By Bennett Oghifo
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class celebrates a landmark as it turns 40 this year, and Weststar, the authorised General Distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Nigeria, has rolled out the drums and put the machine in showrooms across the country.
“We acknowledge this landmark occasion with a sense of pride as the G-Class continues to make history not just across the globe but also here in Nigeria. The new G-Class is currently available in authorised Mercedes-Benz dealerships across Nigeria, courtesy of Weststar Associates Limited,” Weststar said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz officials have described the G-Class as the top model among luxury off-road vehicles. “It is not only the passenger car model series with the longest production run in the history of Mercedes-Benz, but also the forefather of all SUVs to bear the three-pointed star – this is why all Mercedes off-road models feature the upper-case G in their name.”
What began in 1972 with a collaboration agreement between then Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in the Austrian city of Graz is now a story peppered with superlatives and significant milestones. The first concept to be developed was already different. The team designed a vehicle which impressed with superior off-road capability, while at the same time appealing to customers as a full-featured and safe vehicle suitable for recreational purposes. All-wheel drive and 100-percent differential locks have also been part of the “G” since that time, as has the robust ladder-type frame.
At the time of its market launch, in the spring of 1979, it was available with a choice of four engine variants covering a performance range from of 53 kW/72 hp to 115 kW/156 hp. Customers had the option of a Cabriolet with a short wheelbase or Station Wagon models with short or long wheelbase. In 1989 the vehicles of the model series 463 marked the beginning of an evolutionary process for the off-roader that was not just about keeping pace with technical progress. It was an evolution that also brought a steadily expanding fan base and emphasized its character as an exclusive vehicle for any occasion. And since 1993 the vehicle was labeled with an official name; the G-Class.
The G-Class models used for the “Popemobile” are famous around the world.
The off-road Mercedes-Benz 230 G painted in “mother of pearl” with a transparent special body accompanied Pope John Paul II on numerous journeys from 1980.
The 25th anniversary of the G-Class was marked by the arrival of a very special model on the market, honed by Mercedes-AMG; the G 55 AMG Kompressor. Its eight-cylinder power unit (350 kW/476 hp, 700 Nm of torque) gave the robust off-roader an unprecedented level of performance and demonstrated the tremendous potential of the G-Class.
The G 500 4×4² of 2015 added not only a luxurious interior to the equation, but also a ground clearance of 45 centimetres and impressive on-road performance. Since 2015, the “designo manufaktur” range has been providing customers with the option to take a G-Class and make it their own individual “G” – with exclusive equipment variants that are perfectly coordinated with each other.
Thanks to the Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet, the iconic G-Class reinvented itself once more in 2017. With its superlative V12 engine (fuel consumption, combined: 17.0 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 397 g/km), portal axles, electric fabric top and exclusive appointments in the rear compartment, this very special all-terrain vehicle, which is limited to 99 units, meets the expectations of customers who demand the very highest standards of their vehicle. Arguably, it is the most exclusive form of open-air driving pleasure.
The summer of 2017 saw the 300,000th G-Class roll off the assembly line in Graz – a Mercedes-Benz G 500 in designo Mauritius blue metallic with black leather seats and contrasting white topstitching (combined fuel consumption: 12.3 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 289 g/km). Equipped with a range of off-road features including all-terrain tires mounted on black 16-inch rims and a sturdy roof rack, the anniversary vehicle embarked on new adventures last year. G-Class fans around the world determined the vehicle specification by voting for their favourite equipment and appointments on the official G‑Class Facebook page.
The new G-Class has been hailed as the “biggest transformation” in the G’s 40 years-old history, as it raises the bar higher in all relevant areas while maintaining familiar and popular features from its design icon. The new G-Class performs even better off-road, while on the road it is significantly more agile, dynamic and comfortable than its predecessor. This new model gives the “G” a befitting persona to marking its landmark age.