37 years after it was introduced, the G-Wagen has hit a production record with 20,000 being built in 2016.

It may be 37 years old, but the Mercedes G Class is more successful than ever. Indeed, 20,000 of the things have rolled off the production line in Graz, Austria this year, breaking all previous records.

The 20,000th 2016 G-Wagen is pictured here, a bright white AMG G63, complete with a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 motor. Its owner splashed out on options, too, including the Designo Mystic White Bright paintwork and Designo leather upholstery.

More than quarter of a million G-Wagens have been built by contractor Magna Steyr since the model was introduced in 1979. It was originally intended as a rough-and-ready military vehicle, but soon proved extremely popular with civilians, as well. It even turned out to be a handy race car, winning the Dakar Rally in 1983.

Fundamentally, today’s G-Wagen is little changed. But it has been garnished with a lavishly luxurious interior, and ludicrous powerful engines - you can even have it with a twin-turbo V12.

With the best will in the world, the G-Wagen is not - and never really has been - as good as a Range Rover. But it has the same kind of timeless appeal that kept the Land Rover Defender in production for so long. And it is just so cool. Even when modified in dubious taste.

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Mercedes’ head of off-road products, Gunnar Guthenke, said: “The individualization and continuous technical optimization of the G Class contribute to the great success of the original off-road icon, which still makes no compromises when it comes to off-road.

“The production of 20,000 G Classes in one year confirms the high demand for the ‘G’ and the quality of our vehicles, something that is highly appreciated by our customers. I am very pleased and also proud that some of our employees have been on board since production started 37 years ago,” Guthenke added.

The G-Wagen isn't going anywhere any time soon, either, with a new version expected to arrive late in 2017. But it is thought the new car will herald the biggest changes in the model's history, a brand new chassis carving as much as 900 pounds (408 kilograms) off the curb weight, and widening the body by four inches (100 millimeters).

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