Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Extreme Off-Road Test

For us, the mountain is essential… …and the Schöckl is nothing without the G-Class, either. It’s great for every G-Class club or G-Class experience participant to drive on this mountain track. You expect more of a G-Class. Of course, it cannot climb trees, but everybody thinks that they can do anything with it, because it has three differential locks. You would think that no laws apply to it, but that’s not the case. How far is it from here to the Schöckl? About a half an hour’s drive. – Lovely! It’s the mountain over there. The one with the antenna. Today, we have good visibility. How often have you been on the Schöckl? Since ’76. Ok, very nice. I really can’t say it. There was long-run testing, I have experienced all kinds of weather up there. There is nothing that I haven’t seen. It is the local mountain of Graz. And the G-Class took its first steps there, so to speak, it adapted to the mountain. And the terrain there is so difficult… …that it became a real off-road vehicle. I’m really looking forward to it! We are at 340 m above sea level, and we are going up to 1,400. Going up and down once is about 10 km. But for the testing, only 6.2 km of the drive are assessed. Everything else is just roads to the real test tracks or connecting them. And with endurance runs of about two thousand kilometres, for example, that’s a real challenge. Two shifts per day, going up and down six or twelve times, that’s seventy-four kilometres. We use simulation a lot and re-create the situation then on the mountain. Also with single parts of the track. But we can’t do without the real driving. Graz is still a bit of a village… …even though it is the second largest city in Austria, with about 250,000 to 300,000 inhabitants. On 15 August 1909… …the Steyr-Puch Alpenwagen was the first to drive up this mountain. They only had rear-wheel drive… …so they used chains or cords to assist with traction. And there they must have noticed that they need all-wheel drive. Oxen had to help to overcome certain inclines. That must have been tracks for carts, nothing more. And today, we retrace these paths, or paths to transport wood, or telegraph ways. A toll road goes up the mountain. The mountain is private property of a countdom, Count Stubenberg. And since the 1950s, we have had an agreement with Count Stubenberg… …that we can use the track. Already with the Haflinger. I also drove the Haflinger a little, to improve it for the Swiss Army. Very much testing of the Pinzgauer, also. At the time of the Haflinger and the Pinzgauer, things were settled a bit differently. But today, we have a rental contract with the “younger” Count Stubenberg. I have known him for over forty years now. For us, the mountain is indispensable. About thirty years ago, the toll road was closed… …for public traffic. As it is private property. So no cars on the mountain. It is also a water protection area and a recreation area. But thank God, we were strong enough and said that we couldn’t compete… …that we need the mountain to keep up with other all-wheel drive manufacturers. We have to fulfill certain requirements, but we are still allowed to use it. The nice thing is, you have the Iron Schöckl or something like that,… …constructed tracks at off-road centers. But I am really looking forward to experience this in real life, in nature, without it being artificially created. A “digital” or artificial track is always tailored to a vehicle. Right, you know it can handle it because it was built for it. But such a natural track is something entirely different. This has also made the G-Class so very robust. It can deal with all kinds of terrain: rocks, swamps. Weight, tyres, and the terrain all play a role. The G-Class is very much appreciated in southern countries, as it casts a big shadow. If you look at it from above, the G-Class is the only one that still has a real roof. Now I can switch into “neutral” here… …activate the gear reduction, and switch back again. I have to switch into “neutral” to stop the power transmission, and to activate it. But I can activate that below 40 kph, I don’t have to be standing still. And we go back into “drive”. Now we are driving in “low range”,… …which means that we have a 2:1 transformation ratio. Twice the power at half the speed. Now we have the braking assistance, but no differential lock engaged. But we will engage the differential lock soon. We will totally lock it. Yellow means it is prepared, and red means that it is switched on. This is the young forest. When I started in ’76, fourty years ago,… …these were all small Christmas trees. It’s a whole generation. A tree needs thirty to thirty-five years to grow this tall. We call these “young forest one” and “young forest two”, so that we know where we are. So, we are driving up now, and everybody may drive a little up there, too. You can position yourselves to take pictures, or you can drive yourselves. However it suits you. That’s nice! The track offers everything: inclines, real distortion…the only thing that we do not have here… …is real mud, but that’s not necessary. We have our testing at the bottom: water passages containing quartz sand… …to test the sealings. Awesome! Insane! The next bit we can manage with the help of the differential lock on the rear axle… …there is no slipping of the wheels, it just steps over it! – It just steps over it! Very well then. All the assistive systems to help starting aren’t really needed in this terrain. They would need to create wheelspin in order to let the system work. And that’s not good for the system and also increases tyre wear. But many customers don’t need more, they never drive on something like this. True, I also wouldn’t come up with the idea of driving here. But fine… Here, you can show very well how easy it is to start with the automatic transmission. Otherwise, you would need a handbrake and slipping the clutch… …and the Swiss Army were the first to say that they only want cars with automatic transmission,… …which we were nearly against, as the automatic transmission didn’t change gears quite that well. But in the meantime, this has changed completely. Because of the systems… …I can just stop… …and accelerate, and we are going again. Well, you could hear a short “crrrck”, but then… Yes, that’s when it started and maybe hit a rock, gained grip and then it was fine again. – It’s really insane. We previously had a path over there, now we have this one, which we worked on together with the forest ranger… …so that we can always drive. Because over there, the holloway was already so deep… …that exactly that section was always icy in winter… …and we had problems there. But now we don’t have any problems anymore, we just go around it. Now, I’ll drive that way with you, to the left. Because you can really park the car on two wheels there. – Ok. Because of the heavy distortion. Oh! – Insane! That’s over here, you drive that way… – Then it stands there… – Then you get up there… …then it really rises up. There it is. Now we slipped down! But you can park it there very nicely. You hardly notice it, because the differential locks are fully engaged. The cows! That’s so unreal! The farmer also drives a G-Class, I suppose. They would like to…some maybe. The innkeeper at the lodge drives one. That’s really very impressive! That your discs put up with this for forty years! Respect! That there is something now, I have to say, I’m sixty-one… Insane! Really insane! You can see what’s coming, but you are still surprised every time how strong the ups and downs are! Yes, that the ground clearance is alright and everything. – Yes, if you aren’t used to this… …for you, it’s nothing special, sure, but for me, wow! The things you can do with all-wheel drive and three differential locks! As good as it gets! As good as it gets! It has to be robust, too. Yes, sure. But it couldn’t manage this up here with the ordinary road tyres? Why yes, it also could! But then you would have to be careful because of small stones… Those are 18-inch… …the tyre flanks are much smaller, so it affects the rim much more, so we use 16-inch for as long as possible. Wow, this is really… Do you have a favourite passage on the mountain? Well, I don’t know, I couldn’t say so… The whole mountain is alright. It’s so diverse… so you really couldn’t say… There is cold sweat on the my arm rest over here on the right! Oh, well, that’s not cold sweat… that’s work! That was really… wow, the second round… respect! During the first round, my eyes were partly wide with fear… oh my! That’s the boys… like in the old times… fun like… There is a long stretch, I don’t know if it’s interesting for you… Over there, there are real compressions! Ok, here! We have a little bit of movement here. I don’t know if that’s interesting. I am sure that looks great, doesn’t it? Yes! Ok, then we’ll do it!

28 Replies to “Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Extreme Off-Road Test”

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  2. Echt super Fahrzeug und echt klasse Video, schön geschnitten und atmosphärische Musik dazu. G-Klasse ist schon was feines 🙂

  3. My mom's Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon G63 is mettalic black, with the chrome in matte black. I love it! Its such an amazing vehicle.
    PS: Its my dream to have my own Red Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon G550 4×4.

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