Mercedes-Benz touts its G-Professional Cab Chassis as an off-road load-carrying benchmark. With a two-tonne payload, a reinforced chassis, 245mm of ground clearance, front and rear diff locks and a 650mm wading depth, it’s easy to see why.
What is the G-Professional Cab Chassis?
Launched in Australia at the beginning of 2017, the G-Professional is essentially a civilian version of Mercedes-Benz’s military cab-chassis.
The G-Pro is similar in size to a 70 Series LandCruiser Single cab-chassis but with a significantly higher payload capacity. In fact, the G-Pro offers a whopping 2144kg payload, which is almost a tonne more than the 70 Series Single cab-chassis (1220-1235kg).
The hefty payload comes with a hefty price tag; the G-Pro retails for $119,000 plus on-road costs… and that doesn’t even include a tray.
The G-Pro is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine that produces a modest 235kW of power at 3800rpm and has a torque peak of 400Nm between 1600-2600rpm. The transmission is a five-speed auto and the G-Pro has full-time 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case and centre, rear and front locking differentials.
Suspension is by way of live axles front and rear with coil springs, certainly proving that you don’t need leaf springs in the rear to carry a heavy load.
What’s the interior like?
Spartan. That’s the first word that comes to mind when you survey the G-Pro’s cabin, which is certainly set up for function over comfort and style.
The seats are vinyl, the windows are wind-up jobbies and there’s a floor plug with a chain in case you have to drain water out of the foot wells.
There are no cup holders and there’s no access to what would normally be described as a centre console. The box between the front seats houses the vehicle’s electrics, where they’re up safe, high and dry.
Concessions to comfort include standard air-conditioning, a passenger grab handle, a glove box and under-seat storage boxes. If you’re looking for luxuries such as soft-touch finishes and adequate seat adjustment, you’re looking in the wrong vehicle.
What’s it like on the road?
The road is not the G-Professional’s favoured environment. Around town it feels big and cumbersome and on the open road it’s hard work trying to maintain a decent clip.
The 3.0-litre V6 is the same engine used in a variety of Mercedes-Benz models, but in the G-Pro it’s in an intentionally low state of tune, ostensibly to allow it to run on the poorest quality fuels found in some parts of the world. As a result, you have to keep your right foot planted to maintain highway speeds, and there’s no cruise control to give your leg a rest.
The poor aerodynamic profile doesn’t do the G-Pro any favours in the performance stakes, and it also contributes to a fairly healthy thirst for fuel.
Unladen ride quality on bumpy roads will have you pining for a kidney belt, but this can only be expected of a vehicle that’s capable of carrying two tonnes. Chuck a load in the back and it will settle down considerably.
What’s it like off the road?
The G-Professional feels more at home off the road than on it. It has loads of ground clearance although its long wheelbase limits ramp-over angle. Fortunately there are no vulnerable components hanging down so if you scrape its belly you’re unlikely to cause any significant damage. The approach angle is excellent; the departure angle is dependent upon what tray or service body is fitted by the customer.
Low-range gearing is good for climbing steep hills and with all three diffs locked there are not many tracks that the G-Pro won’t be able to conquer. The stiff springs see the unladen G-Pro lift its wheels regularly on undulating terrain but, again, this would not necessarily be the case with a decent load on board.
Standard equipment that benefits off-road performance includes tough LT265/75R16 BF Goodrich All-Terrain tyres, a snorkel (wading depth is a claimed 600mm) and radiator and sump guards. There are also headlight and indicator protectors, a bull bar with side rails and steps, and massive (bright red) recovery points front and rear.
Options include a 100kg walk-on bonnet with a non-slip coating and a snorkel pre-filter for G-Pros that will be subjected to dusty conditions. A second spare wheel is also offered as an option for those who fit a tray/service body that’s able to accommodate it.
What safety features does it get?
The G-Pro’s brakes are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), Brake Assist (BAS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD). The big ute also has M-B’s Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
Both the driver and passenger have SRS airbag protection and there’s a tyre air pressure loss warning system.
So, what do we think of the G-Professional Cab Chassis?
The G-Professional is a narrow-focus vehicle aimed at customers who need to carry significantly more weight than a LandCruiser 70 Series can handle. At $120k it’s never going to sell in big numbers, but for some customers the G-Pro will be their only option short of buying a truck such as an Iveco Daily 4x4 or a Fuso Canter 4x4.
2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Professional Cab Chassis
Warranty: 3 years, 200,000km
Safety: Not tested
Service Intervals: 10,000km/12 months
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Power: 135kW at 3800rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1600-2600rpm
Transmission: five-speed automatic
Dimensions: 5192mm (L); 1850mm (W); 2090mm (H); 3428mm (WB)
Turning Circle: N/A
Boot Space: N/A
Ground Clearance: 252mm
Fuel Tank: 96 litres
Words Dean Mellor