Mercedes-Benz
G500
2002
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2002 Mercedes-Benz G500 OVERVIEW

Mercedes-Benz has officially introduced its Gelandewagen to the U.S. The G-Class presents a utilitarian appearance with flat glass and flat body panels made of thick steel. It backs that up with its truck-based ladder-frame, permanent four-wheel drive, and a heavy-duty off-road suspension. The G prefix comes from the German word "Gelandewagen," which roughly translates to off-road car. The U.S. gets the top model, loaded with luxury features and the Mercedes 5.0-liter V8. Its progenitor was born from a request by the Shah of Iran for some military vehicles. The Shah's existing military vehicles were too slow and cumbersome on normal roads, so Mercedes designed a sturdy utility vehicle that was ready for production by 1979. By then, however, the Shah had been deposed. Next, the Argentine army came to Mercedes, looking for an off-road car. Strained relations with Britain had prevented the Argentines from buying British Land Rovers, so there was pent-up demand. The current generation began production in 1989 and was revised last year, but overall, the looks haven't changed.

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