When in February 1979 the Mercedes-Benz G-Models were presented, a totally new terrain was entered. Already during the war Mercedes-Benz had made cross-country cars which were, however, primarily used by civil as well as non-civil state institutions. The new generation of off-road cars were, on the one hand, conceived as an exclusive vehicle for free time activities, on the other hand, for heavy use in industrial and community areas.
In the beginning of 1992 the two Diesel-engined models of series 460 were replaced by the new Type 290 GD. Its 2.9-liter 5-cylinder Diesel engine had been developed from the time-tested 2.5-liter aggregate. It excelled with higher performance and a considerably higher torque. The name of the series had also been changed. The new model was assigned to series 461, just as the 230 GE which was still available. In previous years this designation was reserved to the variants with 24 V electric system. It was mostly used in non-civil areas. Production of the 230 GE ended in June 1996; a large majority of professional off-road vehicle users had decided for a Diesel version anyway.
A new chapter in off-road models started in September 1989 when a completely reworked model range with the in-house code 463 series was launched. The main objectives of the facelift were compliance with ever increasing customer demands for greater comfort and a move away from austere utility vehicle to comfortable, multi-purpose car. As a result, the interior design of the new generation was based much more closely on that of passenger cars. This impression was reinforced by the understated style of the updated front section that was painted in body colour.