Will the G-Class go?
There were rumours that Mercedes had plans to kill off its iconic G-Class, a vehicle first conceived following a suggestion from the Shah of Iran. But leaked documents from Magna Steyr, an Austrian contractor, confirm that the German automaker plans to continue producing this gigantic 7-seater until 2020. It is news that is likely to keep private motorists and militaries around the world happy in equal measures given the uptake of the G-Class by various armies.
Since its conception back in 1979, this hulking great vehicle has carved out a niche all of its own that was followed by the likes of Hummer. One of its first customers was not, however, the military but in fact the Pope, who converted the vehicle into what was later to be known as the ‘Popemobile’ with its signature bullet-proof glass cabinet.
Later in 1983 a modified version of the G-Class won the Paris-Dakar rally. By this time it was already serving in the militaries of countries including Argentina, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Egypt and many more besides.
2010 Mercedes G-Class
The latest version, launched in 2010, added new front seats and a new rear bench in a choice of gray or black upholstery or leather. There was also an aux-in socket added to the glove compartment, an all-new ignition key, as well as an upgraded spare wheel cover.
Mercedes G-Glass - Performance
Under the bonnet, the Mercedes G-Class has always been a monster. The US version comes with a choice of engines that includes a V6 diesel, producing 224 horsepower, or two different V8 engines that generate a whopping 388 hp and 507 hp respectively. Last year, Mercedes added a supercharged 5.4-litre V8 engine to the G55 AMG, but it said it would no longer produce this version from 2012 onwards. Such a move points to the changes in the market that will eventually lead to the vehicle’s overall demise.
Not Economical Enough
The main reason rumours have circulated about the Mercedes G-Class 7-Seater in recent years is because this vehicle is simply not economical enough when it comes to fuel usage. Despite reported plans for a staggering V12 version of the AMG in the future, this only means the G-Glass is going out with a bang, and not that it will be around for the long haul.
You only have to look at the demise of the Hummer to see the fate of vehicles this powerful. Once the Hummer was seemingly unstoppable as the preferred choice of the rich and famous, particularly in the world’s biggest car market, America, the Hummer has in the past decade gone from hero to zero.
This is due to a combination of environmental and economic reasons. Put simply, gas guzzlers like the Mercedes G-Class are not only bad for the environment, they also cost a small fortune to run and, therefore, the market and automakers have instead moved towards smaller, most cost-efficient 7-seaters.
The Mercedes G-Class has lasted out better than most in its field – and there are not many competitors – because of its pedigree which has lasted more than 30 years. But come 2020, it looks certain this huge SUV will be a thing of the past.