Mercedes-Benz G-Class to Get V12 Power
By Greg Kable
Mercedes-Benz has slyly revealed a lightly facelifted version of the 33-year-old G-class prior to its planned public premiere at the Beijing motor show next month.
The reworked version of the German carmaker's iconic military-grade SUV, planned to go on sale in European markets in June with North American deliveries slated to begin by the end of this year, can be seen in the background of an official photograph of the facelifted GLK posted on the Mercedes-Benz media Web site.
Among the subtle changes made to the G-class's classic square exterior is a restyled grille with three prominent slats in place of the older model's seven slats, new headlamp inserts with horizontally mounted LED running lights and redesigned mirror housings.
Not seen in the picture but also evident in recent spy photos of prototypes testing on public roads are altered tail lamp graphics and a new line of alloy wheels.
Official information has yet to be released, but insiders confirm that both of the G-class's standard engines are retained for the 2013 model year, including the 383-hp naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 and the 208-hp, 3.0-liter V6 diesel.
Up until now the diesel powerplant has not been offered in North America.
Further up the lineup, the 12-year-old G55 AMG's 500-hp supercharged 5.4-liter V8 finally makes way for a 536-hp version of Mercedes-Benz performance division AMG's twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 in a new G63 AMG.
The big news, however, surrounds the addition of a new G65 AMG range-topping model to the lineup. It runs the same twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 recently confirmed for the SL65 AMG. With 621 hp and a sturdy 737 lb-ft of torque, it is claimed to propel the 5,500-pound-plus G65 AMG from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 secconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.
The G65 AMG will be the first G-class model to receive V12 power.
The new AMG models receive different front-end styling from the standard G-class model, with a deeper front bumper housing large air ducts for more efficient engine cooling. Other performance changes include larger brakes adopted from the ML63 AMG.
Unclear at this stage is whether the G63 and the G65 AMG will continue to flaunt the extravagant side pipes used on the G55 AMG, although early prototypes seem to suggest that they will.
In a move that promises to bring substantial fuel savings to all models, the reworked G-class will use Mercedes-Benz's seven-speed 7G-tronic gearbox in place of the older five-speed 5G-Tronic unit in use since 1979. Autoweek sources say the new gearbox will offer an automatic stop/start function along with brake-energy recovery, but only on the G63 AMG.
Other upgrades brought to the G-class, which continues to carry the internal code name W463 and is produced by Magna Steyr in Austria, is a revised instrument cluster bought over from the third-generation M-class, a 4.5-inch color monitor and Mercedes-Benz's latest COMAND system that incorporates Internet-based functions.
The facelifted G-class will continue to be offered with the choice of two wheelbases, 94.5 inches in standard guise and 112.2 inches in long wheelbase form. The quirky cabriolet is also set to continue but only in combination with the standard 383-hp, 5.5-liter V8 as the G500 cabriolet.
The G-Class was not designed to be pretty like a Toyota 4Runner, it was designed to be functional. It was released in 1979 for the German, Swiss, and Austrian militaries. It was also designed for NATO. The Canadian special forces and U.S. Marines Force Recon also use diesel miliatry spec versions. The G-Class includes three locking differentials, and can climb 80% grades (36 degrees), and remain stable, laterally, on slopes up to 44.5% (24 degrees) right out of the box with no mods.
The G-Class isn't for everyone, Mercedes knows this, and that is why they have pretty much left the design alone. They're hand built in Graz, Austria by Magna Steyr on behalf of Mercedes. It's cheaper than Mercedes having a dedicated assembly line as they're low production volume vehicles. The G-Class is going to be manufactured until 2015. Anyway, they'll easily last 25 years or more. In fact, in 2006, Mercedes' engineers test drove a G-Class over 11,800 miles across Siberia in temperatures averaging -60 degrees. The number of break downs? ZERO.
What does it do that requires it to be so ugly??
It's an extremely capable off road vehicle, in the same vein as the old Range Rovers, Hummer H1's, and other high end off road vehicles. Off road vehicles are rarely pretty. It's roughly the same idea as the old Toyota Land Cruiser before it got turned into a soccer mom wagon.
Frosty hit the nail on the head. Unless you see one of these in olive drab with a soldier behind the wheel, chances are it was bought as a status symbol. I live in a fairly affluent area as well, and I see them around pretty frequently. As I like to say, money can't buy taste.
I often want to ask the owners just what exactly they were thinking when they made the decision to purchase one.
As far as the looks, it probably just comes down to the fact that all those flat stampings are easier/cheaper to produce and assemble/repair. After all, this WAS originally designed as a military vehicle.
Mercedes spent more than $23K on warranty work for my wife's G Wagon. It is no longer under warranty...yikes! We have never owned a vehicle that gets so many thumbs up and positive comments. My wife accidentally backed into a ditch, that is the extent of her G Wagon going off road. Just something fun and different to drive. I can't imagine what the V12 will be like to drive!
As a person who favors Toyota products I wouldn't think you would be too concerned about looks. Now, I'm not saying that to start an argument about who makes the ugliest products on the road. I'm saying it because you once told me you don't care if the vehicle is unattractive as long as it is reliable. I think the G Wagon fits into that category very well.
Now, that said, I go to Moab often and have never seen one of these, or a newer model Land Rover, on any trail so obviously they are not being purchased for their off road capability.
I live near Aspen, Colorado where money is in no short supply and see lots of these, and Land Rovers, on the road, weird that they won't make the few hour trip to Moab (world class off roading). This leaves me no other conclusion to draw than that they are being purchased for a status symbol and not for their off road capability. Now, that said, who want a hideously ugly status symbol???
You are correct in that I have stated that looks rank about fifth or sixth on my list of importance when making a purchase. I also don't find a single Toyota to be ugly, maybe not always the best looking cars in each category but certainly not ugly either. It is obvious when looking at the G-Class that they couldn't give a hoot about aesthetics, not even an iota.
What does it do that requires it to be so ugly??
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