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  • Istoricul clasei G.

    Despite the fact that Steyr-Puch has a long history as builder of very capable off-roaders like the Haflinger and Pinzgauer, which in fact did not heir the beauty of the Austrian horse breeds after which they were named, the truth is that the G-Wagen is a true Mercedes, since this company was very much responsible for its conception, although this was done in co-operation with Steyr-Daimler-Puch.

    The following intends to be a longer-than-expected history of the G-Wagen. The origins of the G can be traced back to before the Great War. In 1907 Daimler-Benz presented the Dernburg Wagen which for the first time united in one car a petrol engine, all-wheel-drive and all-wheel steering.

    It was, in fact, a very advanced vehicle for its time but lacked performance due to the fact that the engine had to move its 3.6 tons weight with only 38 BHP. Its was used by the police of the then German protectorate of Southwest Africa, now Namibia. This was succeeded in 1929 by a first Kübelwagen which was the name given to the military vehicles of that time, cars with no doors and very supportive seats to prevent the soldiers from falling from the car.

    The G1 of 1926 were actually 4x6: power was driven only to the pair of rear axles,

    unlike the G4, a rear-wheel-drive 4x6 with a connectable drive to the front axle based on the luxurious 500K. Only 57 units of this vehicle were ever built, most of them with an open bodywork, but there were also 7 built as FFR ((edited)d for Radio).

    The most special of all were very special indeed: the first of these was retained by Hitler, who gave the remaining two as presents to Benito Mussolini and to General Franco. Franco used the latter for hunting big game and is one of only four surviving units, presently retained by the Spanish State, which recently dismissed a multi-million-DM offer from Daimler-Benz to give it away. This G4 has recently been restored by Mercedes-Benz in Germany at their own cost in the MB Museum premises, together with the Grösser also used by Franco.

    The 170 VG and VL were presented in 1935. Both were light off-roaders in the modern sense, the former with connectable front axle and the latter with permanent all wheel drive and steering. Both were based in the 170 V saloon, with the same 1,700 cc and 38 BHP engine but this time with a 5-speed gearbox.

    Despite its lack of commercial success, with only 100 units sold to the Wehrmacht, its successor was presented in 1937. The G5 was very much the same vehicle, but enjoyed a 2-litre engine with 50 BHP at 3,800 rpm. The military versions had all wheel steering and drive, independent suspension and 3 lockable differentials.

    The G5 had a turning circle of only 7 meters in its 4 wheel steering configuration, whereas the standard model needed 12. The gearbox was developed specifically for this model, with very small ratios to enable very slow speeds, since no transfer box was offered. The overall length favoured off road driving with only 3.97 m, although the wheel base amounted for 2.53 meters. Despite all this goodies (or perhaps just because of them) it never sold in big figures: only 606 units were made between 1937 and 1941 of which 378 were sold to the Wehrmacht and 228 to private users from Germany and abroad.

    In fact, the history of AWD vehicles is the history of army motoring as Mercedes and the rest of German car manufacturers know quite well. In the 30´s Mercedes competed with the BMW 325 (nothing to do with the company car of the bloke next door), the Stoewer R180 and the Hanomag 20 B, all of whom were technically advanced but very heavy (at least 1,700 Kgs.), with maximum speeds under 75 Km/h and consumption, cross country, of no less of 25 litres every 100 Kms (12 mpg). However, these complicated designs with their all wheel drive and steering proved wrong: they were too heavy and complex for a continuous high demand use, as demonstrated by Ferdinand Porsche and his Volkswagen Kübelwagen, smaller and lighter than the standardised models which was in the end the one to win the contracts with the German army.

    From then on until the launch of the G, MB produced no other AWD vehicle than the Unimog. The G as we know it today had its origins in the early sixties. At that time the marketing experts of Daimler-Benz were studying the increasing trend of the AWD market towards leisure vehicles, especially in the USA, where multi-purpose vehicles were being launched. Mercedes-Benz wanted to be present in this market and therefore started development studies in 1972. Despite its successful history in manufacturing AWD vehicles like the Unimog, Daimler chose for this new venture to associate with Steyr-Daimler-Puch. The origins of this co-operation are not clear but seem to originate from the competition of both makers in securing a contract for supplying a light AWD for the Swiss army. The Pinzgauer won the contract over the Unimog and instead of turning back, DB decided to develop their new project in co-operation with SDP.

    At the time of its conception, Mercedes-Benz thought about developing a cross country vehicle not only addressed to the army (capable of substituting the old models then in use) but also foreseeing the possibility of being present in the new AWD niche. It was then decided to give more importance to practicality rather than to aesthetics. The result should be a range of cross-country vehicles that satisfy the widely differing tasks that a 4WD vehicle has to perform. Around this range, Mercedes even derived the motto: the right vehicle for every purpose and claimed to be able to offer a tailor-made vehicle to suit a particular requirement.

    A joint company, the Geländefahrzeuggesellschaft mbH or GFG, in which both DB and SDP had a 50% each holding, designed the G. The chief designer was Erich Lewinka. It was decided from the beginning, for efficiency reasons, that the new design would use as much components as possible from both partners and therefore body panels, engines, gearbox, axles and steering come from MB and SDP is responsible for the chassis and the transfer box.

    The project’s name was H2, which stood for Haflinger 2, but Mercedes was reluctant to use this latter as the trade name in view of its great association to Steyr-Daimler-Puch. During the development and testing periods, names like Explorer and Ascari were also considered, but this latter was rejected by the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz in view of the negative connotations that it might have because of the German colonial past in German East Africa.

    Finally, the neutral name G, a short for the German word for all-terrain vehicle or Geländewagen was chosen.

    The first model –in solid wood- was prepared by SDP in April 1973 and the first metal prototype in 1974, although I resist in believing that any of these posed any resemblance to the final G-Wagen.

    In 1975 the planning of a 100 million DM production plant for about 800 employees in the factory compound of Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Graz, the Styrian capital, began. From the beginning, it was anticipated that the life span for the new all-terrain vehicle would be no more than ten years. It was also decided that the production should be of 9,000 units a year, sufficient to reach a 2% of the market, with plans for increase to 11,000/year at a later stage. 96% of the production should be exported, 90% of the total through Mercedes-Benz dealers. Consequently, 10% should be marketed under the Puch name, in Austria, Switzerland, Yugoslavia and the other COMECON countries. The reason of this share was that it was presumed that it would be much easier to sell under the Mercedes badge rather than the Puch, except in the mentioned markets where Puch products were already well known.

    Eventually, the decisive factor to produce this car was the Shah of Persia’s interest in the project in the mid-seventies. This then very important shareholder of Mercedes-Benz-ordered 20,000 units for the (then) Iranian Imperial Army. When the project finally had become reality the order was cancelled by the meanwhile governing leaders of the Islamic republic.

    However, the production could start thanks to the orders from the German Federal border police and the Argentine Army, followed shortly afterwards by the orders from the Norwegian military who ordered vehicles in long wheel base versions.

    The first special equipment orders came from the Indonesian army which ordered the cars with bow huge wire-cutters cutting wires laid down by partisans. This was one of the first special requests and many of them have followed during the next twenty years, so that the planning has become one of the most important stages in the sales department in Graz.

    One of the most striking special orders of the time was for a 280 GE LWB jagdwagen or open shooting platform for the Saudi Arabian Royal household. In this car, the rear bench sits in the boot and in its former place you can find two very comfortable armchairs for the hunters to aim from.

    Other very special order of the G-Wagen is the 230 G LWB Popemobile which is essentially a white Station Wagon with its roof sliced and crowned by a Plexiglas dome for the Pontiff to stand and wave to the crowds.

    Back in the spring of 1973, the Bundeswehr was briefed about the development of the project and in June of the same year the conception of the car was subject to evaluation by the Military. It was then expected by Mercedes that they would win the bid for supplying the new light cross country vehicle to replace the DKW Munga at the end of the seventies, which was expected to amount to 8,000 units. However, in 1976, the VW Iltis won the contract, apparently for its interchangeability of parts with the Munga and its lower price. The superior quality of the G was never put into question, but a joint test of both contenders by the Military was never undertaken. The contracts from the Bundeswehr followed only later, when the time to replace the Iltis had come. However, we must thank GFG for not making the G project dependant on the bid to supply the German army. Otherwise, the G might never have existed.

    Initially the orders from the world’s armies did support the production start, as the years went on the number of civilian vehicles built equals that of the military, compounding today a ratio of 50/ 50.

    Apart from the series 460, 461 and 463, built in Graz, the G-Wagen has another one, the 462. This version was assembled in Thessaloniki (Greece) as CKD-vehicles (completely knocked down). This means that most of the parts were delivered from Germany and Austria to Greece and then put together there.

    Also, some units of the G-Wagen have been assembled CKD in Mercedes-Benz plant in Aksaray, Turkey, for the Turkish army. Another foreign assembly of the G were the few hundred units of the 461 and 463 series in RHD for internal state demand made in Indonesia in the early 90s. The French army also trusted the G to be its main light transport vehicle. The P4, produced by Peugeot cannot, however, be regarded as a mere rebadged G-Wagen. The vehicle was initially exclusively conceived for military use, with fabric doors and hood and plastic windows which could not be opened.

    The P-4 has also specific seats, headlights, and a three-spoke steering wheel, but most of the other parts of the bodywork are similar to those of the G. The 70.5 bhp 2.5 litre Peugeot diesel (XD3 155) allowed a maximum speed of 108 km/h, but thanks to the reduced unloaded weight of 1,895 kilograms the P4 has excellent off road capabilities, despite the front differential lock not been specified in this version.

    Eventually, Peugeot also distributed a civil version of the P4 similar to the military one. It is a short wheel base soft top with fabric hood and doors. Under the bonnet breathes either a 2-litre petrol with 83.5 BHP or a 2.5 naturally aspirated diesel with 75 BHP. Originally about half of the P4s were (edited)d with the petrol engine, but they were all later converted to diesel, balancing the only marginally superior performance with the need to supply a second type of fuel during military operations.

    But let’s go back to the G. The first prototype, finished in September 1974 was a SWB open G with petrol engine. This was followed the year after by two more, with short and long wheel base. The first military prototype presented in 1978 had, similarly to the P4, rectangular headlights and was also a convertible with a fold-down windscreen and removable doors. At that time, it was assumed at the GFG that this convertible version would be the best sold version. In reality the non-convertible models as the Station with short and long wheel base were the clients’ favourites (only 12% of all G’s are convertibles).

    On February 10th, 1979 the production started in the plant of Graz, with the 230G (four cylinders, petrol and 90/102 BHP), 240GD (four cylinders, diesel, 72 BHP) and 300 GD (five cylinders, diesel, 88 BHP) and the car was officially presented to the press at the Paul Ricard race track near Toulon in the South of France.

    The production of the 280 GE (six cylinders, petrol, fuel injection, 155 BHP) followed only in early 1980. All versions had a four-speed manual gearbox and a two-speed transfer box with four-wheel-drive and front and rear differential locks connectable on the move. There were five alternatives in colour to choose. Cream white, wheat yellow, colorado beige, carmine red and agave green. All models were offered for civilian clients in Station Wagon with short or long wheel base or convertible with short wheel base and in the military version, in addition to these, as convertible with long wheel base and three or five doors.

    However, the differential locks were initially only offered by Puch and Mercedes-Benz as optional extras. Things usually taken from granted as a lockable glove compartment, a power-assisted steering, halogen headlamps and a clock were only available as options. Besides, the two spoke steering wheel and most of the switches had been sourced from the Mercedes transporter range, which did not help an upmarket image of the G. In November 1980 the offer was extended with a closed van with short or long wheel base but only 2 lateral doors.

    The first model revision followed in 1981. Now a hardtop for the SWB convertible, the 4 speed automatic transmission (only for the 280 GE and 300 GD), air-conditioning, alongside benches for the load area, a winch, mounts for guns, additional tanks with a total capacity of 30 litres in the rear wings, a tropic roof for hot regions, tow bar up to 2,800 Kg, wash-wipe system for the rear door, a 22 colour list of optional metallic paints, additional Webasto Heating, Recaro sport seats and protective grilles for the headlights were made available. For commercial use there was another important option: the auxiliary drive to power generators and hydraulic pumps, recently being used to drive hydraulic winches and thus avoid electric issues when the car is submerged.

    Until December 1981, all closed versions came with a double rear door as standard, but could be specified with a single rear door. Form then on, the single door became standard and the double rear door configuration an optional extra until august 1983. In 1982 the 230 G was replaced by the 230 GE, which delivered 125 BHP thanks to a mechanical Bosch KA injection. The 230 G could still be specified in 90 bhp guise for special markets for some time. In 1982 the standard and optional equipment were improved by a smaller four-spoke steering wheel, electric switches and seats taken from the Mercedes saloons, an enlarged water tank for the wiper and washer system as well as bigger tyres (edited)d on light-alloy rims as well as extended wheel arches to accommodate them.

    In this year the legal manufacturer changed from GFG to Daimler-Benz.

    Sporting success came first in 1983 by Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur reaching the first place at the Rally Paris-Dakar with a SWB van with a bodywork optimised aerodynamically in the wind tunnel and slimmed down by many aluminium parts. In addition a 2,8 litre six-cylinder engine with mechanical injection delivering 220 bhp was installed. This was followed by the successes achieved by Clay Regazzoni and other drivers during the following years.

    In 1983, the military orders were considerably reduced for the first time and this gave the civil market even more importance. Thanks to this a number of improvements in the standard and optional equipment were done in stages during 1983. Among these we can cite the following: four new metallic paints (hues lapis blue, cypress green, manganese brown and astral silver), an optional five-gear manual transmission for all versions of the 280 GE and 300 GD, the 4 speed auto gearbox available as an option also for the 230 GE, illuminated switches, the high/low beam switch taken from the saloon models, an improved seat adjustment, integrated air-conditioning, and the power assisted steering which was made standard for the 230 GE.

    In the spring of 1984 the eight-inch-tandem-brake-servo-unit was (edited)d to all models, the tarpaulin canopy at the convertible was changed into a folding hood and tubeless tyres were offered in all the range. Also, the 280 GE received a tuned camshaft, a modified ignition system and an exhaust gas re-circulation system, to meet the more stringent exhaust emissions in force then in the BRG, which improved the torque’s curve but reduced the power to 150 bhp. In June 1985 the production of the SWB van was discontinued due to low demand. The front and rear differential locks, a rev counter, the chequered trim with bigger squares, new carpets, an improved roof liner, a revised instrument panel, the central locking and a tow eye in the front bumper were made standard to all versions.

    Among the options presented were wing extensions in combination with 255/75 R 15 tyres and the front seats heating. The 230 GE was (edited)d now with hydraulic tappets and the 280 GE could now run on regular lead free fuel. In early 1986 a new version of chassis-cab with a wheel base of 2.85 metres was offered for the 230 GE, 240 GD and 300 GD and aimed specially to the commercial and military user or as basis vehicle for mobile homes. A new catalytic version of the 230 GE was offered which delivered 122 bhp, Alternatively, the pre-catalyst version continued to deliver 125 bhp.

    Exclusively for the important Italian market, the 200 GE was offered with a 2 litre four cylinder engine taken from the 200 E and a five speed gearbox and PAS as standard. In 1986 the 50,000 G was produced in Graz. In the next year it was possible to refit the power steering which has been available as an option since 1981 to used vehicles. The fourth model revision took place in 1987, when the 250 GD (five cylinder, diesel, 84 Bhp) was presented at the IAA in Frankfurt in September 1987 to replace the 240 GD. The engine again was taken from the saloon series and coupled to a standard five-gear transmission. The 300 GD continued to be offered but kept its standard four-gear transmission, being the 5 speed gearbox only available as an option. The 4 speed auto becomes an option for all the models (including the 250 GD).

    In an attempt to make the new model popular, a special series of 200 units of the 250 GD in delivered with metallic paint. The chassis-cab was now also offered with a wheel base of 3.12 metres together with the 2.85 metres version. A prototype of a closed version with this wheel base was built, but was never taken into production. The standard equipment was again improved: regulation of illumination of instrument panel, windscreen made of laminated glass, heated nozzles of the wash/wipe system of windscreen, heated rear window with wash/wipe system in Station Wagons, security locks for children in lateral and rear doors and an alarm for not switched off lights. Now electric windows (4 for the LWB Station Wagon), an automatic aerial, and a double roller blind for the boot’s cover were available as options.

    In 1987 the G-Wagen came under the responsibility of the passenger vehicle department. This step was almost necessary in the process of rethinking the G-Wagen and its position in the market, which culminated with the launching of the 463 series.

    Mercedes-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch began in that year with the planning of an improved version of the G to respond to the increasingly upmarket trend of the leisure off-road vehicles market. It was decided from the very beginning that the new G would offer anti-lock brakes and airbags. These were demanded by the market and had already become standard equipment of Mercedes-Benz saloons. During the planning it turned out that ABS was then only possible in combination with permanent all-wheel drive. And the whole system should be designed to enable disconnection of the ABS when driving off-road.

    During the three-year period of development of the new model the existing 460 series was revised again. As from May 1988 a new plastic tank was now (edited)d as standard in the 250 GD and the 300 GD with an increased capacity from 68 litres of the steel tank (without additional tanks) to 81.5 litres and an armrest for the driver’s and the passenger seats were optionally offered.

    The ten year’s jubilee of the G (when some 75,000 Gs had already been produced) was celebrated by Mercedes-Benz with the presentation of the special model 230 GE Classic: 300 units of the SWB Station Wagon in a blue-black metallic paint, a chrome inset in the lateral rubber strips and an improved standard equipment which included a bulbar.

    Mercedes-Benz also offered a 460 white Service van with blue lateral strips for the mobile repair use to the traders and branch offices to push the sale of the run-out 460 series.

    Finally, in September 1989 Mercedes-Benz presented the new 463 series at the international motor show in Frankfurt. A completely revised interior equipment with a comfortable rear bench, interior trim of the bodywork, a middle console, new instrument panel and ornamental strip in Zebrano polished wood were part of the comfort attributes.

    Framing of the headlights in the bodywork’s colour, a tank filler neck which was transferred to the right side above the rear wheel as well as changed lateral strips were the most apparent improvements.

    But the new model also boasted many technical upgrades: The G had now permanent all-wheel drive with front and rear electro-hydraulic differential locks as well as a 100 percent lockable middle differential lock (also electro-hydraulic). The ABS was initially offered as an option. The 300 GE was the most powerful G ever offered.

    The engine 6 cylinder petrol motor was, as usual, sourced from the saloon’s range W 124/126 and with 177 bhp ensured the best G’s road performance ever. The diesel engines had now hydraulic tappets, a modified air supply, an improved cooling system and were much more economical thanks to an optimised swirl process and less weight.

    During the production start of the 463 series, the Graz factory the production figures suffered considerably: Only eight civil versions of the G came off the production line because of start-up problems of the new model range and a reduced demand on the still offered 460. Curiously, the 463 type pre-production units, built to evaluate the new engines brought into the series but (edited)d with the older 460 type bodywork were later sold in the second-hand market. These are some 230 GE and 300 GD units (engines M102 and OM603 respectively), which are genuine 463 in chassis and mechanic terms.

    The official presentation to the press of the new 463 took place in the Château Lastours near Perpignan in the South of France in March 1990. Just before, the production of the 200 GE and 300 GD (five-cylinder OM617) engines was discontinued. The new model range was: 230 GE (4 cylinders, petrol injected, 126 bhp), 250 GD (4 cylinders, diesel, 94 bhp), 300 GE (6 cylinders, petrol injected, 177 bhp) and 300 GD (six-cylinder, diesel, 113 bhp). Later on a 463 series 200 GE was again offered for the Italian market exclusively. All models are (edited)d with a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard. The 463 was only offered as a SWB convertible and as SWB or LWB Station Wagon. All the other body versions have never been (and are unlikely ever to be) offered.

    The list of optional equipment looks more like the telephone book, and includes things like electric windows, auto gearbox, integrated heating and air conditioning, additional heating, leather steering wheel and gear lever, stainless steel bulbar, under carriage protection, five different Becker audio systems, electric roof, arm rests for front seats, additional rear seats and the newly developed ABS.

    The 460 series was discontinued in 1991. The 462 series started production as CKD in Thessaloniki (Greece).

    In April 1992 the 461 series was introduced. This was basically a 460 series aimed at military use as well as municipal and commercial use. It was initially offered as a 250 GD (five cylinder, diesel, 84 Bhp, exclusively for the military) 290 GD (five cylinders, diesel, 95 Bhp) or 230 GE (four cylinder, petrol injected, 122 Bhp), with a five speed manual gearbox as standard.

    The 461 was aimed to land surveyors, forest wardens, landscape gardeners and craftsmen. This meant that some options like electric windows, air conditioning or leather were no longer available. The automatic gearbox was initially only available as special order and the interior was now finished with rubber mats and fabric or MB-Tex trim. Shamefully, the front differential lock falls from the standard equipment list, becoming an option, although power assisted brakes and steering remain as standard. The additional fuel tanks were never offered in the 461, since the extra capacity of 96 litres of its plastic fuel tank made them unnecessary.

    The 461 was offered as a short- or long wheel base Station Wagon, or a LWB closed van or Chassis-cab (with a 3,120 mm wheel base). Both the SWB and a new LWB convertibles were only offered for the 461 as special factory orders.

    In September 1991 at the IAA, Mercedes-Benz presented the 350 GD Turbodiesel as a 463 series (six cylinder, Turbo Diesel, 136 Bhp) exclusively with a four-gear automatic transmission. The 350 GD was to be marketed together with the 300 GD for a while, but its launch marked the death of the unsuccessful, underpowered 250 GD. In 1992 the 463 equipment was upgraded: including the following options: Tempomat (only with auto gearbox), spare wheel cover in high-grade steel, stainless steel side steps, a boot’s cover and root wooden insets in the interior.

    Also in April 1992 the newest body version of the G was presented, the 461 series pickup, with the standard LWB of 2.850 mm. The cab sits two people and offers an open load bed of 1,670 x 1,514 mm for a total vehicle length of 4,600 mm. This body has always been exclusive of the 461 series.

    By this time, more than 100,000 G’s had been produced.

    In 1993 the offer in the 461 series included a Chassis with driver’s cab with a wheel base of 3.40 metres. For the export options like chromium plated axle ball joint head, a central locking, an upholstered instrument panel, a watch and head-rests were offered.

    In 1993, a special edition of 500 units of the 500 GE (V8, petrol injected, 241 Bhp) was launched, but only in LWB Station Wagon guise. The two-valve eight-cylinder engine was taken from the 500 SE saloon and was coupled to a 4 speed auto gearbox and equipped with a three-way catalyst. However, the front differential lock was not offered, even as an option.

    The standard equipment of the most exclusive G ever produced included Amethysblau metallic paint, loads of wood inlays in the interior including the hand brake- and gear levers, door scuff plates of high-grade steel, a two-tone leather interior with electric and heated front seats, air conditioning, headlights wash system, ABS, electric sun roof, light alloy rims, ventilated front discs and Tempomat. For Austria, the car had also a boot cover and a heated windscreen.

    Later in this year, all model names of the 463 series were changed. The 300 GE was called now G 300 and the 350 GD Turbodiesel became G 350 DT. The G 200 and the G 230 were only offered in certain markets. However, the 461 series continued to be named 230 GE and 290 GD.

    In 1994 the second model revision of the 463 series took place. The new G 320 (six cylinder, four-valve petrol injected, 210 Bhp, 4 speed auto) replaced the G300 for the German market. Shortly afterwards, the production of the G300 was discontinued. From March 1994, all Gs come with standard airbag for the driver, a starter inhibitor and infra-red remote control central locking.

    In 1995 the last of the G500 special models was produced. At this time, however, the G500 was not the quickest or most powerful of all G-Wagens so far ever made. This honour corresponded to the G 36 AMG, an enlarged version of the G320 engine produced by MB´s branch of sports cars, AMG and marketed through the very same dealers as the rest of MB cars. The G 36 (six cylinder, four valve petrol injected, 3,606 cc, 272 bhp and 4 speed auto) was good for 190 Km/h, some 10 Km quicker than the G500.

    From September all G 320 and G 350 Turbodiesel received front ventilated disc brakes. Other equipment which became standard was: radio antenna integrated in the rear left window in closed versions, remote control of the inside mirror, Tempomat (G320), heat resistant windows, automatic closing of electric windows and roof when the key is removed from starter, leather steering wheel and gear levers and engine coding security system.

    Some statistics: From 1979 to 1995 a total of 130,000 G-Wagens of all types were produced, of which 105,000 left the Graz factory and 25,000 were assembled in other locations. 90% bear the Mercedes 3-pointed-star and 10% the Puch badge. Only 6% of the 461 series end up in civil hands (94% military clients) and virtually all 461´s sold in 1995 were diesel, with only a handful of 230 GEs sold. With regard to the 463 series, in 1995 60% of the Gs sold were G 350. Being the remaining 40% G 320´s. The preferred body in a 463 is the LWB Station Wagon (60% of total production), followed by the SWB Station (28%) and the convertible with 12%.

    In 1996 Mercedes-Benz presented at the International Off-Road Fair in Munich the convertible G with electro-pneumatic folding roof and the G 300 DT (six cylinder, four valve turbo diesel intercooled, 177 Bhp and exclusively to this model, an electronic automatic 5 speed gearbox), which was to replace the G 350 DT.

    The revised standard equipment included: headlamp washer system, passenger’s airbag, a spherical left outside mirror and Tempomat also for the diesel version.

    Puch presented the 461 series chassis-double cab (with a 3.4 metres wheel base) intended for commercial use. In the following year the range of engines offered for the 461 series was limited to the 290 GD naturally aspirated diesel engine with 95 bhp. The 2.3-litre-petrol engine was discontinued due to poor demand, but now it was possible to order a driver’s airbag in the 461 as an option.

    In 1997 for the IAA in Frankfurt the 461 could be specified with electric windows and Tempomat (only with auto gearbox) and in the 463, the new G320 (V6, 3 valve and 2 spark plugs per cylinder, petrol injected, 215 Bhp, 5 speed electronic auto gearbox) took over the in-line 6 engine.

    In 1998 the 290 GD Turbodiesel taken from the Sprinter van (five cylinder, Turbo diesel direct injection intercooled, 120 bhp, 4 speed auto gearbox) replaced the naturally aspirated diesel engine. The new engine was exclusively coupled to a four speed auto. As optional equipment the air-conditioning with air recirculation was offered.

    Shortly afterwards the 463 series all new G 500 (V8, 3 valve petrol injected, 297 Bhp, 5 speed electronic auto gearbox) was introduced. The new model is good for more than 125 mph and offers levels of luxury unknown to cross-country vehicles, including, among other: electric adjustable front seats, a standard leather and root wood inlays, an electronic regulated five-gear automatic transmission, a standard air-conditioning system, optional reversing sensors for parking aid, an optional navigation system, a mobile telephone pre-installation and heated rear seats.

    In contrast to the 500 GE of 1993 the new G500 is available in all model versions – i.e. as Station long, Station short and as convertible and this time the front differential lock is standard. Shortly after, MB is offering the G 55 AMG with an enlarged version of the G500´s engine to 5,439 cc and 354 bhp which somehow came to replace the G 36 AMG.

    The G 500, the G 320 and the G 300 Turbodiesel are still on offer. In March 1999, to commemorate the G’s 20 years jubilee the special model G 500 Classic was presented to the press in Graz limited to 400 units (6 in RHD), with the following standard equipment: A special almadin black metallic paint, two-tone Napa leather, decorative fittings in wood exclusive to this model, bumpers in car’s colour with the badge Classic in the lateral strips.

    As from the summer of 1999, all models are (edited)d with the multifunctional steering wheel of the current saloon’s range of Mercedes-Benz which enables the driver to operate the radio and the telephone as well as the multi-function display panel without removing his hands from the steering wheel.

    In October 2000 Mercedes presented in the Paris motor show the new G400 CDI (V8, 4 valves per cylinder, high pressure injection pump, common rail, turbo diesel, intercooled, 250 HP and a monstrous torque amounting to 560 Nm between 1.700-2.600 rpm). Unfortunately, the G400 has arguably the worst fame due to its lack of reliability and durability, especially in those units made before 2004.

    In July 2001 Mercedes launched the G270CDI, to replace the celebrated G300 Turbodiesel, retaining the latter’s performance while noticeably reducing the fuel consumption, benefiting from the modern Common Rail technology. The new G270CDI (5-in line, 4 valves per cylinder, high pressure injection pump, common rail, turbo diesel, intercooled and 167 CV) came to provide the Mercedes G with the long-awaited balance between performance and fuel consumption, being able to propel the G from 0-100 Km/h in only 13.2 seconds and giving it a top speed of 165 Km/h, with a mixed fuel consumption of just 10.9 per 100 Kms. Back then, the G-Class offer included the 270 y 400 CDI as diesel- and the G320 V6 and G500 V8 as petrol models. All were offered as short and long Station Wagons and Cabriolet with electro-hydraulic hood, except the G270CDI, which was not offered as the latter.

    Simultaneously, the W461 290 GD Turbodiesel was replaced by the G270CDI Greenline. Unfortunately, the Greenline would never again be offered to civilian customers, being exclusively addressed to armies, NGOs and other state customers. With the Greenline, the W460/461 is definitely abandoned, and with it the VG80 transfer case, which determined the rear-wheel-drive with connectable front axle. In the new Greenline the utilitarian W460/461 type bodywork is married to the chassis, engine and drivetrain of the W463, including its VG150 transfer case, so that they now enjoy permanent four-wheel-drive with fully lockable centre differential. Therefore, the technical specifications of the Greenline are similar to those of the civilian G270CDIs.

    The G 461 "Worker" twin to the Greenline but offered for civilian applications is also offred, but only to ONGs and state clients.

    Beginning 2003 Mercedes decided to offer the G55AMG in the normal G-Class range. Hitherto the G500 was sent to Affalterbach from Graz for the technicians of the tuner owned by Mercedes to convert them, in any of the three bodies on offer, into the G55 AMG (V8, 4 valves per cylinder, petrol injection, 354 HP and 525 Nm at 3.000 rpm). Unfortunately, with the inclusion of the G55 AMG into the standard offer Mercedes opted for offering the AMG as long Station Wagon with 2.850 mm wheelbase. As far as the other models is concerned, the offer remains unaltered.

    In May 2004, the new G55 AMG Kompressor came to replace the naturally aspirated version as top of the range. The new engine delivered 476 CV at 6.100 rpm and 700 Nm torque between 2.650-4.500 rpm, figures more proper of a super car than of an all-terrain vehicle.

    In June 2006 Mercedes launched the G320CDI to replace the then two diesel model s on offer, the G270 and the G400, and that was to be offered in all three bodies. The G320CDI (V6, 4 valves per cylinder, high pressure injection pump, common rail, turbo diesel, intercooled, 224 HP and 5460 Nm between 1.600-2.400 rpm), practically copies the G400 performance figures but with the fuel consumption of the G270CDI (8.8 seconds in the 0-100 Km/h sprint, 180 Km/h top speed and a mixed fuel consumption of just 11.5 per 100 Km). There were also a number of improvements, most important of which were the 7G-tronic automatic gearbox, the bi-xenon headlights and the fog lights with turning effect, the synthetic leather ARTICO upholstery, ISOFIX in the second row of seats and three anti-scratch metallic paints.

    Additionally, the Greenline model gets the new V6 in lieu of the one from the G270CDI. In this case, the engine is exactly the same as that of the civilian G320CDI model, but with different mapping, being named G280CDI and delivering 184 HP at 3,800 rpm y 400 Nm between 1.600-2.600 rpm. Also, Mercedes-Benz developed a number of 3 axle prototypes for evaluation by the Australian army, with 3,120 mm wheelbase between the fist and second axles and 1,110 mm wheelbase between the second and the third and four fully-lockable differentials. This version is offered to any army that might be interested in it.

    In July 2006, the G55 AMG Kompressor received a hike in power to 500 CV at the same rpm, keeping its torque figure unaltered. In February 2007 the G-Class gets a facelift that includes a new redesigned interior featuring the COMAND APS, rear LED light clusters and, optionally, CTV camera connected to the reverse gear and a tyre pressure monitoring system from the driving seat.

    In December 2007 the new Popemobile is presented, a long wheelbase convertible based in the G500 and finished in Vatican mystic white, with hand rails and folding windscreen.

    In May 2008 a new version of the G is launched. The new model adopts the grille familiar to other models of the Mercedes-Benz range of vehicles. But the real news is the new G500 engine, with 5.5 litres and a power hike from 296 to 388 CV and 530 Nm torque. Such figures authorise an acceleration from 0-100 Km/h in just 5,9 seconds.

    In June 2008 a new G55 AMG Kompressor, featuring the new grille and enjoying an increase in power to 507 CV, again keeping its torque figure unaltered.

    It is currently possible again to buy a W461 worker for civilian applications in Germany as a private buyer. Unfortunatetly, this is not possible in the vast majority of European markets.

    Currently it is envisaged that the Mercedes G will end production in 2014, once the celebrations for the 30th anniversary are over. But it wouldn’t be the first time that the thousands of G-Wagen fans worldwide compel Mercedes-Benz to reverse a decision already taken. In the meantime, let’s dream with it!
    Ultima editare de rommy20005; 11.mai.2011, 11:23.
    zic si io.........

  • #2
    Re: Istoricul clasei G.

    While it is always flattering to have an article published, I would regard as mandatory in such case to have the name of the author credited. I am the author of this article and I would therefore appreciate some acknowledgement -if not apology- on the matter. Thank you!


    • #3
      Re: Istoricul clasei G.

      Perhaps it would even be easier for your fellow forum readers to read the Spanish version -language which, I am told, is widely understood in Romania- which you can find here:



      • #4
        Re: Istoricul clasei G.

        Se pare ca se pregateste un succesor G-ului actual. A fost prezentat de curand Ener-G-Force, un concept electric, in cadrul unei competitii de design pentru masini de politie cu tema 'Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025'.
        Gorden Wagener, Directorul de Design de la Mercedes-Benz a declarat ca "Ener-G-Force este viziunea unui automobil de teren care desi intruchipeaza aventuri din viitor, invoca si genele legendei off-road de la Mercedes-Benz, Clasa G. Modern si aratos, ar putea reprezenta si un indiciu despre un nou inceput in directia principala de design a Mercedes Benz."
        Cu alte cuvinte, se pregateste un succesor actualului G, cu design si tehnologii noi.

        Ultima editare de storm; 29.nov.2012, 10:31.


        • #5
          Re: Istoricul clasei G.

          asta inseamna sa ai Puch si nu G Class nu e asa grav


          • #6
            Re: Istoricul clasei G.

            Mai trebuie spus ca, în 1972 cei de la Mercedes au căzut de acord cu cei de la Puch-Daimler-Styer, de a fabrica o mașină de teren la presiunea Președintelui Iranian Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Acesta deținea la ora aceea 18% din acțiunile Mercedes. In 1979 el nu mai era la putere în Iran și așa a căzut contractul cu statul Iranian ce își dorea G-ul pentru armată și grăniceri. Nici armata germană nu a comandat în acel an G-ul, făcând un contract cu Volkswagen pentru VW Iltis.
            Astfel pentru modelul G era cât pe ce să fie oprită producția chiar în primii ani.
            Drum bun si dealuri multe.