For 40 years the G-Class has been the measure of all things in the off-road-vehicle segment, and for 20 years as an AMG model, too, with an extra portion of performance. This makes it by far the longest-standing passenger car model series built in Mercedes-Benz history and thus the forefather of all SUVs with the three-pointed star. To mark this anniversary there are no less than four highlights for G-Class fans. Firstly: three attractive STRONGER THAN TIME special models. Secondly: on request the special model is exclusively available as the G 400 d with the efficient inline six-cylinder diesel engine OM 656. Thirdly: the new individualisation range G manufaktur, with which customers can select from their own personal G. And fourthly: the new G-Class Experience Center, where customers from all over the world can test the impressive skills of the off-road icon in extreme terrain not far from the G-Class production site in Graz.
G 400 d: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 9,6 l/100 km; CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 253 g/km.¹
“40 years ago the combination of on- and off-road properties was a revolutionary concept. The current G-Class continues this tradition. Its top technological performance today forms the basis for its status as an automotive icon,” says Dr Gunnar Güthenke, Head of the Off-Road Vehicle product unit at Mercedes-Benz. “We are celebrating this exceptional status with lots of highlights for our customers and fans. I am convinced that, for the G-Class, it is just the beginning.”
What began in the early 1970s with a collaboration agreement between the then Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in the Austrian city of Graz is now a unique piece of automotive history. The concept for the new off-road vehicle was in itself unusual: it combines superior off-road capability with fully-fledged roadworthiness and safety. All-wheel drive and 100-percent differential locks have also been part of the “G” since that time, as has the robust ladder-type frame.
In 1975 the decision was also made to commence series production of the G models. At the same time it was agreed to construct a new plant in Graz, where the vehicles have been manufactured ever since, mainly built by hand. 80 percent of all the G-Class vehicles ever produced are still in use – testament to the outstanding quality of the off-road legend.
At the time of its market launch, in the spring of 1979, it was available with a choice of four engine variants covering a performance range from 53 kW (72 PS) to 115 kW (156 PS). Customers had the option of a Cabriolet with a short wheelbase and Station Wagon models with a short or long wheelbase. In 1989 the vehicles of the model series 463 marked the beginning of an evolutionary process for the off-roader that was continually keeping pace with technical progress. Since 1993, the model has borne the name G-Class.
In numerous special-purpose versions, the off-roader also showed its versatility in operation with the police, fire service and rescue services. The G model is also known the world over as the “Popemobile”. The 230 G off-road vehicle painted in mother of pearl with a transparent special body accompanied Pope John Paul II on numerous journeys from 1980.
The 20th birthday in 1999 was also the beginning of a highly successful chapter in G-Class history: the first AMG variant entered the market in the form of the G 55 AMG. Prior to that the G-Class was only available from AMG as individual specimens. The 5.5-litre eight-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with three-valve technology achieved 260 kW (354 PS); the maximum speed was electronically limited at 210 km/h. The maximum torque worked flat out: 525 Nm at 3.000 rpm. It was not only the engine which received extensive modifications; the 5-speed automatic transmission, the chassis, the brakes and the exhaust system were also adapted to the higher output.
The G 63 AMG 6x6 was especially spectacular, stunning the off-roader world in 2013: with 400 kW (544 PS), six driven wheels, off-road reduction in the transfer case, portal axles for more ground clearance, five differentials lockable during the journey and a tyre pressure control system the G 63 6x6 AMG systematically met all the topographical and meteorological challenges at which other vehicles had thus far failed. And the high-quality, refined interior with individual rear seats guaranteed its driver and passengers optimum high-class comfort, even in extreme off-road use. There was similar performance in 2015 as part of a package suitable for the city in the G 500 4x4² derived from that model. Not only did it bring a luxurious interior; it also boasted ground clearance of 45 centimetres and impressive on-road capabilities.
G 500: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 12,1–11,5 l/100 km; CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 276–263 g/km.¹
A new era began in January 2018: the new G-Class celebrated its premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Whilst the edgy exterior remained unmistakeable as the iconic classic, the new model received a fundamentally restyled interior. Technologically it set standards once again: on-road the G-Class reinvented itself – with modern assistance systems, outstanding handling and optimum safety. Off the road it surpassed itself: the new suspension, the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes, the “G-Mode” and the three 100-percent differential locks enhanced performance, ride comfort and agility – on any surface.
The three STRONGER THAN TIME Editions to mark the anniversary year, including an AMG variant, are a real birthday treat. The Mercedes-Benz special models for 40 years of the G-Class are available in two engine versions. Exclusively available for the special model, the most powerful expansion stage of the new inline six-cylinder diesel engine OM 656 in a G-Class is available as the G 400 d. With an output of 243 kW (330 PS) and an impressive maximum torque of 700 Nm at 3,400 to 4,600 rpm this top-of-the-range engine offers a generous portion of driving pleasure.
At the same time it is systematically designed to meet future emissions legislation (RDE – Real Driving Emissions). All components relevant for efficient emissions reduction are installed directly at the engine. This contributes to faster effectiveness of the catalytic converter and the diesel particulate filter. High-tech features such as the stepped-recess combustion process, the two-stage exhaust-gas turbocharging and the use of the variable valve train CAMTRONIC also ensure increases in efficiency.
Mercedes-AMG G 63: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 13,3–13,1 l/100 km; CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 304–299 g/km.¹
AMG is celebrating the 20th birthday of the performance G-Class with a STRONGER THAN TIME Edition for the Mercedes-AMG G 63 with a fittingly powerful drive system, the sophisticated AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension, AMG-specific drive programmes and a state-of-the-art interior.
The basis for the hallmark AMG Driving Performance both on and off metalled roads is provided by the 430 kW (585 PS) 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, the rear-biased all-wheel drive (40:60) with three differential locks, the extremely fast-shifting 9-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT automatic transmission, the double wishbone independent front suspension and the adaptive adjustable damping. The unmistakeable design creates strong highlights with the AMG-specific radiator grille, flared wheel arches, striking side pipes on the exhaust system and the up to 22-inch wheels.
With the new, optional AMG Trail Package the Mercedes-AMG G 63 is now even better equipped for excursions off the beaten track. The suspension with adaptive damping adjustment AMG RIDE CONTROL was tuned more softly for off-road use. It makes smoother work of poor road surfaces and also enables the wheels to follow uneven surfaces with precision. Thanks to the optimised ground contact in off-road terrain the off-road drive programmes Trail, Rock and Sand have a more efficient effect. The new tuning also helps increase on-road comfort over long distances. Exclusively designed for the AMG Trail Package, the 5-twin-spoke 20-inch light-alloy wheels with all-terrain tyres also visually reinforce the robust properties and the special off-road talent of the G 63 with the AMG Trail Package.
The new individualisation range G manufaktur offers scope for yet more exclusivity. With a total of around a million combination options for series and G manufaktur models the wide choice of G-Class versions knows virtually no bounds – theoretically, vehicles could actually be produced for several decades in Graz without any two of them being identical. In this way customers can design their own personal G from one G. The individualisation processes can be embedded into production in such a way that customers do not have to wait a long time for their vehicle, even when ordering from the G manufaktur range.
To coincide with the special birthday there is a very special present for G-Class fans: in the near future the G-Class Experience Center will be officially opened on the former Nittner aerodrome in Kalsdorf, around 15 kilometres to the south of Graz. It offers customers from all over the world the opportunity to test the extensive capabilities of the G-Class, to further develop their driving skills even in extreme terrain and to experience for themselves just what is behind the quality criterion “Schöckl proved”.
Not far from there on Graz’s own mountain, the Schöckl, is the legendary test track on which the G-Class has to prove its worth on the course stretching for 5.6 kilometres with inclines of up to 60 percent and roll angles up to 40 percent, representing fiercely extreme situations.