Stuttgart/Graz. On 22 February the ceremonial ground-breaking on the former Nittner aerodrome in Kalsdorf, around 15 kilometres to the south of Graz, marked the official start of construction work for a new G-Class Experience Center. This is where customers and fans will be able to impressively experience the on and off-road capabilities of the G-Class. The Center is expected to open by the end of 2019.
"The new G-Class has even better off-road capabilities than its predecessor. In future, at the new G-Class Experience Center near Graz, customers and fans will be able to find out for themselves that it masters even the most demanding challenges," says Dr. Gunnar Güthenke, Head of the Product Unit Off-Road Vehicles at Mercedes-Benz. "Our traditional test track on the Schöckl mountain slopes near Graz is one of the world's most demanding off-road test facilities, and remains the measure of all things for our professional development and test drives." The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Dr Gunnar Güthenke (Head of Mercedes-Benz G GmbH), Gerhard Schramm (CFO Mercedes-Benz G GmbH ), Norbert Singer (Project Manager Mercedes-Benz G GmbH), Erich Gosch (Mayor of Feldkirchen bei Graz), Heimo Senekowitsch (Klöcher Bau), Marc Schmits-Lapainer (Ingenaix) and Thomas Eichholzer (Project supervisor).
The site measuring more than 100,000 sq. m. will house a total of four test modules in addition to a reception and presentation area: a natural and an artificial off-road section, a hill with various approach ramps with gradients up to 100 percent and an on-road section on the former taxiways. This is where participants will be able to perform e.g. braking and slalom exercises with the G‑Class.
General planning is by the engineering consultancy IngenAix, with project management by Eichholzer-Frick ZT. The routing on the natural off-road section was chosen in cooperation with specialists and the Graz-based planning consultancy ÖKOTEAM, ensuring that vulnerable biotopes are protected and only very few trees needed to be felled.
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The Magna Steyr plant, where the G-Class has been produced for Mercedes-Benz since 1979, is only around 20 minutes drive from the new G-Class Experience Center.
The current G-Class has been in the market since June 2018. Whether on or off the road, and whatever the operating conditions, it impresses with its performance, modern assistance systems, outstanding handling, and safety. At the same time, the new suspension, the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes, the "G-Mode" and the three 100-percent differential locks enhance not only ride comfort but also agility – on any surface.