Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Life begins at 40
IT ALL began in the early 1970s as Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch, based Graz, Austria, toyed with the concept of building a new off-road vehicle that combines superior all-terrain capability with full-fledged roadworthiness and safety. And, from the get-go, all-wheel drive, full differential locks and a ladder chassis were decided to form the basis of this all-new vehicle. This was the G model (or the Gelandewagen).
Construction of a new factory, where the G model will be built, began in 1975. Launch of the vehicle happened in early 1979. Four engines were available upon release. The G originally came in a short wheelbase Cabriolet and a long wheelbase Station Wagon. Ten years later it was markedly improved. Since 1993 the model has been known as the G-Class.
To mark the G-Class’s 40th anniversary, as well as its AMG version’s 20th, Mercedes-Benz announced four highlights in the model’s evolution. The first is the release of three “Stronger than Time” special variants that come with two engine choices and a host of driver-assist technologies and performance features. The second is the availability upon request of the G 400 d, a variant powered by an inline-six diesel engine. The third is the introduction of the new G manufaktur individualization range which allows customers to personalize the features of their G-Class. The fourth is the launch of the G-Class Experience Center near Graz where customers can test the skills of the off-road legend in extreme terrain.
Besides releasing these new offerings for the G-Class, Mercedes-Benz also looks back to the milestones of its iconic model. So, G-Class, this is your life:
The first G-Models were presented to the press. Production started for the 240 GD, 300 GD, 230 G and 280 GE.
During his visit to Germany in November 1980, Pope John Paul II was for the first time chauffeured in a “Popemobile” based on the 230 G.
Optional equipment available for the cabriolet now included air-conditioning, side-facing bench seats and a hardtop.
Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur were first across the Paris-Dakar Rally finishing line in a 280 GE.
The G was upgraded by a facelift, central locking and a rev counter.
The G received another facelift, power window lifts, an automatic antenna and a larger tank.
The 463 series was launched. It had superior equipment and four engine variants: 250 GD, 300 GD, 230 GE and 300 GE. Three body versions were offered: Convertible, short-wheelbase Station Wagon and long-wheelbase Station Wagon.
The 500 GE appeared as the first V8 model. From September the G models became officially known as the G-Class. The model designations were G 230, G 300 and G 350 Turbodiesel, among others.
Second facelift for the 463 series. It also received ventilated front disc brakes and a driver airbag.
The G 300 Turbodiesel with an inline six-cylinder engine was launched.
The G-Class Cabriolet debuted. It had an electrohydraulic soft top.
The G 500 with a V8 engine was added to the regular model range.
The G 55 AMG marked the entry of the AMG portfolio into the
The G-Class was given a considerably upgraded interior as part of a model facelift. The extended standard equipment included new dynamic control systems like ESP, braking assist BAS and the new ETS electronic traction system.
The G 63 AMG became the first G-Class propelled by a V12.
The new G 55 AMG with a supercharged V8 engine was launched. It was the most powerful G-Class to date (476hp).
Bi-xenon headlamps with cornering lights were added to the G-Class. The G 320 CDI replaced the previous diesel models G 270 CDI and G 400 CDI.
The G-Class was given a new instrument cluster with four analog dial instruments.
The new 5.5-liter V8 engine with 388hp was introduced. The vehicle’s grille came with three louvers.
Completely redesigned dashboard and center console, and a modern infotainment COMAND Online system were fitted as standard features. The G 65 AMG arrived powered by a 6.0-liter V12 engine outputting 1,000Nm — the world’s most powerful series production off-road vehicle at the time. The G 63 AMG was also launched with a 5.5-liter V8 biturbo.
The G 63 AMG 6×6 demonstrated superior off-road capabilities.
The new G 500 4×42 with portal axles entered series production.
With its superlative V12 engine, portal axles, electric fabric top and exclusive equipment specification in the rear compartment, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, limited to 99 units, met the expectations of customers who demand the highest standards in their vehicle.
The new G-Class celebrated its premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The vehicle was fitted with modern assistance systems, Dynamic Select drive programs, “G-Mode” and three full differential locks.
The G-Class turns 40, the AMG variant celebrates its 20th birthday.
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