In 1972, the Shah of Iran, a major shareholder in Mercedes-Benz at the time, decreed that a purpose-built, cross-country military vehicle be conceived in the form of the Gelandewagen. Seven years later, the G-Class—a commercially available version of the G-Wagen—was available for civilians. Even in brand-conscious India, the G-Class’s resemblance to people-movers like the Force Trax, Mahindra Bolero and Tata Sumo didn’t stop it from becoming one of the highest-selling cars in the AMG portfolio.
Mercedes-Benz has now launched the Crazy Colour Edition of the G-Class in India. The crazy part isn’t pumping over 500 horsepower into something with the drag coefficient of a bread box, it’s the outlandish colours: Tomato Red, Sunset Beam Orange, Solar Beam Yellow, Alien Green and Galactic Beam Purple.
The G-Class is offered in India in the form of the twin-turbo G 63 AMG engine. The design language remains utilitarian on the outside, and brimming with luxury on the inside: Mercedes’s flagship Comand infotainment system with a 7-inch TFT screen, the Harman Kardon Logic-7 music system with 12 speakers, a 10-channel amplifier and a 450 watt Dolby Digital surround system, and DVD players and screens for rear passengers too.
The G-Class is a typical vehicle built from a left-hand-drive architecture. The knee-room on the back-seat is appalling for a vehicle this expensive. Thankfully, there’s plenty of head and shoulder room. The body rests on rubber mountings, so there’s less vibration in the cabin and Mercedes has done a good job of insulating the noise.
In India, the G-Class gets the G 63 AMG, which houses a 5.5-litre, twin-turbo, V8 petrol engine; it is an ‘off-roader’ with supercar-like performance. The 2,550 kg mammoth can hit 100 kmph in a claimed 5.9 seconds (no thanks to the non-existent aerodynamics).
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(This story appears in the 11 December, 2015 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)