February 1979: debut of the Mercedes-Benz G

February 1979: debut of the Mercedes-Benz G

Jan 16, 2009
Stuttgart
  • G-Class: A cross-country vehicle with a unique tradition
  • Robust engineering as basis for superb off-road capability
  • Latest technological innovations thanks to continuous model refinements
A classic celebrates its birthday. The Mercedes-Benz G was first introduced to the press from February 5 – 10, 1979. Its distinctive design, largely unchanged in thirty years, and its outstanding engineering have long since elevated the cross-country vehicle to cult status and made it one of the most coveted vehicles in the automobile market.
Development of the cross-country vehicle commenced in 1972 with a joint venture agreement between Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch, based in the Austrian city of Graz. In 1975 the decision was taken to launch the series and build a new plant for it in Graz, where the G is still mostly made by hand even today.
At the 1979 market launch, the vehicle came with four engine variants, with outputs ranging from 53 kW/72 hp to 110 kW/150 hp. A station wagon and a panel van, each in a short- and a long-wheelbase version, were the four original body variants available. These were complemented by an open cross-country vehicle with short wheelbase as a fifth body variant.
The current 463 series comprises three body variants: a two-door cabriolet, a three-door station wagon and a five-door station wagon. The top model of the current series is the five-door G 55 AMG Station Wagon, whose eight-cylinder engine delivers 507 hp (373 kW). There are also special versions for commercial customers and the military.
Owing to continuous model refinement, the G-Class has kept abreast of technological progress. It boasts an extremely efficient drive system. Combining permanent all-wheel drive with the electronically controlled 4ETS traction system, ESP®, a "low-range" ratio, plus three driver-selectable differential locks, the G-Class is a match for any off-road challenge, and at the same time affords typical Mercedes-Benz handling safety on the tarmac.
From the very beginning the G-Class was designed for operation in extremely difficult terrain. A sturdy base is provided by a perimeter frame made of box-section longitudinal and cross members that afford extraordinary rigidity against bending and distortion. The frame carries robust rigid axles featuring large coil springs with long spring travel advantageous for off-road operation. With gradeability of up to 80 percent, directional stability on lateral slopes of up to 54 percent, 21 centimetres of ground clearance, a 36-degree angle of approach and a 27-degree angle of departure, the G can conquer even the most difficult off-road stretches. At the same time the chassis affords safe, comfortable on-road driving performance.
The proven basic technical concept remains unchanged even today. Nevertheless, the engineers have continuously upgraded the engineering and equipment since 1979. Automatic transmission and air conditioning have been available since 1981; since 1990 the G-Class has featured permanent all-wheel drive, differential locks on front and rear axles, and a fully lockable centre differential as standard. And since 2001 the G-Class has additionally offered ESP®, 4ETS and Brake Assist, giving it a combination of efficient traction and handling safety systems unparalleled worldwide.
 
Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Winner of the “Goldener Klassiker 2019” (golden classic) award by “Auto Bild Klassik” specialist magazine in the “Cross-country vehicle” category.
79F109
Mercedes-Benz “G” model from model series 460. Photograph from 1979. There were four engines, two wheelbases and five different body versions available at market launch.
79F123
Car of the world: The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is at home on any continent. (Photo: 461 series, introduced in 1992).
1998DIG247
Diesel power: Mercedes-Benz 290 GD Turbodiesel. The 461 series was launched in 1992.
1998DIG215
Premiered in 1979: Mercedes-Benz 280 GE (460 series), station wagon with long wheelbase.
79F118
Mercedes-Benz ‘G’ model from model series 460, open-top vehicle. Photo from 1979. The frame-type chassis with two rigid axles proved an ideal basis for ensuring outstanding off-road characteristics. To ensure high levels of comfort and driving safety, the axles had trailing arms and transverse control arms for precise guidance. In addition, there were coil springs in place of the usual leaf springs and a front-axle anti-roll bar.
79F119
Ideal for any purpose: Mercedes-Benz G from the 460 series, introduced in 1979.
79F129
Great diversity: At its premiere in 1979, the Mercedes-Benz G (460 series) was available with a choice of two wheelbases and five different bodies.
C28226
No traction problems: Mercedes-Benz 280 GE, station wagon with long wheelbase. The 460 series was introduced in 1979.
81F245


Loading