The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is turning 40. It's almost surprising, as sometimes it feels like the partially Austrian-designed, Puch-derived go-anywhere box on wheels has been around forever, longer than just four decades. The basic shape still remains largely similar, even if its innards, cabin comforts and powertrain have been overhauled several times during its tenure. The first 1979 models were available with as little power as 72 hp, or as much as 156: even if the biggest engine more than doubled the available power, there really wasn't much of it. But after all these years and all the accumulated, Schwarzenegger-style muscle, a G-Class still looks the same, and to mark the truck's anniversary, Mercedes-Benz is bringing out an aptly-named "Stronger Than Time" special edition for it.
There are three powertrain options for the Stronger Than Time editions, which are decorated with appearance packages and which project the edition logo onto the ground with special lighting. The diesel-powered one, the G 400d is the most powerful variant of the new OM656 inline six turbodiesel, producing 330 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Move up to the gasoline-powered versions, and there's the G 500 with its biturbo four-liter V8, producing 422 hp and a little less torque at 450 lb-ft.
Finally, the highest specced version is the Mercedes-AMG badged one, itself celebrating 20 years of AMG G-Classes, and that means a 585-horsepower version of the biturbo V8, coupled to AMG's nine-speed Speedshift TCT transmission. The AMG truck's all-wheel drive is rear-biased by 40/60, and the Mercedes-AMG G 63 Stronger Than Time hits 62 mph in 4.5 seconds. Even the "lesser" two engine versions come with AMG styling and performance parts, with flared wheel arches and a sports exhaust among other bits. The G Manufaktur individualization program also takes personal taste even further, with 64 different interior trim layouts and 34 different exterior paints.
But the G-Class has never really been about glass-smooth urban asphalt, no matter if that's where customers want to keep them. Mercedes is opening a new G-Class Experience Center 10 miles south of Graz, Austria, and it features different driving ranges and terrains for customers willing to test the true abilities of the boxy truck. Mercedes-Benz has also added a new AMG Trail Package for the trucks, with the adaptive damping tuned with off-road use in mind. There are separate drive programs for trail, rock and sand use, and the tire and wheel combination is also optimized for all-terrain driving.