What do you get when a king asks students at his university to build an off-road vehicle for him? A Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen rebodied to look like a super-sized Mahindra, from the look of the KSU Gazal-1 (named for the local gazelles that bound across the Saudi landscape).
Developed with assistance from Magna-Steyr (the company that assembles the G-class in Austria), the students at King Saud University were tasked with “combining a natural ability for extreme off road driving with comfortable urban and suburban road use.”
After selecting the G-wagen as the basis, the students were allowed total freedom to redesign the entire bodywork, but according to the press materials, they decided to avoid “fashionable trends in favor of a timeless style.” All righty, then. The bodywork is said to be made of carbon fiber, but the representative says that after necessary reinforcements, it weighs the same as the original steel G550.
One of the goals was to “promote the culture of the auto industry and train young engineers.” We’re not convinced this project has instilled all the right lessons…