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A status symbol for modern celebrities, the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, aka the G-Class/G-Wagen, is more than just a boulevard cruiser. But its large price tag means few can experience its other strengths. At least, that’s the case for a new one. Thanks to depreciation, used G-Wagons can be surprisingly affordable. Take, for example, the one that’s this week’s Cars and Bids bargain purchase: a 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320.

An older W463 Mercedes G-Wagon: when you want Toyota 4Runner ruggedness with more luxury

A green 1979 Mercedes G-Wagon Convertible jumping over sand
1979 Mercedes G-Wagon Convertible | Mercedes-Benz

It might be a premium SUV today, but the Mercedes G-Wagon, or Geländewagen, didn’t start that way. The original 1973 design brief called for “‘an off-road vehicle for civilian and non-civilian use,'” Car and Driver reports. At the time, Mercedes already had the Unimog, but that was as much a farming tool as a vehicle. The G-Wagon, though, was designed as a competitor to Jeep, Land Rover, and the Toyota Land Cruiser, Automobile explains. That meant features like solid axles, multiple locking differentials, four-wheel drive, and a simple, tough interior.

From 1979-1989, that was the basic Mercedes G-Wagon formula. And it served military clients and overlanding enthusiasts well. Not to mention helping Mercedes win the 1983 Paris-Dakar, Hagerty notes. However, as Land Rover discovered in the ‘60s, not every SUV customer wanted a Defender. That’s why the British automaker created the first Range Rover. And Mercedes wanted in on that market segment, Top Gear explains.

Thus, in 1990 Mercedes split the G-Wagon lineup into two models, Road & Track reports. The OG rugged versions carried on as the W461 models. And for luxury buyers, there was the W463 G-Wagon.

Mechanically, the W463 Mercedes G-Wagon still delivers on the off-road front. It has three locking differentials, full-time 4WD with a transfer case, solid axles, and a body-on-frame design. However, it has more amenities than the W461, such as leather upholstery, airbags, wood trim, cruise control, running boards, and ABS, GQ and Car and Driver report. Add it all up, and a W463 G-Wagon can keep up with Land Rovers off-pavement and ride more comfortably on it.

The 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 on Cars and Bids

A modified matte-black 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 in a parking lot
Modified 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 | Cars and Bids

Mercedes didn’t officially sell the G-Wagon in the US until the 2003 model year. However, before that, Europa International imported several European-market models and federalized them for US roads. Europa International still imports G-Wagons and parts, but because of the 25-year rule, any 1996 or earlier model is import-eligible. That’s why the 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 currently listed on Cars and Bids is now in the US.

As its name implies, this 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 has a 3.2-liter inline-six engine rated at 217 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. It’s linked to a four-speed automatic and the previously-mentioned 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case. And in addition to the three locking differentials, wood trim, and leather, this G320 has a sunroof, cassette player, and A/C.

The brown-and-black-leather-upholstered front seats and wood-trimmed dashboard of a modified 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320
Modified 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 front interior | Cars and Bids

However, this 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 isn’t stock. It has a custom aftermarket exhaust system, 20” wheels, matte paint, a bull bar, tinted windows, a Brabus grille and sill plates, and aftermarket lights and bumpers. Plus, it has a hard spare tire cover, aftermarket speakers, an Alcantara headliner, and power-adjustable heated front seats.

With roughly 171,200 miles on the clock, this G320 is in fairly good condition. The only flaws are some wheel scratches and some cracked wood trim pieces. And in the Cars and Bids comments, the seller notes that all the electrics work.

It’s a classic off-road SUV that’s luxurious but still reliable

The rear 3/4 view of a modified matte-black 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 on a beachside parking lot
Modified 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 rear 3/4 | Cars and Bids

As of this writing, this 1995 Mercedes-Benz G320 is listed on Cars and Bids at $18,000 with three days left in the auction. Although it’s possible to find even cheaper G-Wagons, many sell for over twice as much on Bring a Trailer. As such, this G320 is a luxury SUV bargain with genuine off-road credentials.

As with any used car purchase, a pre-purchase inspection is recommended. However, it’s worth noting that G-Class SUVs, especially older ones, are fairly reliable. The 3.2-liter inline-six engine from this generation and the four-speed automatic are stout, provided they’ve been maintained properly, PistonHeads reports. And while pre-2004 models can develop electrical and battery-drainage issues, this 1995 G320 doesn’t appear to have such problems. But then, that’s what the PPI is designed to check for.

Still, this 1995 Mercedes G-Wagon represents a significant bargain of a luxury off-roader. And with the modifications, it looks significantly newer than it is. So, you can enjoy the status without blowing your budget.

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