Originally published September 25, 2015 on autoTRADER.ca

Article by Jacob Black, photos by Jacob Black and courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The G-Wagen is a stalwart of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. It’s the tough-guy car. It’s rugged, reliable and has an outward visage that says “Excuse me mate, but I’m about to do serious damage to you unless you apologize immediately.”

And yet under that ominous exterior is a squishy, soft underbelly of princely pampering and luxury. As a result it’s the go-to vehicle for all sorts of high-flyers – especially those who need a rapid getaway (or car-chase) vehicle, imposing road presence and safety – all without wrinkling their crisp suits. Not to mention the ability to transform into an armoured car.

“But can the G-Wagen really do off-roady stuff?” I regretted the question immediately. Not just because I was already standing in the ADAC Off-Road-centre in Bauschheim, Rhein-Main.

“We’ll find out,” was the reply from Mercedes-Benz.

I looked out the window. A thunderstorm was passing overhead, the tents and patio coverings were hastily being pulled down and stowed for safety as lightning flashed and horizontal rain lashed the window of the Mercedes-Benz hut in which we were getting our presentation. A little girl and a dog flew into the air, an old lady on a rocking chair not far behind them, cackling. The ground that had been a dry, reddish-brown before was now a sodden, soggy, quagmire. The water ran in rivers down the steep embankments.

The tires on the trucks we’d be testing didn’t look particularly aggressive, yet the Mercedes-Benz folk seemed completely nonplussed.

“Will I still get to do the course?” I asked one representative. He laughed. Right in my face. I think he said, “Why, are you scared?” But I couldn’t hear it over a clap of thunder.

The photos in this article were mostly taken before the storm hit. Some of the photos we’d seen in the presentation had a red G-Wagen (the least garish of the new Skittles-inspired colour set) flying airborne over a dirt mound – but I wouldn’t be doing any of that.

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The difference in the ground after the rain hit was substantial, to say the least.

As I walked out to the end of the dock – it stopped being a mere walkway the moment the ground at the end of it became a swamp – a colleague pulled forward and allowed me to climb aboard. He parked right in a puddle I was sure I was now stuck in.

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