemoth that powers up to 537 hp and 760 Nm of torque. Finally, if you are looking for a diesel the best engine is a 3L V6 turbo that produces 208 hp and 540 Nm of torque. Aiding all the engines are variations of a 7-speed auto transmission.
Vintage would be the word of anything that ages gracefully, and the G-Class’ cabin is vintage by far. Retro-styling with a modern touch, as the G-Wagon hasn’t changed much since its inception. Loaded up with the latest tech and modern amenities, however it falls short of competing with the likes of the Land Cruiser. But yet again this is the G-Wagon and it has developed its own cult like the Wrangler.
The box shaped SUV seems to be dissipating fast in today’s market, as many automakers are adopting a seemingly curvier look. The G-Cass is quite unique in its looks there isn’t any car quite like it. Raised and aggressive the G-Wagon makes for quite a sight.
Well to be honest this could be the car with the worst fuel economy you can buy, but yet again if you are forking out over $ 100,000 on a car, this could be the least of your worries. Another chagrin with the G-Wagon is that its interior feels dated, however maybe that is part of its identity. After all these, you ask how the G-Class has managed to endear itself to its clients. Maybe, it is its unique rugged look that makes it into quite an attention grabbing ute. Thus, if you are buying the G-Class it isn’t for practicality vis-à-vis efficiency, it’s more likely you feel drawn to it because of its looks. Off road the G-Class definitely holds its own and we can all agree that this is one area that it’s really accomplished. True as that may be, most of the people who are going to buy the G-Class are never going to use it on the back roads. While it’s a sure off-roader it certainly doesn’t offer the same performance on-road. In conclusion, the Mercedes Benz G-Class, has killer looks worth paying a hefty sum for.
Pricing for this rugged mid-sized SUV begins at $ 119,900.
I am wrong in my estimation that the G-Wagon is more bling than machine? Have your say, leave a comment.
Also, you may like:
- Jeep Wrangler: The Original Jeep
- Land Rover Defender: The British Jeep