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  • The Mercedes-Benz G-Classes (W 463) in brilliant blue and selenite grey drive one after the other along a road that leads along a forest, in the background trees can be seen.
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    The G-Class in the land of contrasts: Japan.

    The off-road legend carries the #japanexplorers on their two-week journey through the land of contrasts and extremes. Just like the “G”, Japan stands for progress – while retaining a firm grip on its values.

    Text: Daniel Schumacher/Pia Feyh
    Photos: Max Muench, Alen Palander, Oliver Astrologo

Japan explorers.

A road trip across Japan – with the two G-Classes. Jump in the back seat right here in your messenger and be a part of the #japanexplorers. Join five international photographers and filmmakers on a trip giving you insights into a rich culture between an ever-changing, innovative digital spirit and a deep love for tradition.

Which adventures will they find between the urban canyons of Tokyo and the exposed temples of ancient shrines? Where will those winding roads take our brand-new G and its predecessor? Climb in and experience the G-Class up close – only via our FB Messenger!

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class (W 463) in brilliant blue on a stony off-road track in the woods.

A road trip of contrasts.

High-tech cities, mountain ranges blanketed in forests, thousand-year-old customs – more than virtually any other land, Japan is an impressive mix of tradition, modernity, urban lifestyle and nature. Max Muench, Alen Palander, Oliver Astrologo, Simone Sampo and Carlos Mario Kurschilgen: five international photographers and filmmakers experience this symbiosis on a road trip with two Mercedes-Benz G-Classes.

Ahead of its time.

Towering neon signs glow brightly in the twilight, cars trundle through the mega-city in the shadow of the enormous Shibuya109 shopping mall, early-evening crowds snake their way along pavements and walkways. In the midst of it all is Alen Palander, an urban and lifestyle photographer from Toronto, with the new G 500. For him, the Shibuya intersection is an allegory for life in Tokyo. According to estimates, up to 1,000 pedestrians cross this intersection during peak periods – every time the lights change. Further south, the team in the G-Classes comes across another extraordinary traffic structure – the Kawazu-Nanadaru Loop bridge. The road winds upwards like a corkscrew, scaling an altitude of almost 50 metres in the tightest of spaces.

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class (W 463) in brilliant blue is driving from right to left over the Shibuya junction in Tokyo in front of the blurred city scenery in the background.

G 500: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 12,1–11,5 l/100 km; CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 276–263 g/km.¹

City panorama of Tokyo at dusk, on the Roppongi Hills.

Unlimited.

Time for a break from driving and a visit to Tokyo’s Digital Art Museum. The exhibition shows the art of the future. Holograms, light sculptures and mirrors create a world in which the various different artworks appear to merge into one another. One space becomes a virtual waterfall, while another looks like a forest of lamps. Carlos Mario Kurschilgen, a video producer from Cologne, commits it all to his memory card. Then from a viewing platform in Roppongi, the crew gains an appreciation of the sheer size of the city. The jungle of high-rise buildings extends all the way to the horizon. With their modern architecture, the skyscrapers stand in stark contrast to the traditional construction of the Japanese temples.

Highlights.

Preserving history.

To ensure the gods are benevolent, a Shinto priest blesses the two G-Classes. This particular custom is extremely popular among the Japanese – mainly at New Year or on buying a new car. The ceremony attracts a great deal of attention to the two off-roaders. The #japanexplorers crew watches on, fascinated by this meeting of old and new.

The visit to the Geishas – known locally in Kyoto as Geikos – is a goose-bump moment, especially for Oliver Astrologo, a videographer from London, and his colleague, Simone Sampo. To this day, they are seen as preservers of ancient and traditional arts. Geikos master several Japanese musical instruments, are experts in dance and song, and perfected in the ritual of the traditional tea ceremony – to name just a few of the skills of these much-loved entertainment artists.

Vlog 1.

Places worthy of protection.

The sunrise bathes Mount Fuji in a golden-blue light. The water of the Lake Tanuki mirrors the snow-covered volcano almost perfectly. The terrain becomes more challenging as the altitude rises, and both G-Classes once again enjoy the chance to demonstrate their excellent handling characteristics on the winding mountain road. A short time later, the vehicles break through the cloud cover into the sunlight just a few hundred metres below the summit of Mount Fuji.

Panorama of Mount Fuji photographed from the opposite side of a lake, with a jetty, boats and a forest landscape.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class (W 463) in brilliant blue and selenite grey, which drive up a road one behind the other in front of a mountainous forest backdrop in foggy visibility.

A rugged departure.

The crew has a lot of miles to cover before the next stop. Alen is relaxed at the wheel – comfort is a big thing on long road trips. By the time they reach the Hosono Highlands, raindrops are pattering on the windscreens. Ideal conditions for testing the skills of these off-road icons. The muddy ground is not a problem for the two vehicles, and rugged inclines are mastered with consummate ease. The trip on the wild side is a blast for the crew. Time for the next photo shoot. Max Muench, outdoor photographer from Berlin, clicks enthusiastically on the shutter release of his Olympus camera. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the perfect tool for landscape photographers.

Vlog 2.

Perceived contrasts.

In Japan, advanced technology meets a love of tradition and a deep affinity with nature. Just like the 40-year-old off-road legend, Japan is admirable in its balance of these apparent contradictions. A very special journey – not least because of these two versatile vehicles that guided the five photographers and videographers through the skyscraper jungle, impressive nature and rugged terrain.

To find out more about Japan as a travel destination click here.

Bird’s eye view of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (W 463) in brilliant blue, driving on a serpentine road in a brownish forest.

Vlog 3.

Image gallery.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 31.01.2019.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

2 Die angegebenen Werte sind die „gemessenen NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 2 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153, die im Einklang mit Anhang XII der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 692/2008 ermittelt wurden. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Aufgrund gesetzlicher Änderungen der maßgeblichen Prüfverfahren können in der für die Fahrzeugzulassung und ggf. Kfz-Steuer maßgeblichen Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung des Fahrzeugs höhere Werte eingetragen sein. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch und die CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.