• Aug 8th 2011 at 3:29PM
  • 51
We've got to hand it to Mercedes-Benz. The Australian arm of the German automaker was so convinced that its iconic G-Wagen is one of the world's most capable off-road vehicles, it decided to stage a demonstration run that would have seven of its boxy SUVs traveling from Halls Creek in Western Australia to Wiluna – a distance of 1,150 miles.

As it turned out, the distance, though definitely a long way to go in the wild's of Australia in just 14 days, wasn't the real issue encountered by the intrepid group of drivers. You see, the trip was organized along the historic Canning Stock Route, which was created at the beginning of the 20th Century as a way to get cattle from remote ranches in Kimberly to Perth, where it could then be sold.

Suffice it to say that driving cattle along the Canning Stock Route was a treacherous undertaking, and deaths were not uncommon. Today, the Route is considered one of the world's greatest adventures and can only be tackled by serious four-wheel-drive machinery. Like the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, right?

Well, sorta. As MB Australia found out the hard way, no amount of planning can guarantee a successful journey, as six out of its seven G-Wagons have been crippled by broken rear shock absorbers seven days into the drive. The lone undamaged vehicle is actually a specially modified military-spec vehicle called the G-Professional that the German automaker is considering importing into Australia... might not be a bad idea, eh?

For their part, MB's reps are taking the damage in stride. While all machines remained drivable (of course, that term just means the machine is capable of moving under its own power...), new shocks were flown in on chartered airplanes at significant cost. Sounds like there's absolutely no way in the Australian Outback Hell that this demonstration drive will end up a failure.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like to see Jeep go in there and make the same run... it would be great PR.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am impressed with the quality of the MB G-Wagen! Nof FAVORABLY impressed, mind you . . .
      • 4 Years Ago
      I guess it would have made sense to have performed a test drive through the planned course before staging the PR event --- that's just basic 4x4 safety. Also, the repeated damage seems like the vehicles were being driven too fast for the amount of obstacles on the paths taken. Similar situation where Ford's Raptor 4x4s were being damaged along a popular off-roading route in the US. The Raptors suffered frame damage in that case.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I was a little disappointed w/ the outcome of the G Wagon in Canning Stock Route. They have 4 G350 Bluetec, 1 G550 & 1 Military version. I watch it on you tube, it is filed under Canning Stock Route not under Mercedes or G Wagon Series. The road is rough but not very extreme. I think a Toyota Hilux (Taliban) version is more than capable enough to pass right through it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd love to know what happens to press vehicles like these. Are they scrapped like most prototypes or do they eventually make it to the used car market? Tough as the G-wagen might be, I wouldn't want to pay top dollar for one of these...even if it was Starmark certified pre-owned haha. I know that Mercedes did a similar endurance race with a fleet of Bluetecs and CDIs across Russia/Tundra, but I never heard what happened to the vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What we don`t know is whether or not these are the same models of G-Wagen that are offered in Europe(and elsewhere) or the fancy pants ones we see in North America.Different places get slightly different machines and I can see how some AMG decked Gwagen wouldn`t make the greatest off-roader. I believe that the G-Wagen is a more than capable off roader( depending on the specs) just like a regular Wrangler would be less capable off-road than a Rubicon. As for breaking shock absorbers, it doesn`t say how far they went(only 7 days in) or fast they were going before the shocks packed it in. If they were hauling ass over some pretty rough terrain, then even really good stock shock absorbers might break. If they were taking it easy , then Mercedes just acquired some good field testing for thier truck and now know what to upgrade for Australian spec vehicles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The G-Wagens sold in Australia are the luxury "fancy pants" version. These are the G350 BlueTEC and G55 AMG. The lone G-Wagen that didn't break was the more rugged Professional model (the model that's not sold in Australia). http://www.motorshout.com/8042/germany_2011_mercedesbenz_gclass_g300-cdi-professional/
      • 4 Years Ago
      "silly germans, trails are for jeeps"
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not German and got no Mercedes, but the Mercedes Germans don't seem silly when regarding their off road vehicles. Generally they're among the most capable 4x4s available to the public. I guess the " marks indicate you're ironic... Either way, shocks are consumable parts not made by Mercedes and will probably now be changed. Most cars have no problems going on without shocks, at reduced speed., so these failures are probably not critical ones.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just a little reminder - Mother Nature always gets last bat . . .
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd still take a G.Wagen over any other SUV.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe they should have used a more capable off-road vehicle? http://www.motortrend.com/features/travel/1103_subaru_outback_through_the_outback/index.html I kid, I kid.
      Mike K
      • 4 Years Ago
      Guaranteed a Range Rover could've done this without breaking.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mike K
        Not likely, mate. The G-wagen is definitely a better off-roader than the Range. Even a LR Defender would have a hard time keeping with a G. RRs are also notoriously unreliable, so that won't help.
          • 4 Years Ago
          how much of that unreliability is just foo-foos complaining that their electronic locks no longer work? I'll take some rattles and useless accessories not working if the vehicle itself keeps going.
          • 4 Years Ago
          True, they are unreliable, but only out of spite when they are being used to ferry trophy wives to country clubs and not getting dirty the English countryside..or a remote jungle in Borneo....I'd put my money on the Range Rover
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