• Jan 20th 2009 at 12:29PM
  • 17
Click image above for a high-res gallery of Mercedes-Benz's timeless G-Wagen

The Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen has been with us for thirty years, and it has gone from military roots to plaything of the image conscious. First offered to the public in 1979, the G-Wagen has been continually refined over its run, and is still mostly hand-built. The details have changed, there have been two rounds of revisions, but the look has remained unmistakeable for the entirety of the model's run. A G-class has never been cheap, and it remains a pricey and utterly capable go-anywhere vehicle. Unfortunate, then, that many only see use as any old car would, never locking a differential. The GL-class was supposed to replace the Geländewagen, but it just ain't the same, so luckily, we get both. Carry on. Reminisce with the high-res gallery below and then check out the press release after the jump.

  • G-Class: A cross-country vehicle with a unique tradition
  • Robust engineering as basis for superb off-road capability
  • Latest technological innovations thanks to continuous model refinements
A classic celebrates its birthday. The Mercedes-Benz G was first introduced to the press from February 5 – 10, 1979. Its distinctive design, largely unchanged in thirty years, and its outstanding engineering have long since elevated the cross-country vehicle to cult status and made it one of the most coveted vehicles in the automobile market.
Development of the cross-country vehicle commenced in 1972 with a joint venture agreement between Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch, based in the Austrian city of Graz. In 1975 the decision was taken to launch the series and build a new plant for it in Graz, where the G is still mostly made by hand even today.
At the 1979 market launch, the vehicle came with four engine variants, with outputs ranging from 53 kW/72 hp to 110 kW/150 hp. A station wagon and a panel van, each in a short- and a long-wheelbase version, were the four original body variants available. These were complemented by an open cross-country vehicle with short wheelbase as a fifth body variant.
The current 463 series comprises three body variants: a two-door cabriolet, a three-door station wagon and a five-door station wagon. The top model of the current series is the five-door G 55 AMG Station Wagon, whose eight-cylinder engine delivers 507 hp (373 kW). There are also special versions for commercial customers and the military.
Owing to continuous model refinement, the G-Class has kept abreast of technological progress. It boasts an extremely efficient drive system. Combining permanent all-wheel drive with the electronically controlled 4ETS traction system, ESP®, a "low-range" ratio, plus three driver-selectable differential locks, the G-Class is a match for any off-road challenge, and at the same time affords typical Mercedes-Benz handling safety on the tarmac.
From the very beginning the G-Class was designed for operation in extremely difficult terrain. A sturdy base is provided by a perimeter frame made of box-section longitudinal and cross members that afford extraordinary rigidity against bending and distortion. The frame carries robust rigid axles featuring large coil springs with long spring travel advantageous for off-road operation. With gradeability of up to 80 percent, directional stability on lateral slopes of up to 54 percent, 21 centimetres of ground clearance, a 36-degree angle of approach and a 27-degree angle of departure, the G can conquer even the most difficult off-road stretches. At the same time the chassis affords safe, comfortable on-road driving performance.
The proven basic technical concept remains unchanged even today. Nevertheless, the engineers have continuously upgraded the engineering and equipment since 1979. Automatic transmission and air conditioning have been available since 1981; since 1990 the G-Class has featured permanent all-wheel drive, differential locks on front and rear axles, and a fully lockable centre differential as standard. And since 2001 the G-Class has additionally offered ESP®, 4ETS and Brake Assist, giving it a combination of efficient traction and handling safety systems unparalleled worldwide.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's timeless because it was outdated when it came out.

      It competes for ridiculous with the RR Defender. Both are good vehicles for a use they only represents a tiny sliver of the market and doesn't really intersect much with their actual customer base.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks every bit of 30.

      I would love one of these as an off road vehicle.

      If anyone desires one of these as a commuter or as a statement of status, they must have a few screws loose
      • 6 Years Ago
      nice to see a benz model they haven't botched recently.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think they've been botching them since 2001 when the penny pinchers took hold and MB's marketing people thought it would be better to sell it as city slicker's car than the capable vehicle that it is...

      • 6 Years Ago
      these are great vehicles, however i would rather have a UNIMOG.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Let's see if this post gets the same vitriol filled posts as a Tahoe or Hummer poat does.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So would an H1 (when sold) receive the same free pass from you?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The G wagon doesn't weigh nearly as much as a Hummer nor is it nearly as big as the Tahoe or Escalade. The AMG is a Ferrari Jeep. Very unreliable too.
      I don't love em, but they are much better looking than the bloated wannabe macho eyesore SUVs including dually pickups, X5's, Rovers and Nissan Armadas. They should sell em stripped down with a small engine!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dually pickups serve an entirely different purpose, but I will agree with you on Rovers.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Now, THESE guys could do something with Chrysler.

      Oh! Wait! They already tried and failed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a 300GD and love the vehicle, though I don't use it to commute, locked in low range, it will pull down a building - though I don't do that with it either.

      But the thing sure is SLOW, max speed on the highway 75mph - pedal pushed to the floor. Around town I find myself speeding (counter-intuitive I know) because it takes so long to get up to speed, I avoid slowing down.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mtika's experience notwithstanding (Damn that would be scary!), G is the coolest SUV on the road today. GL just doesn't look the same, the G is just too... cool.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah i agree, i think this is one of the coolest suv's out their. A clean black G55 looks awesome. But at 119k for amg only pro athletes and executives are usually seen driving these things.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the greatest car on earth!
      I know, I bought 4.500 of them (not out of my own pocket though).
      Hope they can keep the assembly line open for ever.
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