Mike Stevens | Feb 2, 2010

AS HOLDEN LOOKS to equip US law enforcement agencies, the first of Mercedes-Benz' G-Wagon military vehicles have been delivered to the Australian Defence Force this week.

The G-Wagon arrival follows confirmation of a new contract last June, and according to Mercedes-Benz Australia's Peter Fadeyev, the military-spec Mercs could be a prelude to a G-Class invasion later this year.

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When asked whether a civilian version of the G-Wagon could be heading Australia's way, Mr Fadeyev, Manager of Corporate Communications at Mercedes-Benz Australia, said the wheels were definitely in motion.

"It is inching closer, I can confirm that," Mr Fadeyev said.

"We are looking at potentially launching sometime in the fourth quarter of this year, with deliveries possibly starting in late 2010 or early 2011."

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Mercedes-Benz Australia is aiming to import the W463 G-Class, a luxury-oriented five door wagon variant of the more utilitarian W461 'Gelandewagen' that's currently sold in Europe.

Mr Fadeyev said the diesel-powered 165kW G350 CDI would form the basis for the range, however the 285kW G500 and 373kW G55 AMG are also under consideration for local sale.

Part of a 1200-strong tactical fleet known as Project Overlander, the ADF-spec G-Wagon line-up includes four-wheel-drive station wagons, four-wheel-drive cab-chassis units, and six-wheel-drive units in both single- and dual-cab chassis configurations.

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The ADF's G-Wagon fleet is powered by the same 3.0 litre turbo-diesel V6 that features in many of Mercedes' passenger cars, SUVs and vans.

Additional upgrades will be made by Australian engineering outfit G. H. Varley, with each model variant to be put through rigorous ADF testing ahead of full production later this year.

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