G-Class Production Ending: Remembering the G

G-Class Production Ending: Remembering the G

The original Mercedes Benz Geländewagen will be remembered for a number of reasons; retro looks (though are they really retro when they just haven’t changed that much over 39 years?) and supreme off-road performance are the standout traits. The little details like side pipes, dash-mounted grab handles and old-school thumps aren’t forgettable, nor is its vague steering and inability to track straight when doing anything near the state speed limits. A hard beast to tame, the mighty G-Wagen. It was even more difficult in AMG trim, what with the big numbers that come with these three letters, even in lowly G500 guise. It must be said the most memorable models generally sported bigger engines and produced some fairly astounding figures. For the purpose of this article, we will skip to the interesting stuff and not worry about the sensible end of the G-Class range, because put simply, that end isn’t what we will look back on.

Going back 16 years, the 2002 special edition G63 was the first in a series of moves some manufacturers would say is totally daft. It packed a 6.3L V12 with 438HP and managed 0-60 in a barely believable 5.9 seconds, and was a nice warm-up of what else was to come, and many will fondly remember the supercharged G55 with its frankly ridiculous circa-500HP, 5.4L V8 that’d be well served in an offshore racing boat let alone a trundling off-roader. The exhaust bellow and high-pitched whine from its supercharger could wake the dead and likely resulted in many cracked building foundations.

More recently, Mercedes-AMG conceded that some refinement was needed for the old girl, and introduced the 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic to go behind its updated range of heavy hitters. The 5.5L, twin-turbo V8 with its 563HP but memorable 561lb-ft of torque could take the G63 from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds, which would be enough for most people but for the fact Mercedes Benz saw fit to again make a V12 flagship available. The AMG G65 used a 6.0L twin-turbo V12 with startling results. 621HP is impressive, but everybody remembers the feeling of 738lb-ft squeezing you into your seat as 5,700lb of G-Wagen hurtles towards the horizon, doing the 0-60 sprint in 5.2 seconds. Stump pulling? More like mountain pulling. That torque figure is 1,000Nm, a magic figure seldom seen even in today’s turbo-dominated world.

The G-Class was so much more than a straight-line thug or big-city bruiser. It remains, right up until production finishes, one of the most capable off-road machines available, but yet again the people at Mercedes saw even more potential and offered the unique and almost-unstoppable G500 4×42. For sale since 2015, the 4×42 came equipped with unique portal axles to afford 18 inches of ground clearance, which contributed to its impressive 7’9 height which, coupled to its 7-odd foot width, lent somewhat to its name.

Production of the 4×42 is now finished, and Mercedes Benz have not yet confirmed, nor ruled out, building another hardcore off-roader. There’s less need for it given the improvements the 2019 W464 has over its older forebear for off-road ability. That he W464 is going to be much better on the road too surely shouts that the decades old 463 G-Wagen was on its last legs and, while it will be missed, only those wearing rose-tinted glasses will say the original could never be improved on. Mercedes Benz has had 39 years of experience and knowledge to put into the new model after all.

If you are wearing those aforementioned glasses, best get to your Mercedes dealer quick, because order books will be closing imminently, if they’re not already. The Geländewagen is dead. Long live the Geländewagen!

 


Written by Alex Burchell

Mercedes GLB: Will There Be a Baby G-class?

Long rumoured for production, the so-called baby G-Class looks set to make a motor show debut in the coming months. The Mercedes Benz GLB-Class, while seen to have a similar squared-off, bulky appearance like that of the famed G-Class, will almost certainly be based on the new A-Class platform to be released in the next 12 months. Positioned between the GLA and GLC SUVs, the GLB will offer a genuine point of difference with its styling alone, and even if it cannibalises a few sales from its smaller and bigger siblings, many more buyers are going to be attracted to it if they dreamt of owning a G-Class but just couldn’t get past the price tag or the acreage required to park it.

The GLB’s A-Class underpinnings unfortunately mean no bonkers V8-powered models won’t be happening, what with its front-wheel-drive underpinnings (could you imagine a small SUV with the 620HP V12?!), but any motoring enthusiast worth his salt knows A-Class architecture means a GLB45 model is almost certainly in the wings, and a butch little SUV with something like 50-400HP is hardly anything to sneeze at.

The GLB-Class will of course have more sensible four-cylinder engine choices as well, and inside that boxy shape will be room enough for three rows of seating for a specific model with a stretched body, though as yet how it’ll be configured is not yet mentioned (but you can safely assume seven seats).

The styling looks like it’ll be a nice departure from the industry’s current trend of making every model in a brand’s range look exactly the same, just scaled up or down. It’ll give customers a chance to recognise their car as a GLB, a unique proposition in the Mercedes universe given every GL, CL and sedan model is a caricature of itself. In spite of the looks being a homage to the fabled Geländewagen, it’s safe to say the off-road ability will likely be limited to forest trails and gravel tracks, in the same vein as most soft roaders with a little more ground clearance and knobblier tires than their hatchback cousins.

Expect switchable four-wheel-drive to be available, and possibly some sort of crawl function, but the potential customers are not going to be interested in stats like maximum wading depth and ramp-over angles. However, to help the GLB on the rare occasions it is off the tarmac, it’s expected that an off-road package will also be available with bolder and chunkier bumpers, to better protect the body from any mishaps, but image is as much about ability in this corner of the car market.


Written by Alex Burchell

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Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 with 22″ AGL50 (duoblock)

Check out this Mercedes G-class with 22″ wheels and 33 x 12.5 R22 Nitto Trail Grapplers on Avant Garde wheels.

 

Shop: MC Custom

Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz AMG G63

Design: AGL50 (duoblock)

Size: 22×10.5

Finish: Matte Black w/ Chrome (exposed) hardware

Mercedes G-class Wheels

Mercedes G-class Lift Kits

Mercedes G-class Lift Kits