It began in the early 1970s as a collaboration between the then Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in the Austrian city of Graz. 41 years later, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has become the stuff of which automotive legends are made.
By far the longest-standing passenger car model series built by Mercedes-Benz, the G-Class is the forefather of all SUVs that carry the three-pointed star. It has become the standard against which others are measured in the off-road-vehicle segment: around 80 percent of all the G-Class vehicles ever produced are still in use, testament to its outstanding quality and durability.
At launch in the spring of 1979, the G-Class came with a choice of four engine variants, ranging from 53 kW to 115 kW. Customers had the option of a Cabriolet with a short wheelbase and Station Wagon models with a short or long wheelbase. In 1989 the vehicles of the model series 463 marked the beginning of an evolutionary process for the off-roader, and since 1993, the model has borne the name G-Class.
The off-roader has shown its versatility in numerous special-purpose versions with the police, fire and rescue services around the world. It is also known the world over as the ‘Popemobile’, with Pope John Paul using a 230 G, painted in mother of pearl with a transparent special body, on numerous trips from 1980.
To mark its 40 th anniversary in 2019, Mercedes-Benz had unveiled a range of highlights for G-Class fans, starting with the special STRONGER THAN TIME model – including the exclusive G 400 d, J40 Edition offering the most powerful expansion stage of the efficient inline six-cylinder diesel engine yet.
“41 years ago, the combination of on- and off-road properties was a revolutionary concept. The current G-Class continues this tradition, and forms the basis for its status as an automotive icon,” said Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa. “We are celebrating this milestone with several highlights for our customers and fans. I am convinced that, for the G-Class, it is just the beginning.”
For eternity: Three STRONGER THAN TIME edition
The three STRONGER THAN TIME Editions to mark the anniversary year as a real birthday treat.
The G 400 d offers a combined fuel consumption of 8.9-8.7 l/100 km, an output of 243 kW and an impressive maximum torque of 700 Nm at 1200 to 3200 rpm.
The G 400d come in AMG Line guise, with flared wheel arches over black 20- inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, AMG design elements in the bumpers and an exterior protective strip, brake callipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering and, The standard-fit Night Package gives the special model darkened lights as well as outside mirrors, a spare wheel ring and design elements in the bumpers in obsidian black and tinted rear windows. Painstaking attention to detail is showcased at night: the surround lamp projects the G logo and the lettering ‘STRONGER THAN TIME’ onto the road.
The Mercedes-Benz Editions are available in two looks: traditionalists will be delighted by a variant whose interior is characterised by black nappa leather with golden topstitching as well as trim elements in open-pore black ash. There are several paint and interior options available to those wanting a particularly exclusive G-Class.
G manufaktur – the G-Class in a tailor-made suit
The new individualisation range G manufaktur offers scope for even more exclusivity, with customers able to design their own personal G. With around a million combination options, G-Class vehicles could theoretically be produced for several decades in Graz without any two of them being identical.
Customers can choose from a wide colour palette for the nappa leather on the steering wheel, instrument panel and seats, and for the topstitching and seat belts. For the exterior, 4 paint colours offer a choice for every taste – and the spare wheel ring is now also available in the vehicle colour.
Milestones in G-Class history
The first G-Models – the 240 GD, 300 GD, 230 G and 280 GE – are launched to the media.
During his visit to Germany in November 1980, Pope John Paul II is chauffeured in a ‘Popemobile’ based on the 230 G.
Optional equipment available for the cabriolet now includes air conditioning, side-facing bench seats and a hard top. There is a choice of 22 colours.
In the Paris-Dakar Rally, Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur are first across the line in a 280 GE.
The G is significantly upgraded with a model facelift. Standard equipment now also includes differential locks, central locking and a rev counter.
Further facelift with power window lifts, an automatic antenna and a larger tank.
Launch of the 463 series with superior equipment and four engine variants: 250 GD, 300 GD, 230 GE and 300 GE. There is a choice of three body versions: Convertible, short-wheelbase Station Wagon, and long-wheelbase Station Wagon.
The 500 GE offers the first V8 model. The 5-litre light-alloy engine develops 177 kW/240 hp. From September the G-Models are officially known as the G-Class.
Second facelift for the 463 series, with internally ventilated front disc brakes and a driver airbag.
The G 300 TURBODIESEL with an inline six-cylinder engine (130 kW/177 hp) is launched.
The G-Class Cabriolet makes its debut in a new variant with an electrohydraulic soft top.
The G 500 with a V8 engine (218 kW/296 hp) is added to the regular model range.
The G-Class’ 20th birthday in 1999 sees the first AMG variant, the G 55 AMG. Sporting a 5.5-litre eight-cylinder naturally aspirated engine with three-valve technology, it achieves 260 kW and is limited to a maximum speed of 210 km/h.
The G-Class is given a considerably upgraded interior as part of a model facelift.
The G 63 AMG sets new standards with a 12-cylinder engine, boasting a 6.3-litre V12 naturally aspirated engine with an output of 326 kW and a 620 Nm of torque.
The G Class marks its 25th anniversary with the G 55 AMG Kompressor. Boasting an eight-cylinder power pack (350 kW, 700 Nm torque), it sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. Its sidepipes, which end obliquely in front of the rear wheels, are style-forming.
The G 320 CDI, regarded as one of the best Gs of all time by many enthusiasts, is launched. With an output of 165 kW, its light-alloy V6 engine offers driving pleasure in abundance, with its smooth torque curve both on and off the road.
Further updating: the G-Class is given a new instrument cluster with four analogue dial instruments.
Introduction of the new 5.5-litre V8 engine with 285 kW (388 hp). Modified radiator grille with three louvres.
The G 65 AMG launches, with the legendary 6.0-litre V12 biturbo – at that point in time the most powerful off-road vehicle in the world, with an output of 450 kW and electronically limited 1000 Nm maximum torque. Also new is the G 63 AMG, which is driven by a 5.5-litre V8 biturbo (400 kW, 760 Nm). With 40 percent of sales, the G 63 AMG becomes the most popular variant within the G-Class family.
The G 63 AMG 6×6 stuns the world with 400 kW, six driven wheels and new levels of interior comfort.
For the first time, the individualisation range offers exclusive, unique colour and material compositions both inside and out. In addition, the new G 500 4×42 with portal axles enters series production.
With a superlative V12 engine, portal axles, electric fabric top and exclusive equipment specification in the rear compartment, the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet is launched. Only 99 units are built.
The summer of 2017 sees the 300,000th G-Class roll off the assembly line in Graz – a Mercedes-Benz G 500 in Mauritius blue metallic with black leather seats and contrasting white topstitching. G-Class fans around the world determine the vehicle specification by voting for their favourite equipment and appointments on the official G-Class Facebook page.
The new G-Class celebrates its premiere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, setting new standards yet again. On-road the G-Class reinvents itself with modern assistance systems, outstanding handling and optimum safety. Off-road it surpasses itself: the new suspension, the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the G-Mode and the three 100-percent differential locks enhance performance, ride comfort and agility on any surface.
The G-Class turns 40, and the AMG variant celebrates its 20th birthday. Mercedes celebrates its off-road icon with three special models. Thanks to the new individualisation range G manufaktur, customers can turn the G-Class into their own personal G.
15 kilometres south of Graz, the G-Class Experience Centre opens. On this 100,000 m2 site, customers and fans can drive the G-Class for themselves in extreme conditions on two off-road sections, the G-Rock with various approach ramps and an on-road area.
The technical data of the new Mercedes-Benz G 400d
|G 400d 4MATIC
|Model/Number of cylinders/Arrangement
|Rated output, combustion engine
|kW/hp at rpm
|243/330 at 3600-4200
|Rated torque, combustion engine
|Nm at rpm
|700 at 1200-3200
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h
|Consumption, combined or weighted
|CO2 emissions, combined or weighted
|R2 874 000
*Figures for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are provisional and were determined by the technical service for the certification process in accordance with the WLTP test method and correlated into NEDC figures. EC type approval and certificate of conformity with official figures are not yet available. Differences between the stated figures and the official figures are possible.