The Mercedes-Benz G 500 (V8) at a glance
- V8 biturbo with 422 hp and 610 Nm torque
- Three barriers for snow, sand, rubble and water
- Flaps exhaust system like a thunder reverberation
- Final Edition cost just under 200,000 euros
- The new G 500 will arrive in 2024 as a mild hybrid six-cylinder
2.5 tons, vertical windshield – the cult box is alive
What did the legendary womanizer Monaco Franze (cult series “The eternal Stenz”, Bayerische Rundfunk 1983) and the G-Class from Mercedes together? Helmut Fischer was the eternal Stenz in his TV role, the G-Class is the eternal Benz. It has been built continuously for 45 years. Almost unchanged. The indicator is still sitting on the fender in a cheeky and drag-inhibiting manner, the door still closes as if you were sitting in a safe – and the door knobs click into place with a loud clack that could wake the dead.
We have often asked ourselves: Who actually needs such an absurd car with a live weight of 2.5 tons? With its windshield at an almost 90-degree angle, it braces itself against the wind, it has three differential locks – and for heaven’s sake, why have all-wheel drive in an urban environment? The extreme winter of 2023/2024 has taught us otherwise. During the test period, more snow fell around Munich within 48 hours than in years. Traffic collapsed. The cars are covered in deep snow, the streets are slippery.
Even extreme winter is fun with the G-Class
To get into our G 500 (combined fuel consumption: 13.2-12.6 l/100km; combined CO2 emissions: 301-289 g/km)², we climb over the passenger seat. The snow removal service piled up about a meter of snow next to the Benz, blocking the driver’s door. And what can we write – these adverse conditions don’t interest the G-Class in the slightest. We clear the windows of ice and snow, get behind the wheel and just try the center lock.
Forward, back, forward back, we level the snow and plow out of the parking space. Just as if nothing had happened. We are the king of the streets, together with the Suzuki Jimny caretakers who cruise through the towns with their shovels raised upwards. We leave the center lock in because then the ESP is almost completely off. And lo and behold: Even with 2.5 tonnes, you can achieve a flawless but also controlled hip swing in the curves.
3 locks, 24 cm ground clearance, 70 cm wading depth – the G can handle terrain
If it sounds like the winter was fun with its extreme conditions, then that’s right. The G-Class was the right car at the right time. Purists may complain that the off-road classic has long since left the right path because there is no longer a rigid axle at the front or because the steering is electromechanically supported and, oh dear, because the G has a flap exhaust system.
After listening to it extensively, all we can say is: thank God! Because it impressively underlines why the G-Class has a reputation like thunder. Three barriers, ground clearance 24 centimeters, fording depth 70 centimeters – that’s the holy terrain trinity of the G-Class. It shows why this Mercedes is at home all over the world. But that’s only half the truth: with this handcart and especially with the G 500 you can also rock country roads and motorways. Eight cylinders, 422 hp and 610 Nm of torque get the heavyweight going pretty quickly. And once the inert mass has picked up speed, it feels really good, even if that is not politically correct (test consumption around 17 liters per 100 kilometers).
1,500 special models as a final edition for 196,000 euros
But you can forgive it, because this G 500 from Mercedes is history anyway. The Final Edition (1,500 copies) with the four-liter engine is probably already sold out. Despite the high price: Manufactured leather even on the handles, cherry wood loading floor and similar gadgets, together with the full equipment, cost a sinfully expensive 196,350 euros. The G-Wagen, which ex-Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger also liked to drive, existed for 30 years with the eight pots. Like all other 500,000 G examples (as of April 2023), it was built by Mercedes partner Magna-Steyr in Graz. The eternal Benz, slightly revised, will continue to roll off the production line there in the future.
In the case of the G 500, from the upcoming model revision, it will have two fewer cylinders, but with an integrated starter generator, which will contribute an additional 22 electric horsepower to the (presumably) 449 combustion engine horsepower. This means that the new “500” is definitely not weaker than its predecessor. The fans are still allowed to wear mourning bandages because the eight-cylinder is gone. It remains exclusive to AMG. The optimized four-liter power plant will continue to be used in the exorbitantly expensive flagship AMG G 63, but will also be slightly hybridized.
Fewer corners and edges, new chassis: This is what the new G-Class will be like
The engineers probably don’t do much work on the body: some corners and edges are still ironed out because of the aerodynamics. And this is important for its electric brother, the EQG, which is also due to arrive by summer at the latest. The large screens, as already known from the S and E Class, are also used inside. Things get more revolutionary under the sheet metal. Because here Mercedes installs a new chassis in the car. All dampers can be controlled individually using high-performance hydraulics. Porsche is currently bringing something similar to its latest models, including the Panamera.
The good news: The G-Class is and remains the eternal Benz. Even if the models are no longer as archaic as they were when they were still produced as the Puch G primarily for the military. The bad news: Legends have to die too. At some point then. Until then, the same applies to the eternal Benz as to the eternal Stenz. A little something always works. (Text: Rudolf Bögel | Images: manufacturer, rdf, tv)
Technical data – Mercedes-Benz G 500*
- Model: Mercedes-Benz G-Class G 500
- Engine: Eight-cylinder biturbo, 3,982 cc
- Perfomance: 422 hp (310 kW) at 5,250 rpm
- Torque: 610 Nm at 2,000 rpm
- Drive: All-wheel drive, 9-speed automatic
- Combined consumption: 13.2-12.6 l/100 km²
- CO2 emissions combined: 301-289 g/km²
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.9s
- Maximum speed: 210 km/h (limited)
- Dimensions (L/W/H): 4.82m/1.93m/1.97m
- Weight: approx. 2,431 kg
- Tank volume: 75L (100L optional)
- Basic price: 130,203.85 euros