MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON LAPV 6.X CONCEPT
Text: GG van Rooyen
The G-Wagon – or Geländewagen, to call it by its proper name – has been in production since the 1970s. And in the intervening years it has not been given any significant redesign.
While other sports utility vehicles have morphed into sleek and sexy pseudo-sedans, Mercedes-Benz’s off-roader has retained its boxlike shape.
But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, a lot of people prefer it that way. When Mercedes-Benz attempted to replace the G-Class with the GL-Class in the mid-2000s, public outcry forced the company to produce the new SUV alongside the G-Wagon. Fans of the boxy 4×4 weren’t interested in Mercedes-Benz’s elegant new vehicle.
The reason for this is simple: The Geländewagen looks tough. It might not be pretty, but its old-school looks imbue it with a ruggedness that many modern 4x4s lack.
Of course, this ruggedness is due in large part to the fact that the G-Wagon was designed with the aim of creating an effective light military vehicle. While it has many off-road and overland fans, the G-Wagon’s success is largely due to its popularity as a patrol vehicle among military operators. Countries such as Germany, Russia, the US, France, Australia and the UK all make use of this vehicle in one form or another.
And with these governmental clients in mind, Mercedes-Benz has showcased its most extreme version of the G-Wagon yet.
Called the LAPV 6.X, this concept vehicle was unveiled at the recent Eurosatory 2010 Defence Show in Paris. Thanks to an unspecified turbodiesel engine, it can apparently manage speeds of up to 150km/h over rough terrain while carrying a load of 1,4 tons.
Add to this an approach angle of 50 degrees and ground clearance of 450mm, and you have a very impressive off-roader.
Surviving the battlefield, however, requires a host of specialised features. So the LAPV 6.X has an individual tyre inflation system, integrated communication system for UHF or VHF bands, military-grade satellite navigation and a jamming system. There’s also an under-body plate designed to protect the vehicle against land mines.
Whether the LAPV 6.X will be produced, and what it will finally look like, remains to be seen. Sadly, the orange wheels will probably have to be discarded for something less conspicuous.