Are they as good as they say?


The outback proves a bit tough for some of Germany's best off-road warriors.

Mercedes-Benz has launched a rescue mission to one of the most remote sites in Australia after six of its military-style wagons broke down.

Corrugations along one 70-kilometre stretch of the Canning Stock Route burst the shock absorbers on six of the seven vehicles attempting to make what the German car maker claims is the first full crossing of the 1900-kilometre route through outback Western Australia by a car manufacturer.

Five "normal" versions of the G-Class off-roader - and one military-specification ute - started to burst mainly rear shock absorbers while travelling along stretches of the stock route extending from Well 33 to Well 35.

Fourteen people, including two Mercedes-Benz technicians and one Drive team member, are stranded at the remote site, part of an attempt to publicise the off-road credentials of the recently introduced, rugged off-road G-Class range.

The cars today limped into a campsite at Well 36, where Mercedes-Benz has temporarily halted the expedition while it waits for five new sets of shock absorbers - four in each set - to be flown in from Melbourne to a remote airstrip near Well 33, about 1000km north-east of Wiluna in central WA.

The car maker then hopes to complete the 14-day crossing, which still has about 800km to run - mainly across the dunes of the Great Sandy Desert - before reaching Halls Creek early next week.

The car maker has arranged for the replacement shock absorbers to land in Perth today, before transferring to a light plane destined for a remote Aboriginal settlement close to Well 33, about 1000km from Wiluna, and at a cost of about $5000.

It will be met by the only vehicle in the expedition to not suffer a failure - a military-specification G-Wagen station wagon with a modified suspension similar to the 1800 vehicles currently being delivered to the Australian army.

Mercedes-Benz is currently assessing if it will bring the GProfessional, as the surviving vehicle is called, to Australia as part of the two-vehicle G-Class line-up, which currently only consists of the G350, powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6, and the G55 AMG, powered by a 5.5-litre V8.

Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy says the broken shock absorbers - and three snapped spare wheel mounts - were expected.

"I think we don't make an omelette without breaking the eggs," he said.

"We knew it would be tough, but it is important to have the right (technical) people and the right infrastructure, and I think that's proven us right."

McCarthy says the corrugations on the road today were the worst the expedition had seen so far.

However, despite the breakages, he is confident the seven vehicles will make it to Halls Creek.

"I'm not displeased with how it's gone so far, but what I am pleased with is how we've resolved it.

"The hardest decision for me was that I had to pay for a charter plane to get the replacement parts here quicker," McCarthy says.

"For me, it was not an option to take a vehicle out [of the crossing attempt]. This has been months and months in the planning."

The day was blighted by another incident when an after-market UHF radio shorted out, taking out a number of other fuses with it, and the failure of one car's air-conditioning system, a necessity in the 30-degree-plus heat of the outback.

4671 Hybrid

It seems like if they had expected the failures, they would have either fitted better parts before the run or brought along spares...


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
I would be really suprised to learn that this was the FIRST crossing or such trip on the Canning Stock Route as I have been reading about it for a long time.
Doesn't bode well for any plans to promote the G-wagen in Oz as they love hard core trucks


People love to find this stuff. At least we've heard enough from experienced folks here and there that these vehicles are quite capable.

Bad press for sure but at least the components weren't critical...I mean, they were still able to move, right? 100's of miles on gnarly washboard with heavily loaded vehicles, not fun. They no doubt should have been better prepared. Let's see, do I take those extra shocks with me or those bottle of wine I've been saving....hmmmmm....tough question....okay, I'll take the wine.

I'm wondering more why/how the spare tire mounts snapped. That's not good. Those five door versions have an integrated structural door design to help support the spare tire. And, the mount itself is pretty robust. Seems weird. If the spares were lose, that could wreak havoc. Hmmmm.


Expedition Leader
Stock G-wagens break down on Australian PR run

Six of seven new Gelandewagens broke down during a public relations event on the Canning Stock Route, one of Australia's most famous off-road driving challenges. The rough track broke rear shock mounts and spare tire carriers during several hundred miles of driving. The organizers had to make camp while spares were flown in.

The single G-Class model that did not suffer a failure is a military version, with upgraded suspension. This vehicle will drive to the airstrip and ferry the replacement parts (and a welder) back to camp.

Mercedes is considering offering the military model for sale to the public in Australia as the G-Professional. I think the results of this trip will help them make the decision!

Here is the Mercedes of Australia page announcing the trip

And here is an account written by a journalist traveling with the group


Expedition Leader
The Canning Stock Route (CSR) is legendary, both for the tough driving and the length of the trip, about 1150 miles! is a popular web site for off-road enthusiasts down under. There are plenty of comments on this site about driving the CSR. Here are a few recent posts that caught my fancy.

"...I have just finished the CSR and I did have 3 V8 Toyota's in the convoy. 1x 200Series and 2x V8 Utes. All the vehicles managed the trip without any problems and returned an average better than 18lt per 100 klm." [that's about 13 mpg-US]

"...Completed the CSR early June 2011 in a petrol 80 series landcruiser... No flat tyres only a broken rear shock mount (which was a previous dodgy welding job from a 4wd shop). Shock was tied back on with a length of 5mm wire and some rope, which lasted to back home, a further 6500km. "


Expedition Leader
there have been plenty of excuses, but really, for 105k usd thats inexcusable.


It sounds like they were pushing the Gs fairly hard (fast speeds for the terrain) and tire pressure was not optimal.


we all know g class is very capable by all means, but we also know that mercedes benz company is making cheaper and cheaper quality cars as years go by. so if you own a older g wagon it may not be the same as new g wagon.

corect me if i am wrong.

mercedes and bmw are going true the same road were Cadillac was 15 years ago.>>>> make cheap cars bring the customers back to dealer and charge them <<<<<
next thing u know is nobody wants to buy them


mercedes and bmw are going true the same road were Cadillac was 15 years ago.>>>> make cheap cars bring the customers back to dealer and charge them
I agree with this, though in recent years things appear to be getting better now that they've removed the bean counter and put a real engineer back in charge of the company.

BTW, 80 and 100 Series Land Cruisers "routinely" complete the CSR with no problems and both are now very cheap to buy. I love my G, but am under no illusions that Cruisers can't meet or beat them in most off- (and on-) road categories. Because they can.


tell me where youre picking up 200's for 32g, please!
Yeah, last I checked a new LC is $80,000. Not far off from $106,000 here in the US for 2011 models. Those LC headlights look weird to me. Big ole bug eyes out there, like a Cicada. :Wow1: