Mercedes-Benz is “quietly confident” it will have G-Class Professional 4x4s available through its dealerships in the near future, with prices starting above $100,000.
The G-Class Professional is Merc’s toughest off-roader, favoured by the Australian Defence Force for its hardiness and all-terrain ability. Nearly 2500 vehicles are currently in service.
An increase in production capacity at the manufacturing plant in Graz, Austria, has opened up a limited number of vehicles for potential retail sale Down Under.
“We’re only talking about 100 to 200 vehicles that we can tap into per year,” said Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy.
“It's looking good. We hope to have an answer in about a month. We’ve been working on this for some time.”
The relatively stripped-out G-Class Professional will be less expensive than the W463 G-Class models already on sale in Australia, which start at $140,658 for the G350d, but “it won’t be bargain basement,” cautioned McCarthy. “It will not be under $100,000.”
Benz plans to offer wagon and cab-chassis body styles in just one model grade to keep pricing as accessible as possible.
The G350d Professional is powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 with outputs of 180kW and 600Nm, coupled to a seven-speed automatic and permanent all-wheel drive system.
Benz has tailored it to off-road applications with significant upgrades including three locking differentials, ground clearance of 245mm and greater departure angles, an all-terrain wheel and tyre package, and an interior that can be drained through the floor after water crossings.
“People compare [G-Class Professional] with the [Toyota] 70 Series [LandCruiser] but ours is significantly different and more capable.”
Prices for the Toyota 70 Series Landcruiser wagon start at $57,990, powered by a 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel V8 producing 151kW and 430Nm.
Mercedes-Benz successfully secured government fleet sales for G-Class Professional vehicles as fire engines in rural Victoria. More are on the way for use in remote areas as ambulance and police vehicles.
“These are whole of life tenders that take into account purchase price, service, parts, expected lifespan and what you estimate the vehicle will be worth at the end,” explains McCarthy. “We were able to win despite its higher purchase price initially.”