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Mercedes-Benz G Wagen

Mercedes-Benz G Wagen Published: 6th Feb 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Mercedes-Benz G Wagen
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A more robust and reliable alternative to a Range Rover and arguably the more prestigious, it’s become a cult classic

Originally designed for the military, the G-Wagen (Gelandwagen) has become a cult classic, liked for granite-like build and rock sure dependability and while this off-roader is no thing of beauty they have became a firm favourite for aftermarket tuners and customisers. Renewed interest in this no nonsense hand-built off-roader has caused prices to recently rocket.

What makes them so special

The UK market only received diesel models so performance, allied to mandatory automatic transmission (manuals were also produced), is sedate at best, but petrol variants are available elsewhere as were a wider spread of diesels. But once up to speed, the G-Wagen lopes along well and rides agreeably. Similarly, the handling of this 40 year old is nothing special but with its limits is fine and aftermarket improvements are available – perhaps the best way to sum up the G-Wagen is that it’s more Defender than Range Rover to drive but has the comfort and refinement of the latter.

Right choice

So long as LHD doesn’t bother you (look to Japanese import RHD otherwise), buying from abroad provides much wider choice of variants where a V6, V8 and even V12s, alongside an AMG flagship, was marketed – diesels could be had in V6 and V8 guises where as the UK had only four and five-cylinder models. Initial UK cars were manuals until an auto option joined in 1981. There’s more body configurations overseas to choose from, such as three and five-doors, a van and even a cabriolet!

Affordability

As interest has risen in the G-Wagen so has prices and it’s unlikely to unearth anything good for less than £15,000 – add another £10K for excellent example but some models have been known to fetch touching £40,000, particularly genuine original, unrestored or custom G-Wagens; sounds expensive but restorations cost far more.

Significant dates

Model W460 in M-B numerology, the G-Wagen is launched in 1979 with choice of petrol and diesel power, and G,GD and GE designations. In 1981 it enters the UK market plus automatics now figure, with power steering standardised for ’87. The most significant facelift occurred in 1990 (W463) with four-wheel drive now permanent (via three diff locks) and a better interior. The vehicle is renamed G-Class in 1993, the same time a V8 G500 surfaces. Three years later a better diesel arrives (G300) while the G320 has new V6. At the end of the decade a G55AMG and the G400CDi is launched – the AMG posts 476bhp by 2004 later to be joined by 224bhp G320CDi and G65 AMG with a twin turbo 612bhp V12.

Don’t get caught out…

  • Speak to g-wagenregister.com and cardockclassics.com.
  • According to owners, the key to great G-Wagen ownership is preventative maintenance and they are easy DIY machines.
  • Chassis rust can be serious and expensive to put right – you really need to get the vehicle under a pit or ramp to inspect properly.
  • Engines are everlasting especially UK diesels. Oil leaks and failing head gaskets on all are the main concerns.
  • Transmissions are tough; ‘463’ electronics being the only main worry.
  • Water leaks not unknown and on the ‘463’ it can damage the ECUs.


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