Looking Into G-Wagen

RBBailey

Observer
I'm taking serious consideration into selling my Defender 110 300Tdi, set up for daily driving and easy overlanding, and moving into a G-Wagen.

I'm wanting a step up in trim, so although I love the 460 versions, I think some of the 461 or 463's might actually suit me. I will be driving it daily, and overlanding for 3-4 day trips in the summer especially.

I don't NEED a diesel. But if the right version were in the truck, I'd jump on it. I'm actually thinking the in line 6 might suit me well. Again, this is a daily driver, I want AC, but I don't want anything with a digital readout on the dash -- even the early odometers are where I draw the line! If I want to experience the rough drive, I'll just start up the '65 Series IIa, and drive it with no top. I also am holding onto my '95 Range Rover Classic LWB. So my Land Rover fix will still be a thing.

What do I need to know? What suggestions do you have?
 

alanymarce

Well-known member
My opinion may not be worth much, since I had my Gelandewagen a long time ago. However - it felt very heavy, compared with the other vehicles I had before, meanwhile, and since then. It's odd, since the net weight is actually less than a Land Cruiser, for example, however it always felt heavy. It was solid and reliable (with all due respect, a significant step up from a LR). It was expensive, once again compared with the other vehicles I had at that time (Pajero, Patrol and 4 Runner - the Patrol being far better overall then the others).

If you do go for the Gelandewagen I'd go for a petrol (gasoline) engine for a variety of reasons.

If you travel internationally outside the USA and/or Canada then the Gelandewagen is going to present far more of a challenge than some other vehicles in terms of availability of spares and maintenance.
 

RBA

Adventurer
Getting anything before 2002 will be tough since they were grey market up until 2002. From 2002 on, they are all V8's. I've owned a 2002, 2005 and a 2012. Only very minor changes. The extra hp in the 2012 is helpful but not necessary. These trucks seem to be pretty reliable if taken care of. Numerous guys are over 200K. Window regulators and door locks seem to be an annoyance but everything else is pretty robust. The ride is noticeably softer on the 2012. My previous models ran very stiff (relative). I never drove a 110 so can't compare.
 

safariguy

Observer
I am on my second G Wagen and here are some random thoughts:

MB USA began importing them in 2002. 2002 and 2003 models are sometimes quirky with regards to electronics. My 2003 had issues and it was covered under my state's lemon law and a dealer completely revamped it with newer electronics, all covered under warranty. 2004 and later models will likely be more expensive than the 2002 and 2003 as a result, but not by a huge amount. Some of this is the expectation that 2004 and later models will have fewer miles.

Pre 2002 a company called Europa imported 500 vehicles and did work to make them legal. They were significantly more expensive at retail, due to the extra work. I believe that all Europa imports were the W463. My current model is a 1996 G320 and it has a 6-cylinder engine that is 'ok' with power, but not great in mountains if you are pulled extra weight, but the reliability is better.

The body parts of the years have changed so little, so it is easy to mix and match newer parts onto older vehicles. Some items are specific but for the most part it's easy.
 

RobMBush

Member
I've got a 2005 G500 Grand edition (for almost 10 years) and a 2014 G550 (this year). The 05 seems more durable although many of the components are shared with the 2014. Major differences is interior and power train. Suspension is much softer on the 14 but if your offloading you'll likely change springs/shocks anyway. Interior is more plush in the 14 but seems less durable. Engine/transmission 5.5L/7Speed in the 14 has MUCH better performance and more sporty feel but for off-road this is likely not a value add. It comes down to what you want to do with the truck:

Moderate off-roading with more on road comfort go 13-15 or even newer although in 16+ you get into adjustable suspension and turbos so more things that can potentially reduce reliability and make modifications a bit more difficult. Also if you want to run off-road bumpers you get into issues with ADAS (lane change assist) and distance assisted cruise control.

More time as a dedicated off-roader go 05 or older as these still have the 5 speed transmission and are a bit more rugged inside although sill plush leather just more durable.

I love the look of the Defenders but the G is my preference. I also do all my own work and refuse to work on anything not made by the Germans at this point!!! I had a 95 Range Rover classic back in the day and that experience will forever keep me from owning another land rover!
 

jruti

New member
Just picked up a 1990 300GD to replace my 1990 ex-ADF 110 Perentie. I looked at some W460’s but they were a little too similar in ride practicality to the 110. However, once you jump into the W463 (even the early models from 90-94ish, it’s a major step up from the 110. AC, Diesel, just the right amount of electronics. Slow, but so much quieter at speed than any defender I’ve owned.

Bottom line, any G is a major upgrade in practicality to a 110. Just my .02


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

RobMBush

Member
Just picked up a 1990 300GD to replace my 1990 ex-ADF 110 Perentie. I looked at some W460’s but they were a little too similar in ride practicality to the 110. However, once you jump into the W463 (even the early models from 90-94ish, it’s a major step up from the 110. AC, Diesel, just the right amount of electronics. Slow, but so much quieter at speed than any defender I’ve owned.

Bottom line, any G is a major upgrade in practicality to a 110. Just my .02


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Awesome find 👍 share some pics!
 

RBBailey

Observer
Thanks for the replies. What jruti says is pretty much right where I am. I still love the Defender, but I've done it. I've owned, and built a 300Tdi Defender 110. Done.

So I have the Range Rover Classic, and I'm thinking I might just keep it and build it to my specs. I've always loved them, and I'm sure I'd be satisfied. However, I did find a V6 463 Puch in dark blue that I really like. It drives nice, and is essentially ready to become my new everything vehicle. (Again, I'm keeping the '65 IIa.) But I am a bit torn on leaving Land Rover as my primary mode of transport. I think once I sell the Defeneder I'll just have to see what's out there and wait for the right G-Wagen, or not. In the mean time, I'll keep driving the Range Rover, and the value of that vehicle will keep going up.

I'm going to research what others here have done with their G-Wagens. I just keep going back and forth a bit!
 

RBBailey

Observer
Found. Bought. And immediately taken over the mountain pass for a 200 mile loop. Love it! I'm not going to try to tell you it is as "fun" as a Defender, but it's pretty obvious that the engineering is better. I'm just hoping the Mercedes reliability rumors are true. I'm a bit skeptical of the complicated systems and electronics, but nothing is wrong right now that seems out of the ordinary -- door light switch, one of the fan speed positions doesn't always work, the AC unit shows no signs of life, and maybe a few other little things.

Now, although I read the manual, I want to make sure I get the locking of the diffs correctly. Can one of you tell me what NOT to do? I have some good side angle and moderate hills I can practice on in the back yard.

50390530052_e8ccfe7e75_h.jpg
 

mightymo

Observer
I’ve owned a ‘97 NAS D90, 1991 D130 200tdi, and a Disco I with 300tdi conversion. I just recently purchased a 2012 G550 . I took it to the trails here in CO the day after I bought it. I am way more impressed with the Wagen than my Defenders. Albeit, it’s not nearly as romantic... It’s refreshing to drive a machine with superb engineering and drivability—- not to mention, I can have a normal conversation with my passengers (couldn’t really do that in the D). Glad I’m not the only one who is pleasantly surprised.
 

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