The most powerful and quickest Mercedes-Benz G-Class since it was launched in 1979, and a comprehensive upgrade of the interior and specification of the range head a list of changes to Mercedes-Benz' enduring all-roader.
The new G 63 AMG, powered by a 544 hp 5.5-litre biturbo direct-injection V8 engine, joins the revised Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC turbodiesel in the line-up. Both cars are capable of crossing the most inhospitable terrain on the planet, but each has its own area of expertise.
The G 63 AMG can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 5.4 seconds, a time good enough to match that of many high-performance sports saloons, yet it is 15 per cent more fuel-efficient and has 13% lower CO2 emissions than the G 55 AMG KOMPRESSOR it replaces. The Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC, which now develops 211 hp (a 1 hp increase over the previous model) and 540 Nm of torque, benefits from BlueTEC technology and an AdBlueÂ® additive so that it considerably reduces harmful emissions, particularly of nitrogen oxides.
There are subtle revisions to the timeless, functionality-oriented exterior design, which has stood the G-Class in good stead since its introduction in 1979. Far more comprehensive changes are to be found in the interior appointments and standard specification, which raise the status of the G-Class as a true luxury go-anywhere car to a new level.
There is a redesigned dashboard with a new instrument cluster and a completely new centre console. The G-Class now comes with COMAND Online with Media Interface as standard, which includes a 7-inch centrally mounted colour display, hard disk drive navigation with 3D map display and Traffic Message Channel (TMC), Speed Limit Assist, Linguatronic voice control and in-car internet access.
Heated leather front and rear seats and the Mercedes-Benz Parktronic system of audible and visual parking alerts are also standard, as is a powerful Harman KardonÂ® Logic 7Â® surround-sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 12 high-performance speakers plus an additional amplifier.
Unique identifying features of the G 63 AMG include a unique AMG radiator grille with twin chrome fins running through the black mesh grille, an AMG bumper, AMG flared wheel-arches in vehicle colour, stainless steel side running boards, side protective strips with stainless steel inserts and a bespoke AMG sports exhaust system with chromed twin tailpipes. Inside, there is an AMG instrument cluster with colour TFT screen and designo leather upholstery with ruffled leather door panelling.
The "G" in G-Class stands for GelÃ¤ndewagen, meaning cross-country vehicle. It is the longest-running model series in Mercedes-Benz history and for more than three decades has overcome any obstacle in its path. In that time it has both won the Paris-Dakar Rally outright and also been used to transport two Popes, testimony to its multi-faceted abilities.
Since 1979 it has delivered an unrivalled combination of all-road ability and exceptional luxury. The latest model retains the drive-it-anywhere capability while raising the bar for luxury and comfort.
Over its extended history Mercedes-Benz has constantly refined its most capable off-roader with a high-class interior and road-going qualities on a par with premium saloons. The G-Class has provided the gene pool for other Mercedes-Benz off-roaders, and the latest comprehensive range of measures ensures this classic cross-country car remains in a class of its own on or off the beaten track.
These include a new engine for the G 63 AMG, a significantly extended range of appointments, a new and even more luxurious interior and a few discreet external modifications that further enhance the timeless, classic design.
The external modifications include LED daytime running lamps and new exterior mirrors. The AMG version also features a new, characteristic AMG radiator grille with twin chrome fins running through the black mesh grille, plus distinctive new bumpers with large air intakes. Red brake calipers and, for the first time, 20-inch AMG wheels in a five-twin-spoke design add sporty finishing touches.
All G-Class models benefit from a redesigned instrument panel and centre console including new controls and exclusive trim elements. A TFT colour display in the instrument cluster between the two round dials now shows information relating to the assistance systems from the on-board computer.
A further large colour screen, conveniently positioned high in the centre, is part of the standard-fit COMAND Online system. The COMAND controller is located in the centre console unit, near to the armrest.
To ensure that the G-Class has lost none of its rugged character or functionality, especially for extreme off-road use, specific design elements have been preserved. These include the grab handle on the front-passenger side, the switches for the three differential locks - aligned within the driver's field of vision and highlighted with silver-coloured trim - and the redesigned gear shift lever in the lower section of the centre console.
The ESPÂ® Electronic Stability Control system has been completely revised and now includes Trailer Stability Assist on cars ordered with a tow bar, and a Hold function. New optional safety options include Distronic Plus and Blind Spot Assist.
Since 1979 the design of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has been a perfect reflection of the car's immense breadth of capabilities. It is how it appears - a robust 4x4 designed to shrug off the challenges posed by the most inhospitable terrain on earth, while retaining all the luxury and comfort associated with a Mercedes-Benz.
It is one of the few genuine go-anywhere cars in the world, and that is as much down to its design as its engineering. It is based on a sturdy ladder-frame construction with short overhangs, high ground clearance and a robust, well-protected body so that it can tackle whatever lies in its path. Vertical sides, large window areas and a high seating position give the driver a commanding view all around. It was a trend-setter in the off-road vehicle class when launched in 1979 and has gone on to become a design icon.
So, with the latest refresh there was no need to make wholesale changes. Subtle upgrades - to meet new legislation and bring the G-Class into line with other models in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio - were all that were needed. The upgrades include new electric heated and folding exterior mirrors with integral direction indicators and front area lighting, now painted in body colour. The warning signal for the optional new Blind Spot Assist system is also integrated in the mirrors. A memory function allows up to three drivers to store their personal settings.
The AMG version of the G-Class, the G 63 AMG, is further distinguished by its wheel-arch flares, stainless steel side running boards and side protective strips with stainless steel inserts. A 'V8 BITURBO' logo on the front wings and a 'G 63 AMG' plate on the rear door are other instant identifiers, as are the AMG chromed twin exhaust tailpipes.
With both models, the design continues to convey the car's sense of purpose. The side view is characterised by clear, straight lines and broad, flat surfaces. The side skirts, beltline, rubbing strip at door handle height and the roof edge are parallel and deliberately functional.
This is echoed at the front of the Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC by the distinctive three-louvre radiator grille featuring Mercedes-Benz' central three-pointed star, the steeply raked A-pillars and the upright windscreen. The G 63 AMG is distinguished from the Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC by a high-gloss black twin-lamella radiator grille with four chrome inserts and a new AMG bumper with three large cooling air inlets.
The round bi-xenon headlamps of both models have range adjustment and incorporate automatic LED daytime running lights, while the oval foglamps integrated into the front bumper of the Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC add cornering lights.
With its broad track and distinctive wheel arch lining, the G-Class has an equally solid appearance from the rear. The fog lamp and reversing lamp are integrated into the rear bumper. The load compartment is accessed through a large single door, hinged on the left, which carries the spare wheel prominently mounted on the outside.
Among the 21 colour options are three new shades - Magnetite Black, Tenorite Grey and Indium Grey. Of the 21 paint choices, 19 are metallic and eight are from the designo range.
The Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC runs on 18-inch five-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, while the G 63 AMG has new Titanium Grey five-twin-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels.
The functionality applied to the exterior of the G-Class is carried through to the design layout of the interior through a low window line, large glass areas and raised seating position, but the fundamental character of an off-road car is now infused with the high-grade luxury, technology and safety appointments typical of a Mercedes-Benz.
This is headlined by the introduction of a redesigned dashboard with a new instrument cluster and a completely new centre console. The instrument cluster consists of two round dials plus the new TFT display, which shows information relating to the assistance systems from the on-board computer.
In addition, the latest G-Class now comes as standard with COMAND Online with Media Interface, which includes a 7-inch centrally mounted colour display, hard disk drive navigation with 3D map display and Traffic Message Channel (TMC), Speed Limit Assist, Linguatronic voice control and in-car internet access.
Three Mercedes-Benz apps are available to customers for use with COMAND Online. Drivers can call up weather forecasts and maps; conduct a local search from Google for Google Street View images or Google Panoramic photos; or search for destinations in the Google archives. All COMAND Online users also have access to a Facebook app.
There is also an SD card slot, a 10 GB music register and MP3 compatibility. Media Interface allows connection and control of portable music devices. It is controlled via the COMAND controller on the front of the armrest. A powerful Harman KardonÂ® Logic 7Â® surround-sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 12 high-performance speakers plus an additional amplifier is also standard.
New in the revised G-Class are heated leather seats for all passengers and the Mercedes-Benz Parktronic system of audible and visual front and rear parking alerts.
The essential character of the interior of the G-Class remains largely unchanged, however - as seen in features such as the large grab handle for the front passenger, the switches for the three differential locks - positioned in the driver's field of view and highlighted in chrome - and a redesigned gear selector lever in the centre console.
Just a glance, or a touch, is enough to recognise that only the finest materials have been used. Every detail is an example of meticulous craftsmanship. At night, mood lighting enhances this luxurious ambience.
The driver sits behind a new, electrically adjustable four-spoke steering wheel with a leather rim (designo in the G 63 AMG) and 12 operating buttons for the multi-function system. The steering wheel automatically pivots upwards to make getting in and out of the car easier.
The stylish detailing includes generous use of high-quality trim. The Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC is fitted as standard with Anthracite Poplar wood trim, while the G 63 AMG has a designo Black Piano Lacquer finish.
The all-round heated leather seats include a memory function for the driver, and Neck-Pro anti-whiplash head restraints for the driver and front passenger. The front seats also include electric lumbar support. In the G 63 AMG, the seat leather is complemented by ruffled leather door linings.
The diesel version of the G-Class is powered by a 2,987 cc turbo-charged V6 engine with twin overhead camshafts and 24 valves. It now develops 211 hp at a relaxed 3,400 rpm, and 540 Nm of torque from 1,600-2,400 rpm. It employs Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC technology to minimise emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx).
The generous torque developed by the V6 turbodiesel engine in the Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC is sufficient to accelerate this 2,570 kg car from standstill to 62 mph in 9.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 108 mph. The Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC returns 25.2 mpg and 295 g/km CO2 on the combined cycle with the help of the acclaimed Mercedes-Benz 7G-TRONIC Plus seven-speed automatic transmission.
Carefully optimised gearing ensures the Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC is as much a calm and comfortable on-road cruiser as it is a go-anywhere off-road vehicle. The 7G-TRONIC Plus automatic transmission, now in its sixth-generation, has once more been extensively revised to ensure the optimum fuel consumption and driving comfort.
Mercedes-Benz has adopted a multi-stage approach to emissions reduction, all of which is evident in the G350 BlueTEC. It begins with optimisation of the engines and their combustion processes to reduce untreated emissions as far as possible. These measures include electronic engine management, four-valve technology, third-generation common-rail direct-injection with piezo-electric injectors, a turbo-charger with variable turbine geometry and exhaust gas recirculation.
Oxidising catalytic converters are used to minimise emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC). And as the model designation implies, the diesel version of the G-Class employs advanced Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC technology to minimise harmful emissions, particularly of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
BlueTEC technology involves the addition of AdBlueÂ®, an aqueous urea solution that is injected into the flow of exhaust gases. The resulting chemical reaction releases ammonia from around 170 degrees Celsius, which converts up to 80 per cent of the NOx into harmless nitrogen and water within the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalytic converter. The engine management system controls the injection of AdBlueÂ® in such a way that the ammonia reservoir of the SCR converter always contains some but never too much ammonia. This is monitored by a NOx sensor.
The AdBlueÂ® process is fully integrated into the fuel supply system of the G-Class, with the filler cap for the AdBlueÂ® tank located next to the diesel fuel filler for ease of use. One fill of AdBlueÂ® is sufficient for around 7,500 miles.
AdBlueÂ® injection is particularly advantageous in large vehicles as the engine does not need to operate with an intermittent, rich combustion mixture which would be necessary with a storage-type NOx catalytic converter.
Subtle exterior changes and a stylish new interior
Since 1979 Mercedes-Benz has constantly refined its most capable off-roader to ensure it remains in a class of its own on or off the beaten track, all without losing its timeless, classic design. The latest external modifications include LED daytime running lamps and electric heated and folding door mirrors with integral indicators and front area lighting.
Far more comprehensive changes are to be found in the interior appointments and standard specification, which raise the status of the G-Class as a true luxury go-anywhere car to a new level.
The instrument panel and centre console have been completely redesigned to include new controls and exclusive trim elements. These give the interior a fresh and sophisticated look. A TFT colour display in the instrument cluster between the two round dials now shows information relating to the assistance systems from the on-board computer.
A further large colour screen, conveniently positioned high in the centre, is part of the COMAND Online system. The COMAND controller is located in the centre console unit, near to the armrest. COMAND Online with Media Interface includes a 7-inch centrally mounted colour display, hard disk drive navigation with 3D map display and Traffic Message Channel (TMC), Speed Limit Assist, Linguatronic voice control and in-car internet access.
Heated leather front and rear seats and the Mercedes-Benz Parktronic system of audible and visual parking alerts are also standard, as is a powerful Harman KardonÂ® Logic 7Â® surround-sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 12 high-performance speakers plus an additional amplifier.
To ensure that the G-Class has lost none of its character or functionality, especially for extreme off-road use, specific design elements like the grab handle on the front-passenger side, the switches for the three differential locks - aligned within the driver's field of vision and highlighted with silver-coloured trim - and the redesigned gear shift lever in the lower section of the centre console have been preserved.
A large part of the intrinsic charm and cult status of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is its rugged, hand-built, low volume nature. The G-Class is, and always has been, hand-assembled for Mercedes-Benz at the Magna Steyr facility in Graz, Austria.
Although it has been in continuous production since 1979, its gestation goes back even further than that, to 1973, when Daimler-Benz and Austrian-based Steyr-Daimler-Puch joined forces to plan a light all-wheel-drive off-roader, which in those days was a ground-breaking move into an unknown sector. Sales forecasts were inconclusive, but the two companies nevertheless decided to take the plunge and set to work on what would become the G-Class.
Steyr-Daimler-Puch was the ideal partner for this project - acknowledged all-wheel-drive specialists whose Haflinger and Pinzgauer military models were bywords for go-anywhere versatility. This, combined with Daimler-Benz's commercial and specialist vehicle expertise, created a mine of off-road knowledge and skill for the partners to exploit.
What they agreed upon was a concept that flew in the face of prevailing trends. Spurning the idea of a hardcore cross-country vehicle and a four-wheel-drive passenger car, the designers and engineers set out to create a car that married reliability, ruggedness and unprecedented off-road ability with the comfort, safety and style of an exclusive leisure vehicle. It was, to say the least, a challenging brief.
To ensure the G-Class was capable of exceptional off-road performance, the development team opted for a sturdy ladder-frame body-on-chassis layout and 100 per cent differential locks, which are vastly superior to simple locking differentials.
The development team also decided on a unique all-synchromesh transfer case which could be engaged while on the move, a system that also allowed drive to be transferred to the front wheels - a considerable advantage on snow and ice.
A great deal of research was conducted into how the car would be used in various parts of the world. This resulted in the decision to adopt a relatively uncomplicated and functional design and to use series-produced assemblies and components from Mercedes-Benz light trucks to reduce the cost of spare parts and complexity of repair work.
Two years later, in 1975, production was given the go-ahead after a second feasibility study anticipated strong potential for civilian as well as military sales.
The Mercedes-Benz engineering team - which was responsible for the construction and design of the G-Class as well as for the majority of the testing work - was drawn from the Hanomag Henschel Group, the truck giant Daimler-Benz had bought. A second team, based in Graz, focused mainly on how the car would be assembled, the development of the new transfer case and some off-road testing.
Right from the start it was clear that the ladder-frame chassis with two rigid axles would more than meet any off-roading requirements, so a lot of emphasis went into honing the on-road ride and handling. This seemingly impossible conflict of interests was solved by fitting the G-Class with longitudinal control arms to ensure precise axle location, and ditching the leaf springs used in most off-road vehicles in favour of coil springs and a front-axle stabiliser.
Extensive fine-tuning of the suspension and damping systems helped to ensure safe and comfortable on-road driving characteristics, without compromising the car's unstoppable off-road attributes.
The uncompromising approach that went into the engineering of the G-Class was also applied to its styling. The design brief was that the car should provide excellent all-round visibility for the driver, be narrow enough to tackle tight forest tracks and reflect the car's go-anywhere capabilities. What the designers came up with was a car with short overhangs and square-cut wings. It is a timeless and enduring design which has survived with only minor changes since 1979 when it was launched.
The sketches, drafts and discussions about how the G-Class should look became tangible in April 1973, when a full-size wooden model of the car appeared. A year later the first ready-to-drive prototype rolled out of the Graz plant.
The no-nonsense exterior was reflected in the cabin, which was kept deliberately functional and geometric - though not without the expected Mercedes-Benz comforts - to minimise distractions for drivers who might find themselves in challenging country. Behind a two-spoke steering wheel there was a simple instrument binnacle containing only essential information. The centre console housed the ventilation and radio controls, while three levers controlling gears, ratios and differentials jutted out from the broad flat central tunnel.
Initially, the extensive testing of the G-Class was concentrated within the factory - and without a wheel being turned. Computer-based analysis and mathematical simulations were used to test the load limits of the chassis before the first prototype was built. This led to strengthening in certain high-stress areas at a very early stage.
After these exhaustive bench trials in Stuttgart, the engines, transmissions, chassis, suspension and brakes were put through gruelling real-world testing in the vast German coalfields between Cologne and Aachen, at Steyr-Daimler-Puch's own SchÃ¶ckl site in Austria, in the remote desert regions of North Africa and on the loose gravel tracks of the Atlas mountains, at the notorious Chottel Djerid salt lake in the Sahara and deep within the Arctic circle.
The production green light in 1975 was also the starting signal for work on a new 40,000 square metre factory at the Steyr-Daimler-Puch facility in Graz where, to this day, the full range of vehicle components is still hand-built by specialists.
To ensure the G-Class can withstand even the harshest driving conditions, its chassis is injected with 50 litres of corrosion-repelling wax while its bodywork is welded at more than 6,000 points so that it is incredibly robust. Each G-Class model takes just over 40 hours to produce, with daily output limited to just 15 cars.
In February 1979 the G-Class made its world premiere at a press launch in the south of France. It has now become the longest-serving passenger car series in the history of Mercedes-Benz.
The enduring appeal of the G-Class, even in the face of newer vehicles, is down to its ability to marry peerless off-road ability with engaging on-road manners. The G-Class is a car which looks and feels right in any situation.
This is down to the fore-sightedness and excellent decision-making of the original Mercedes-Benz development engineers. At the time, their decision to use longitudinal control arms for a high degree of axle location precision appeared quite radical, but it is a layout that has stood the test of time. The decision to abandon the traditional leaf springs used in most off-road vehicles and opt for coil springs and a front anti-roll bar to give the G-Class greater body composure in corners and sharper responses from the recirculating ball steering has also been proved right.
This suspension layout combined with a low centre of gravity, a stiff bodyshell and limpet-like grip from the all-wheel system results in a car that can be driven on-road in a way that belies its size and weight.
But the G-Class was primarily conceived to be able to overcome virtually any terrain in any conditions, so unsurprisingly it is underpinned by a robust ladder-style body-on-frame chassis. It has permanent all-wheel drive, while the rigid front and rear axles are suspended by long-travel coil springs with bespoke dampers.
The seven-speed automatic transmissions are mated to an all-synchromesh transfer case, with a low-range off-road gear ratio and on-the-fly functionality. The G-Class is one of the few cars in production with three 100 per cent differential locks, which can be locked in sequence - rear, centre, then front - using a simple in-dash button. This gives unparalleled off-road control.
The mechanical hardware is underscored by three powerful electronic systems - ESPÂ® Electronic Stability Program, BAS Brake Assist and 4ETS Electronic Traction System, all calibrated specifically for off-road use. The sophisticated 4ETS system significantly enhances traction when moving off and accelerating on low-grip surfaces by constantly monitoring the speeds of each wheel. If one or more wheels has lost grip, it is independently braked and engine torque is temporarily reduced so that the G-Class can maintain traction.
Short overhangs and 210 mm of ground clearance contribute towards the G-Class's dominant off-road capability, emphasised by the hugely impressive statistics of what it can do and where it can go. It can ford water up to 600 mm deep, climb or descend 80 per cent gradients and lean at an angle of 54 per cent without tipping over. It can approach slopes with a 36 degree angle (27 degrees for G 63 AMG) and depart them at an angle of up to 27 degrees. And it can pull a 3,500 kg braked trailer, or one of 750 kg unbraked.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the G-Class has achieved legendary status among off-road enthusiasts and armies around the world. The military version is used by 63 armed forces, including those in Germany and Canada as well as the US Marine Corps. Mercedes-Benz has guaranteed production of the G-Class for NATO until 2025.
A low-ratio on-the-fly transfer case and three 100 per cent differential locks, activated by a button, ensure unparalleled off-road control in even the worst conditions.
The G-Class is underpinned by an incredibly robust ladder-style body-on-frame chassis, injected with 50 litres of corrosion-resisting wax. Its rigid front and rear axles are suspended by long-travel coil springs and dampers.
The G-Class is assembled by hand at the rate of only 15 a day by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. Each vehicle takes 40 hours to produce.
The G-Class benefits from ESPÂ® Electronic Stability Program, BAS Brake Assist and 4ETS Electronic Traction System, all calibrated specifically for off-road use.
Facts and figures
The G-Class has 210 mm of ground clearance, can ford water 600 mm deep, has 80 per cent ascent and descent capability, can tilt up to a maximum of 54 per cent and has an approach angle of 36 degrees (27 degrees for G 63 AMG) and a departure angle of 27 degrees.
Like any Mercedes-Benz, the G-Class provides exemplary levels of active and passive safety, but this is one model which perhaps starts with a distinct advantage - the grip provided by its intelligent 4ETS all-wheel-drive system significantly reduces the chance of an accident, even in the most difficult road and weather conditions, while the immensely strong ladder-frame chassis which gives the car its all-roads toughness is equally adept at serving as a strong protective barrier for occupants should an accident occur.
These are supported by a completely reconfigured ESPÂ® with an automatic control system that includes start-off assist and a Hold function. These not only make hill-starts easier - even when that hill might appear to be almost vertical and thick with mud - but they also mean that in emergency braking, when the driver suddenly releases the accelerator, pressure in the brake lines is immediately increased and the brake pads touch the discs. This ensures maximum stopping power is available as soon as the driver applies the brakes, aided by the standard Brake Assist system.
The G-Class has front airbags for the driver and passenger plus window bags covering both rows of seats. The driver's airbag deploys in two stages depending on the type and severity of an accident, while that on the passenger's side is linked to a seat occupancy sensor so that it does not trigger if no-one is sitting there.
Neck-Pro head restraints which move upwards by 30 mm and forwards by 40 mm in the event of a rear-end collision are also standard on both front seats to minimise the risk of whiplash injuries.
When the optional tow bar is specified another ESPÂ®-supported feature - Trailer Stability Assist - is included. This counters any tendency of the trailer to 'fishtail' when caught in cross-winds or the bow-wave of a truck. It detects that a trailer has been fitted as soon as the electric connector plug is inserted in the socket on the G-Class and, through the ESPÂ® system, it intercedes to stabilise the trailer at speeds over 40 mph.
It does this through alternate brake applications to the left and right front wheels. In severe cases of fishtailing, engine torque is also reduced and all four wheels of the G-Class are braked.
Brake Assist, the Mercedes-Benz system which prevents cars from creeping forwards at traffic lights or road junctions, is also fitted as standard. All the driver has to do is push the brake pedal slightly more firmly after the car comes to rest and the vehicle will be held in place until the driver presses the accelerator.
The G-Class is now optionally available with the radar-based Blind Spot Assist and the adaptive cruise control system Distronic Plus. Blind Spot Assist issues a warning if it identifies the presence of a vehicle which the G-Class driver might not have seen. The warning is an acoustic alert and a signal in the relevant exterior mirror.
Distronic Plus adjusts the distance to the vehicle in front automatically and, if necessary, can apply the brakes to bring the car to a complete stop and then accelerate it again. This takes strain off the driver in bumper-to-bumper traffic. If the distance starts to narrow too quickly, the system gives visual and acoustic warnings, prompting the driver to take action, at which point Brake Assist (BAS) also intervenes to help.
Parktronic, which now monitors the area both to the front and to the rear of the vehicle, is also standard and can be combined with an optional reversing camera, improving both visibility and safety.
The G-Class has been the ultimate expression of all-roads ability with Mercedes-Benz luxury. Since the press introduction of the first model in the south of France in 1979 to the arrival of the latest, most complete versions yet, it has constantly evolved to meet changing demands. What has not changed is the essential character of the G-Class. It remains a genuine go-anywhere car, without sacrificing any of the comfort, luxury, refinement, quality or safety found in any other car wearing the three-pointed star.
The G-Class came about as a result of a plan by Daimler-Benz and Austrian-based Steyr-Daimler-Puch to develop a light all-wheel drive off-roader. That was in 1973. Although SUVs are hugely popular today, back then the idea was a step into a completely unknown sector. Sales forecasts were inconclusive, but the two companies nevertheless decided to take the plunge.
Production was given the green light in 1975. Under the terms of the 1973 agreement, Steyr-Daimler-Puch would produce the G-Class at a new 40,000 square metre facility in Graz. To this day, that remains the case, with every component built by hand on-site.
In February 1979 the G-Class made its world premiere at a press launch in the south of France. There was a choice of a short-wheelbase Convertible, a long-wheelbase Station Wagon and a panel van with either wheelbase, as well as four engines.
The G-Class has since evolved from the original W 460 through the W 461 (in production until 1991) and the W 463 (from 1989).
G350 BlueTEC - Technical specifications