History of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen (1979-2009)

Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen
Owing to continuous model refinement, the G-Class has kept abreast of technological progress. It boasts an extremely efficient drive system. Combining permanent all-wheel drive with the electronically controlled 4ETS traction system, ESP, a “low-range” ratio, plus three driver-selectable differential locks, the G-Class is a match for any off-road challenge, and at the same time affords typical Mercedes-Benz handling safety on the tarmac.

From the very beginning the G-Class was designed for operation in extremely difficult terrain. A sturdy base is provided by a perimeter frame made of box-section longitudinal and cross members that afford extraordinary rigidity against bending and distortion. The frame carries robust rigid axles featuring large coil springs with long spring travel advantageous for off-road operation. With gradability of up to 80 percent, directional stability on lateral slopes of up to 54 percent, 8.3 inches of ground clearance, a 36-degree angle of approach and a 27-degree angle of departure, the G can conquer even the most difficult off-road stretches. At the same time the chassis affords safe, comfortable on-road driving performance.

The proven basic technical concept remains unchanged even today. Nevertheless, the engineers have continuously upgraded the engineering and equipment since 1979. Automatic transmission and air conditioning have been available since 1981. Since 1990 the G-Class has featured permanent all-wheel drive, differential locks on front and rear axles, and a fully-lockable center differential as standard. And since 2001 the G-Class has additionally offered ESP, 4ETS and Brake Assist, giving it a combination of efficient traction and handling safety systems unparalleled worldwide.

Despite initial plans to replace the G-Wagen in 2006 with the mainstream GL-Class, popular demand meant that the original G continues to be in production alongside the new GL as a completely separate model line. Engines have been upgraded over the years, with the top version in 2009 being the V8-powered 507 hp G 55 AMG, which is a massive improvement compared to the original engine 30 years ago.

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