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There are only a handful of off-roaders that have evolved to become true luxury vehicles while achieving iconic status. On the other hand, there are only a couple of Mercedes models that have been in continual production for nearly 40 years. And there’s only one that meets both criteria: the Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

The G-Class began, according to legend, as a request from the Shah of Iran, then a company shareholder, for Mercedes to develop a military vehicle. The Geländewagen or “terrain vehicle” was ordered by various armed forces, including those of Australia, Croatia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States.

Similarly, the civilian version became a status symbol for the rich and famous. The G-Wagen’s timeless looks—essentially unchanged for 40 years, military cachet and exclusively high cost have endeared it to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Megan Fox, and Kylie Jenner.  The most famous celebrity ever to use a G-wagen was Pope John Paul II. The Popemobile based on the G-Class featured a stand-up bulletproof plastic top.

The G-Class only recently evolved with a second-generation model. While all-new, it retains the ladder frame, boxy appearance, and true off-road running gear of its predecessor. And now, Mercedes-Benz Philippines just announced a new G-Class model powered by a diesel engine: the G 350d.

The G350d is powered by a powerful 3.0-liter diesel engine with 289 ps and 600 Nm. The engine features emissions reduction controls that help reduce pollution. Active engine mounts help eliminate noise and vibration. These automatically stiffen up at higher engine speeds. The engine is paired to Mercedes 9G-Tronic automatic, modified to handle the massive torque. The 9 forward gears allow for better performance fuel efficiency.

The new G-Class rides on 19-inch 5-twin spoke light alloy wheels, metallic paintwork. Modern touches include LED hedlamps and illuminated door sill panels.  The interior is as luxurious as any vehicle in the Mercedes stable, with high-quality leather seats and trim, including that on the front-passenger grab handles; ambient lighting with 64 color choices, and Keyless-Go doorlocks and start button. The driver faces a 12.3-inch widescreen digital instrument panel.

A true off-roader, the G-Class features the Dynamic Select function with up to five drive modes. This allows the G to navigate various types of tarmac and terrain with the appropriate settings for engine, transmission, suspension, and steering.

Safety features include active braking assist to help prevent collissions or mitigate damage, including automatic emergency braking; and adaptive brake lights. Mercedes-Benz says this is one comfortable vehicle, with better driving dynamics on road, thanks to new steering and a wider front track. When off-road, its long-travel suspension, high ground clearance, and mechanical systems make it one of the more unstopabble vehicles around.

The new Mercedes-Benz G 350d is available for P10.890 million.