2000 Mercedes-Benz G500
What did the Shah of Iran, German military and Pope have in common? The heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
First developed in the late 1970s as a 4WD military vehicle at the suggestion of the Shah of Iran, it was employed by the German military and so solidly built that the Vatican customized one as the Popemobile.
The first civilian model of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class was released in Europe in 1979. It was collaboratively produced by Mercedes-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch, which later became the Austrian company Magna Steyr that still produces G-Class vehicles today. Over the years, the G-Class was available as a two-door convertible, three-door wagon, five-door wagon, windowless two-door van and pickup.
Early models of the rugged, go-anywhere G-Class were somewhat lacking in refinement. But they gradually adopted features from high-end Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans to become comfortable, luxurious SUVs. While the G-Class wasn’t officially launched in the United States until 2001, wealthy Americans purchased them for years through the grey market at exhorbitant prices, such as from a company called Europa G-Wagen in New Mexico.
The 2000 version of the G500, sold as the G500L in Japan, has a boxy utilitarian body that is handsomely styled with alloy wheels and stainless steel accents on the grille and side running boards. Built for serious off-road terrain, its impressive off-road credentials include a super-stiff ladder frame, high ground clearance, a heavy duty suspension, full-time 4WD with two selectable modes, three locking differentials, solid axles and a heavy duty transfer case.
Entering the G500L requires a healthy step upward. The interior is spacious and luxurious with premium materials including polished wood trim and solid Mercedes-Benz craftsmanship you can feel when you shut the doors with a reassuring thump. The center console is full of controls for the audio system, navigation system, air conditioning and other luxuries borrowed from the C-Class. The beautiful leather seats are extremely comfortable and well crafted, with heating and independent adjustment even on the three rear seats. Safety features are ample and you’ll find plenty of space for storage. Many G500 fans prefer this interior over those of later models.
The ride is quiet and comfortable at all speeds, even on bumpy roads. But you can feel body roll around corners and maneuverability is lacking on narrow city streets, making the Mercedes-Benz G-Class less than ideal for running daily errands in the city.
The powerful 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engine generates around 300 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque, depending on model, accelerating this nearly 5500 pound monster from 0 to 60 mph in around 10 seconds with the help of a 5-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain is bulletproof and you can tow loads up to around 7700 pounds, which further lowers the lackluster fuel economy.
This handsome black 5-door 2000 Mercedes G500L, currently in the hands of Japan Car Direct, will probably be snatched up within hours by an enthusiast familiar with its unrivaled combination of exclusivity and reliability. These models really stand out in the Japanese market, where you can be sure they receive extra loving care from their proud owners.
The Japanese used car market is one of the world’s most vibrant, with over 50,000 vehicles going on auction every week and a huge number of specialist dealers handling every imaginable make and model. Many car lovers around the world have discovered that used cars in fantastic condition can be imported directly from Japan at a significant savings.
Japan Car Direct can help you take advantage of these opportunities whether you seek JDM exclusivity, supercar exhilaration or German refinement with left or right hand drive.