This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Mercedes G-Class, and the German automaker thought it was a good enough reason to bring it together with the legendary Unimog for a summit.
The brand’s two off-road icons may have much in common but they do things differently: the Unimog is a durable workhorse for over 70 years now, while the G-Class is a more versatile all-terrain vehicle that has (finally!) been brought into the 21st century.
The G-Class is the “longest-serving” Mercedes passenger vehicle, remaining in production at the Graz factory in Austria for over four decades. Building it to a high quality standard means that 80 percent of all vehicles produced are currently still on the road around the world.
The current G-Wagen still uses a ladder frame chassis and comes with three locking differentials, as well as a low-range option. Starting from this year, customers will also be offered the opportunity to configure their car to their exact desired spec through the G manufaktur individualization program.
The Unimog, on the other hand, is one of the most capable workhorses available today, offering world-beating off-road capabilities and the reliability you learned to expect from Unimogs over the years. It serves as a forest fire-fighting vehicle in France, climbs Mount Etna in Sicily as a tourist shuttle and supports the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service as a sea rescue vehicle.
Back in 1946, the Unimog was first designed as a “motorized multipurpose vehicle” for agriculture. That first-gen had a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), which was twice as fast as any agricultural vehicle of the time, and featured numerous innovations, including all-wheel drive with front and rear locking differentials, a two-seat enclosed cab, plenty of attachment options and many more.
Current versions continue to offer one of the most impressive off-road capabilities you can find. They can handle gradients of up to 45 degrees, feature a maximum tilt angle of 76 percent and a fording depth of up to 1.2 meters. Ground clearance is 41cm, thanks to the standard portal axles, while axle articulation is up to 30 degrees. If you ask us, we’d be hard pressed to find a better tool from the job straight out of the factory.