Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen Goes on Walkabout, Fails

Testing

Mercedes-Benz's latest PR stunt hasn't quite worked out the way they planned it.

To showcase the toughness and durability of the G-Wagen, Mercedes-Benz sent six of their top-of-the-line military-style SUVs through the Australian Outback. Well, unfortunately for the German automaker, the PR stunt didn't quite come off and their rides don't have the same toughness as Wolverine... hmm, Hugh Jackman in the Australian summer. 70km of rough, corrugated Western Australian terrain blew out the shock absorbers on five of the six G-Wagens leaving them literally stranded in the Outback.

Mercedes is trying to become the first car manufacturer to cross the 1900km Canning Stock Route, and the only vehicle that survived their latest jaunt was the singular military-spec G-Wagen. The G-Wagen is powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6. The military-spec G-Wagen runs on a 5.5-liter V8. "When we undertook this journey we were well aware of the punishment that the vehicles would endure. We put in place a group of very experienced Outback operators who have the expertise and logistical knowledge to cover off any eventuality," said Horst von Sanden, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Australia.

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Mercedes is flying in parts to a local airfield in an attempt to get the cars operational again. The Australian Defense Force uses the same type of military-spec G-Wagen, so it's a good thing the Germans brought the powerful SUV along. It will meet the flight at the airport and bring back the supplies to the waiting team members. The 14 stranded members of the trek still have 800km left. They fortunately have enough provisions to last them the duration of their wait. The Canning Stock Route is 1900km long and located in the Australian Outback. It crosses the Great Sandy Desert and the perilous route has never been run before by a car.

The heat in the summer regularly passes over 30C, as one of the crews found out first-hand how hot the Outback is as their vehicle's AC unit failed. If Mercedes-Benz can get all their vehicles through in one piece it would truly be an accomplishment.

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