Mercedes-Benz G-Class Wears Tracks for Dashing Through the Snow

Off-road tuning specialist Delta 4x4 has fitted tracks to a Mercedes-Benz G-Class for extreme winter use. But the mod is not permanent. You can quickly do the reverse conversion.
Mercedes G-Class with tracks 9 photos
Photo: Delta 4x4
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With three locking differentials, the Mercedes G-Class is a capable off-road vehicle. But when winter strikes, brining along massive snowfalls, even the top off-road skills of the G-Class may not be enough, especially in high-altitude mountainous areas. That's why a wealthy farmer in the Swiss Alps wanted to make sure he could get his Mercedes G-Class to his 3,000-meter-high (around 9,840 feet) Graubunden hut and called in the specialist off-road modification Delta tuner 4x4 to fit tracks in his vehicle.

The track system is supplied by the Americans from Mattracks, and each wheel assembly weighs no less than 170 kg (375 lb). The drive wheel of the track mounts on the wheel hub, and the linkage to the buckets (the four small wheels at the bottom) is via an articulated mechanism that allows the entire assembly to move a few degrees. The track mounts on an 18.5-inch sprocket and is made of fiber-reinforced rubber. The ground contact area is between 424 and 600 sq cm (65.72 to 93 square inches)  which ensures good grip even in heavy snow conditions.

Because the drive wheel of the track is several times smaller in diameter than the G-Class wheel, the top speed is reduced by the same ratio. So, with the tracks fitted, the G-Class reaches a top speed of only 65 kph (40.39 mph), but in heavy snow, you don't need more than that.

With the tracks fitted, the G-Class' ground clearance of 24.1 cm (9.49 inches) is increased by 20 cm (7.87 inches) to 44.1 cm (17.36 inches). The tracks are solid, and the material they're made of retains its elasticity down to -40 degrees Celsius (-40 Fahrenheit).

The conversion operation is costly. The parts and assembly go as high as 50,000 euros ($52,676) , and a similar amount was spent on homologation and additional tests. Because the Swiss farmer could afford it, he invested a further 20,000 euros ($21,070) for the roof rack, front bumper, and bigger summer tires.

The tracks can be quickly fitted and removed from the vehicle, so the G-Class car can be used with regular wheels when no snow is in the picture. If we calculate, a Mercedes G 500 4x4 Squared costs 250,000 euros ($263,380) and is less capable than this G-Class fitted with tracks. However, with the modifications made, this G-Class with the tracks comes close to the same amount of money.

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