With an exterior design that has remained basically unchanged since 1979, when it first hit production, and proper off-road credentials, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class still scores high with SUV enthusiasts.
Over the last four decades, the vehicle was updated numerous times, but the company chose not to later its traditional exterior styling. And up until a few months ago, not to change the platform, either.
However, there’s a new generation of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class currently being made in Graz, Austria, by Magna Steyr. It was presented at the Detroit Auto Show back in January, has a larger footprint, and plenty of new features in the cabin that should keep gadget lovers close by.
Still, as amazing as it may seem, the three-pointed star hasn’t ditched the old G-Class completely. Not even close, because chassis code 461 is still being manufactured on the same assembly lines as the new-gen and sold in different parts of the globe, such as Germany, Middle East and Australia.
“The 461 continues, and we offer that in a number of markets, but only markets that will accept Euro 5, or have a professional application where Euro 5 is acceptable”, the brand’s marketing executive responsible for the G-Class family, Hadley James, told Road&Track.
“We’ve been fascinated in the last few years. We’ve seen a growth in the 461 sales as well. It’s becoming more unique, there’s no other vehicle like that out there. And yet, there’s still very much a need for that sort of vehicle”, added the official, saying that the old SUV is for “government use, armed forces, that kind of thing.”
Essentially the same Mercedes G-Wagen that was launched in 1990, the 461 was developed for heavy-duty use. Its military and commercial applications made it famous, and it stepped away from the 463 model, which was the civilian version that we all know.
Currently, Magna Steyr makes three distinct versions of the G-Class 461: the station wagon body style, chassis-cab and a 6×6, according to Hadley James. And “there’s no plan to stop production”, either, James revealed. “Quite the opposite – we’re investing in that [model] as well. We continue to develop it because the market is there.”
Note: Australia’s Mercedes-Benz G-Class Professional pictured