'Stronger than time': Mercedes' historic G-Class turns 41. Since the French salon in Toulon in February 1979, the G-Class has managed to establish itself for its off-road capabilities, remaining faithful to itself and its values over the years. Unstoppable in off-road, but equally suitable for daily use, the G-Class has continued to evolve over the decades and, thanks to the constant development and restyling of the Stella, continues to express an always fresh and current look.
The idea of the iconic off-road vehicle was conceived in the summer of 1969, when Daimler-Benz AG and the Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG began to discuss a possible collaboration. Both manufacturers offer vehicles with precise off-road capabilities: on one side Mercedes-Benz Unimog, on the other Puch Haflinger and Puch Pinzgauer. In 1971, the idea of building an off-road vehicle that combines incredible off-road skills with good road behavior took hold for the first time. As early as autumn 1972, Joachim Zahn and Karl Rabus, CEO of Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG respectively, found a basic agreement for the joint development of the light off-road vehicle. The team in charge of the realization is entrusted to the guidance of Erich Ledwinka, Chief Engineer of Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Development proceeds with momentum. In April 1973 the first wooden model is ready. The following year the first prototype suitable for circulation was tested.
From the outset, the G model is produced in the Puch plant in Graz-Thondorf. The new G-class 463 series has also been produced here since May 2018. Since 1979, Mercedes-Benz has supplied Graz with engines, axles, steering and large molded parts for the bodywork, manufactured in various factories. in Germany. Series production kicks off in February 1979, shortly after the world premiere, and is entrusted to Geländefahrzeug Gesellschaft (GfG), founded in 1977 by the two companies. The first G model to be launched on the market is that of the 460 series. It is a universal off-road vehicle with sober interiors and, at the same time, a series of important technical highlights in terms of traction.
Good off-road capabilities which are guaranteed by efficient standard all-wheel drive that can be inserted as standard with longitudinal locking, as well as differential locks on request on the front and rear axles, which come as standard starting from 1985. The evolution of the G model began shortly after its market launch. The optimization process proved to be the key to this decade-long success. Among the most important evolutions certainly: the standard power steering, the standard differential locks (1985); the introduction of a regulated three-way catalyst (from 1986, initially as optional equipment for 230GE) and the introduction of the anti-lock braking system (ABS) from 1990 onwards in the 463 series.
In 1990 the 463 series was introduced and offered with permanent four-wheel drive, which replaces the all-wheel drive that could be used until then. Subsequently, eight and even twelve cylinder engines are used, while at the same time safeguarding the extraordinary versatility of which the model has always been synonymous. This role was first played by the 460 series in 1990 and the 461 series from 1992.
A particularly successful chapter was inaugurated in 1999. In that year G55 AMG becomes the new top of the range model in the 463 series. The car forms the basis for the long-standing success of the G-Class in the High Performance version of Mercedes-AMG. Fundamental in this sense are, among other things, G55AMG Kompressor (2004), G63AMG and G65AMG (both from 2012), G63AMG 6x6 (2013) and, finally, the Mercedes-AMG G63 version of the new G-Class, presented in February 2018 (fuel consumption in the combined cycle: 13.1l / 100km; CO2 emissions in the combined cycle: 299g / km).
Now in its fourth decade of history, the G-Class is as always able to successfully face all the challenges, as demonstrated by other exclusive models such as the G5004x4² from 2015 and the Mercedes-Maybach G650Landaulet from 2017, produced in just 99 specimens. The new generation of the 463 series brings the strengths of this charismatic champion into the future. G-Class reinvents itself once again by introducing important technical highlights. Just think, for example, of the set-up with a classic rigid axle at the rear and a double-wishbone front axle with independent wheel suspension, developed together with Mercedes-AMG. But one thing remains constant over time: off-road skills. The new G-Class even surpasses previous generations in many ways. From the first glance you can see the genes of the 1979 G model. Three engines are available, with powers between 286 and 422 HP.