A very rare Mercedes 500 GE 6.0 AMG sold at auction

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Mercedes built only 446 V8-powered Mercedes 500 GE examples in 1993 and only 13 of these models were officially converted by AMG. One of them, a Mercedes 500 GE 6.0 AMG, delivered in September 1993 in Japan, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $218,500.

Photo: RM Sotheby

Mercedes only built the first V8-powered G-Class in 1993 and presented it at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1993. The Mercedes 500 GE had the M117 5-litre V8 engine under the bonnet, developing 240 PS and 375 Nm. The V8 G-Class reached a top speed of 180 kph and accelerated from 0 to 100 kph in 11.4 seconds.

Mercedes planned to produce a limited run of 500 examples, but in the end, only 446 examples were built. The reason was that Mercedes did not have more M117 engines available as this engine was replaced at that time by the new M119. However, the new M119 V8 engine with four valves per cylinder did not fit under the hood of the G-Class. This is the reason why only 446 examples were produced.

At the time, the Mercedes 500 GE cost 178,250 DM, double the price of a six-cylinder G 320, which cost 88,500 DM. By comparison, the Mercedes G 500 GE was also much more expensive than a Mercedes 500 SE W140 with the V8 M119 engine, which cost 129,030 DM.

One of the reasons for the high price of the Mercedes 500 GE was, besides exclusivity, the luxurious standard equipment with black leather interior with contrasting elements, walnut veneer for the wood trim of the center console, parts of the handbrake lever, the two transmission selector levers and trim elements on the doors, automatic transmission, air conditioning, cruise control, a sliding sunroof, leather steering wheel, and heated seats. All units were painted in amethyst blue metallic.

Only two locking differentials instead of three
The big difference between the Mercedes G 500 GE and the rest of the range was the lack of a lockable differential on the front axle. The car was equipped with Bridgestone 265/70 R16H tires mounted on aluminum wheels. These tires were the only off-road tires approved for a top speed of 210 kph. The Mercedes 500 GE V8 was only available in the long wheelbase version with a wheelbase of 2,850 mm.

Of the 446 examples of the 500 GE V8, AMG officially converted only 13 examples and replaced the 5-liter V8 with a 6-liter V8 engine. Called the Mercedes 500 GE 6.0 AMG, it had a 6.0-litre V8 engine under the bonnet developing 300 PS. The example sold at Sotheby’s auction in Dubai was delivered back to Japan on 3 September 1993 and currently has 119,984 km on board. Sotheby’s estimated a selling price of between $150,000 and $200,000 but in the end, it sold for $218,500.

The V8-powered Mercedes G-Class became part of the standard range in 1998. The V8 M113 engine produced 296 PS, and in 1999 AMG introduced the G 55 AMG version to mark the 20th anniversary of the G-Class. The 5.5-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine with three valves per cylinder and dual ignition developed 354 PS.

The first G-Class with a V12 engine was launched in 2002: the G63 AMG with 444 hp. The next G63 AMG launched in 2012 had a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine developing 544 PS. The top model G65 AMG with a 6-litre V12 bi-turbo engine developed 612 PS and 1000 Nm.

In January 2018 at Detroit Motorshow, Mercedes presented the new generation G-Class, which is offered with two V8 engines: the G 500 with 4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine and 421 PS and the AMG G 63 with 4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine and 585 PS.