Mil­i­tary-grade tough­ness

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(135kW/400Nm) turns a fivespeed au­to­matic.

The per­ma­nent 4WD shifts on the fly between high and lowranges at up to 70km/h with the trans­mis­sion in neu­tral. The cen­tre diff splits torque 50-50 front and rear and all diffs can be quickly locked and un­locked.

There are driver and pas­sen­ger airbags plus the ba­sic elec­tronic safety aids..

We didn’t drive the G-Pro on bi­tu­men so we can’t comment on its road man­ners, or its be­hav­iour un­der max­i­mum load. How­ever, we gave it a solid work­out at the Mel­bourne 4x4 Train­ing and Prov­ing Ground, empty or car­ry­ing 500kg — apart from a slightly harsher ride un­laden, there was no dis­cernible dif­fer­ence in of­froad per­for­mance.

Our test in­cluded deep wa­ter ford­ing (max­i­mum depth is 650mm) as well as steep, rut­ted climbs and some sharp man- made dirt ramps that were nearly 45 de­grees in places.

The 245mm of ground clear­ance made light work of ob­sta­cles, with re­spon­sive steer­ing and min­i­mal kick­back. The coil-spring sus­pen­sion worked su­perbly with am­ple wheel travel and ex­cel­lent ride qual­ity (with the half-tonne aboard, given the sus­pen­sion is de­signed to take four times that).

Acute climbs and de­scents pre­sented no prob­lems, given the im­pres­sive an­gles: ap­proach 38 de­grees, de­par­ture 35 de­grees and ramp-over 22 de­grees.

The proven turbo diesel is smooth, re­fined and torquey if a lit­tle noisy, which is un­der­stand­able given the cabin’s metal sur­faces and lack of sound-ab­sorb­ing trim.

Three large push but­tons on the cen­tre con­sole op­er­ate the diffs and as usual the cen­tre diff must be locked first. In de­mand­ing off-road con­di­tions a driver can quickly adapt to this se­quence for max­i­mum per­for­mance by en­gag­ing and dis­en­gag­ing the diff locks to best suit each ob­sta­cle.

With the three diffs locked, the G-Pro dis­played an al­most ar­ro­gant “you call that a hill?” climb­ing abil­ity. In first gear and at a con­stant 2000rpm, it steadily as­cended a long, steep, deeply rut­ted and rock-strewn sec­tion that would stop lesser ve­hi­cles in their tracks, and with barely a hint of wheel-spin.

VER­DICT

The maker ex­pects to sell about 200 ex­am­ples of the cab chas­sis a year. In mid-2017, a shorter wheel­base G-Pro­fes­sional wagon will fol­low.

A ded­i­cated core of spe­cial­ist buy­ers will see the worth of the cab chas­sis vari­ant — it can lug more than two tonnes and to its im­pres­sive off-road cred it adds mil­i­tary-grade tough­ness.

FOR the brave types in our ser­vices there can be no com­pro­mise in ve­hi­cles they take on per­ilous op­er­a­tions, so the Aus­tralian De­fence Force is a big fan of the Mercedes-Benz G-Pro­fes­sional mil­i­tary range. The first “civil­ian” ver­sion of the...

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