Part of what makes a vehicle iconic is a clever integration of elegance and edginess – and,it must be said, a degree of luck in happening to appeal to unfathomably quirky aspects of the human psyche. Such is the Mercedes Benz G-class 4×4 SUV. Mr Mavericke Concierge, at mrmavericke.com, decided to curate a picture story of the fascinating success which is the G-Wagen or G-wagon, as it is colloquially,if not affectionately, known, and here it is…
Just passing one in the street makes a car enthusiast’s heart melt, for reasons not always fully understood. Could it be the stubbornly persistent ‘unaerodynamic’ box shape? Could it be the unending grunt in the engine,the idiosyncrasies of design that have been held over, albeit sometimes in new guises, for the past forty years?
A phenom that was established with the US military’s ‘General Purpose’ (contracted to‘Jeep’) in 1941, closely followed by the British Series 1 Land Rover in 1948,has seen the bar decisively set by the 2018/19 Mercedes-AMG G63.
There were forays by Lamborghini in 1986, in the guise of the garishly sexy LM002, a Countach-powered off-roader that perfectly symbolized its era, and the Hindenburg-level motoring disaster which was the HMMWV (High-Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle which became known as the Humvee) H1, which debuted in the military in 1982 and then made an onslaught on the consumer market as the Hummer H2 and H3, and was then discontinued in 2010. But none has matched the rock-solid success and brand loyalty of the G63.
The G-class was developed as a military vehicle from a suggestion by the Shah of Iran (at the time, a significant Mercedes shareholder). It was offered as a civilian version in 1979 and launched in 2002 as the Mercedes-Benz G500 with a V-8 petrol engine and achieved 3,114 sales that year. The outgoing G-Class is 38 years old and the redesigned Geländenwagen now headlines Mercedes-Benz SUV range.
One of the first things to strike one who is assembling a story about the new version of the G-class is that hardly a bad word, or criticism, can be found about it. This is highly unusual in motoring journalism circles, where critical analysis is often taken to extreme. Here are some interesting titbits about this car which will only increase your appreciation for it…
The G in“G-Class” stands for Geländewagen (or “cross country vehicle”) and there invention is handmade in Austria. There have been departures from the core functional design – such as the G63 AMG 6×6, which featured a twin-turbo V8, six wheel drive, five differential locks, about half a metre of ground clearance. This monster could negotiate a metre of water and has retained the Benz characteristic of hardcore externals and luxury interior. They put about two hundred of these into owners’ hands.
In 1988, a German couple racked up 850 000 kilometres in a 300GD that’s a return trip to the moon PLUS another 80,000 kilometres. The vehicle is on display in the Mercedes- Benz museum. The only Mercedes-Benz in Daimler’s history with a longer lifespan – so far – is the Unimog. The new G-class is planned to remain in production until at least 2020.
The military use it in more than forty countries, with appropriate tactical modifications. Its windows were strategically designed to be easily replaced by a local glass shop. The new G63 is deliberately the same and a lot of effort has gone into making the same with new technology advantages – only five parts are carried over from the outgoing model – the spare wheel cover, the headlight washer nozzles, sun visors, that push button on the door handles and the tow bar. All of the rest – while looking the same is re-engineered to Mercedes developmental ethos and standards. For example, the metal body has been replaced by aluminium , made to resemble the pressed plate look of the original G-class. The exposed hinges and door handles with push buttons to open are very deliberate. Interestingly, engineers were at pains to achieve the click of door locks but retaining the same satisfyingly mechanical sound…
It’s an unstoppable off-road machine, featuring permanent all-wheel drive, 7G-Tronic gearbox, three differential locks plus low range, and a ground clearance of 235mm. Those diff locks can be engaged/disengaged while on the move and the vehicle also features a 30-degree approach angle, a 30-degree departure angle and it can wade in water up to 60cm deep. Despite its bush-beating character,the G63 features a 430 kW 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine that produces a thundering 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque (a difference of 161 horsepower and 177 pound-feet over the “normal” G550) and a top speed of 220 km/h, moving from zero to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.
There’s a G button – engineers have added a ‘G-Mode’ to the drive select system which primes all the systems for maximum off-road capability. In testing, the vehicle has to successfully tackle 60 per cent gradients and traverse 40 per cent side-slopes.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR THE LADIES
Well,significantly new levels of comfort and safety. Mercedes has replaced the front live axle and old-school hydraulic steering with independent front control-arm suspension and an electric power steering system. The changes promise to significantly improve both ride and handling.This, in itself, may be viewed as providing meaningful safety and riding comfort outcomes. Mercedes has brought the G-Class’ interior up to S-Class luxury and comfort standards. The new body-on-frame platform is longer, providing increased leg room and modern technology inclusions such as a digital instrument cluster, LED, Mercedes’latest infotainment suite, modern driver assist and new safety technology. AMG Ride Control provides DYNAMIC SELECT, which enables drivers to adjust the suspension to the three settings of “Comfort”, “Sport” and”Sport+” – from highly comfortable to sporty and firm. The AMG-specific kinematics and elastokinematics produces high stability during dynamic cornering and increases the sense of safety at the critical limits.
Megan Fox,Emma Roberts, Joel Madden, Kanye West and, of course, his gorgeous wife are just a few names that own this luxury vehicle, and the G-Class has also been featured in many Hollywood movies. Fast & Furious, A Good Day to Die Hard,and The Bourne Supremacy are just a few names of the blockbuster films that the car has been featured in. The G-Class is also expected to be casted in Jurassic World and Fast & Furious 7.
We at Mr Mavericke Concierge, have the G-class as a flagship vehicle in our motor fleet and we look forward to arranging an expedition in this motoring phenomenon for our clients.