While the range will appeal to a number of off-road enthusiasts the world over, in South Africa, it’s all about the AMG model. This is not only the flagship G, but also the most powerful and hedonistic of the range. When the model arrives in South Africa later this year — at which point pricing will be revealed — many people will be clamouring to get their hands on the AMG versions as soon as they make their debut.
A HISTORY OF THE ICONIC G-WAGEN
The Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen is the epitome of a classic sports utility vehicle, with insatiable off-road capability and a brawny visage.
The vehicle, manufactured by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria for Mercedes-Benz, has essentially remained the same since its inception in 1979. It began life as a military vehicle, via a suggestion from the Shah of Iran — at the time a significant shareholder of Mercedes-Benz.
The model became available in the US in 2002 and went on to sell 3,114 units in its first year. It was the G500 that spearheaded the sales in that country and, since the introduction of the G55 AMG V8 Kompressor (supercharged) version in 2006, the model brought hedonistic engine outputs and engine notes to the range, much to the delight of AMG fans.
There was even a model made for Pope John Paul II, replete with a clear thermoplastic top, which served as the Popemobile. It was affectionately dubbed “Papa G” and has since found a home in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
South Africa’s first official taste of the G-Wagen came in 2011, when the basic G300 Professional, the G350 BlueTec, and the fire-breathing G55 AMG arrived. The latter has since been upgraded to the G63 AMG, and includes a number of updates, such as the Comand Online infotainment screen and rear-view camera.