The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or G-Wagen as most people call it, is one of the most timeless vehicles to have ever come from the German automaker. Its boxy shape and design has continued on for 40 years, with each new model taking on the same classic G-Wagen shape. With Mercedes having released a new family photo of all generations of the G-Class, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to celebrate its 40th birthday this February.
It was in 1979 when Mercedes introduced the first ever G-model. Back then however, it wasn’t the luxurious boxy SUV with AMG power that we know today. Instead, it was a rugged off-roader intended for going off the beaten path and bringing its passengers back in one piece. No leather seats here or wood panel interior there. It was simple and bare bones to say, but it worked and got people where they needed to be going.
Aside from being used for daily commute, the original G-Wagen was versatile enough that the military even used variants of it for service up until today. It was even used at one point as the base for the Popemobile of the 1980s. In fact, a special G-Class was also used in more recent times as well.
It wasn't until 1990 when the 463 model series was launched did the G-Wagen finally get some luxurious goodies such as a more refined interior and permanent all-wheel drive. Over the years, Mercedes continued to upgrade the G-Wagen by fitting it with larger engines choice including a V8 and V12 engine which would later become the G63 and G65 AMGs.
The 463 model also saw the most number of special models which showed off the G-Wagen’s off-road and all-wheel drive capability especially with the fitting of portal axles later on. This could be seen in the G500 4x42 models, the Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, and the 6-wheeler G63 AMG 6x6.
Then in January 2018, the aging series 463 model was replaced by the current-generation W463 G-Class offered by Mercedes today. The new model stayed true to its roots of being a capable off-roader first and foremost and retained it’s boxy styling. In fact, it’s off-road capabilities and performance were further enhanced from that of its predecessor. Inside, it still continues to be comfortable and luxurious for all of its occupants.
The G-Class goes to show that sticking to the same formula could make for a great car, even after 40 years.