Stuttgart/Munich – The reader survey conducted by specialist publication "Off Road" to find the "2011 Off-Road Vehicle of the Year" has resulted in a double victory for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The off-road legend not only secured first place in the "Luxury off-road vehicle" category, but also emerged in first place in the "Classic" category. In the "Special vehicles" category, meanwhile, the multi-talented Unimog succeeded in making its way to the top of the winner's podium. This reader vote of confidence serves to highlight the exceptional position enjoyed by premium brand Mercedes-Benz in the all-wheel vehicle sector.
The longest-serving Mercedes-Benz model series has enjoyed superstar status for some time now: this year marks the eighth time that the G-Class, which has been in production for almost 32 years, has emerged victorious in the important reader survey conducted by specialist publication "Off Road". As a result it has once again proved worthy of the title "off-road vehicle of the year".
The "G" family currently has three body variants: short-wheelbase Station Wagon, long-wheelbase Station Wagon and Convertible, which can be combined with either a particularly environmentally-friendly V6 diesel engine featuring BlueTEC technology and with an output of 155 kW (210 hp) and 540 Nm of torque, or a powerful 5.5-litre V8 petrol engine developing 285 kW (388 hp) with a torque of 530 Nm. The flagship G 55 AMG model – available only as a four-door, long-wheelbase Station Wagon – is powered by a V8 supercharged engine developing 373 kW (507 hp) with an impressive peak torque of 700 Nm.
The evergreen Mercedes-Benz off-roader continues to offer a superior synthesis of high-performance drive and dynamic handling control systems. The standard specification includes the electronically controlled traction system 4ETS, the Electronic Stability Program ESP® and three differential locks selectable at the push of a button, alongside the permanent all-wheel drive with off-road ratio and the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission.
The G-Class Professional, which was crowned victor in the "Classic" category, is characterised by versatility, ruggedness and reliability. It has been the choice of professionals for extreme applications – such as the police and fire services for example – for almost three decades. This limited-equipment utility variant of the classic G-Class model is also often chosen by private individuals for extreme off-road applications.
When it came to special vehicles – all-terrain vehicles which are used to transport loads and goods in remote areas or which form the basis for special bodies – the Unimog was once again able to secure its place on the winner's podium. It was praised for its design, which combines outstanding all-terrain capability with extreme ruggedness.
The first awards received by the off-road classic date back almost as far as the date of creation of the G-Class itself. In 1983 for example, the Australian specialist magazine "Bushdriver" voted it the best 4x4 off-road vehicle of the year. Since that time the off-road icon has picked up numerous additional awards. Readers of the specialist publication "auto motor und sport" alone have voted the G-Class as the world's best off-road vehicle on no less than 14 occasions. As such the G-Class is one of the most popular and highly decorated models in the off-road vehicle sector.