Mercedes-Benz claims that 80% of all G-Wagens are still roadworthy

Released in 1979, and updated several times since, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class earned a loyal following by offering enthusiasts above-average durability. The brand crunched the numbers and came up with a statistic to prove this point: 80% of the Gs built are still on the road.

“The cars have a very long lifetime,” said Mercedes-AMG CEO Michael Schiebe during a roundtable, as reported by Motor1. “So here you can calculate [that while] maybe a G-Class needs a little bit more material than [your average] compact car, the durability, if you see the lifetime of a G-Wagen from 1979, I think you [will have had to have driven] many, many compact cars, in some cases, to keep up the lifetime of a G-Wagen,” he added. 

While the company didn’t cite its source, we don’t doubt that 80% of the Gs built are still around; it’s a famously tough truck. Early examples suffered from rust-related problems, but they were available with many of the same engines found in some of Mercedes-Benz’s most long-lasting cars, such as the W123. And, every G-Class regardless of age benefits from rugged body-on-frame construction as well as a strong resale value. The 500,000th G was built in April 2023, so that means there are over 400,000 examples left to choose from if you can find someone willing to part with one.

Mercedes-Benz just expanded the G-Class range with a long-rumored electric version called G580 with EQ Technology. While it’s unlikely to become a high-volume model, even by the G’s rather low volume standards, it might bring new customers into the German brand’s stores.

“We try to be a customer-centric company. We want to deliver what customers want. And if they demand V8 engines, then it is our job to supply very efficient and very powerful V8 engines,” Schiebe said. The new electric [G-Class] opens up new opportunities for our dealers. Customers that we may have not attracted in the past, now we have the opportunity to access them,” he explained.

peugeot p4

The French connection

There’s another, more obscure G that likely wasn’t factored into Mercedes-Benz’s production and longevity figures: the Peugeot P4. The off-roader traces its roots to the 1970s, when the French military needed to replace its fleet of aging Hotchkiss-built Jeep models. Peugeot got the contract with a modified G-Class-based 4×4 called P4. Launched in 1981, the P4 was partially built in Austria alongside the G-Class and shipped to France for final assembly. It featured several specific parts including square headlights, a 504-sourced 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel engine, and a four-speed manual transmission from the 604. The gasoline-powered model offered at launch was quickly dropped.

Less than 14,000 units (including a tiny handful of civilian models) were built until production stopped in 1992.

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