Five really weird Mercedes-Benz G-wagens
With the launch of the G-Professional, Mercedes-Benz has introduced New Zealand to a face of the G-wagen that is quite common overseas, but one that we see rather less frequently here - that of the workhorse. Albeit a rather pricey workhorse.
The G-wagen actually takes on a number of vastly different roles in the Mercedes line up - from military vehicle right through to uber-luxury limo. Here we look at five extremes.
The G Guard may look like a bog-standard G 500, but that's the idea. It's the armoured version of the G 500 and can be specced to either B6 or B7 protection level: B6 will stop anything up to automatic rifle fire, while B7 ups it to high-powered armour-piercing sniper-rifle fire. Just what every unpopular dictator needs.
It ain't a fast mover, however, so that top protection level is probably the best idea. The G Guard is limited to a top speed of 160kmh and in B7 spec weighs a mighty 3970kg (well up on the 2400kg of the standard G 500).
Taking that whole armoured thing to a new level, the G 280 Light Armoured Patrol Vehicle (LAPV) 5.4 is the military version of the G-wagen. The full steel monocoque body means that STANAG (a NATO armour standard) level 2 protection is built in from the factory, so it can withstand IEDs, mines, grenades and other ballistic attacks, as well as a direct hit from a 155mm high explosive artillery round at just 80 metres.
Yeah, that's a pretty tough machine. But you might be relieved to know that it's not all just about protection, as air conditioning can be optioned for those hot, sweaty patrols.
G 63 6x6
While heavily armoured versions of the G-wagen are all good, what about those times where you just need to cut loose and have some utterly ridiculous, ostentatious and over-the-top fun both on and off road?
Well, the G-wagen has that covered as well. Mercedes has made AMG versions of the G-wagen since 2002, but the most extreme of them all has to be the G 63 6x6 from 2013. An luxury/performance derivation of the 6WD model developed for the Australian army, the G 63 6x6 featured portal axles that saw it sit 150mm higher than a standard model. It could accelerate to 100kmh in under eight seconds and was limited to a top speed of 160kmh.
G 500 4x4²
While Mercedes only made around 100 G 63 6x6s, its spirit lives on in the almost-as-silly G 500 4x4². The shorter and "more practical" G 500 drops one axle, and "only" gets a 315kW version of the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 that debuted in the Mercedes-AMG GT.
The 4x4² retains the 6x6's massively widened track and portal axles that provide it with its impressive 410mm of ground clearance. This, along with its three locking diffs make the 4x4² as formidable off the road as it is on it. Oh, and unlike the 6x6, the 4x4² is a series production vehicle and not limited in numbers.
G 650 Landaulet
While power, protection and insanity are fine if you like that sort of thing, how about opulent luxury?
The G-wagen does that too, courtesy of Mercedes-Maybach. The Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet sits on a long wheelbase version of the 4x4²'s platform (complete with wider track and portal axles), but features a 470kW biturbo V12 and a folding fabric roof over rear seats taken straight from the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. A full-on Maybach luxury interior is complimented by "comfort tuned" suspension.