Automotive

New Mercedes G-Class adds comfort, refinement and intelligence, keeps the look

New Mercedes G-Class adds comf...
The new Mercedes G-Class: the iconic boxy shape remains unchanged, but there's big advances in comfort, refinement and intelligence
The new Mercedes G-Class: the iconic boxy shape remains unchanged, but there's big advances in comfort, refinement and intelligence
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: front 3/4
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: front 3/4
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: front grille and LED headlights
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: front grille and LED headlights
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: upgraded interior
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: upgraded interior
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: new console
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: new console
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: rear 3/4
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: rear 3/4
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: rear left 3/4
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: rear left 3/4
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: still a giant car
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: still a giant car
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: angel eyes as standard
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: angel eyes as standard
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: a boost in refinement and intelligence
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: a boost in refinement and intelligence
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: inside the luggage section
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: inside the luggage section
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: still carries the signature external spare tire
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The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: still carries the signature external spare tire
The new Mercedes G-Class: the iconic boxy shape remains unchanged, but there's big advances in comfort, refinement and intelligence
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The new Mercedes G-Class: the iconic boxy shape remains unchanged, but there's big advances in comfort, refinement and intelligence
New G-Wagen: iconic shape remains
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New G-Wagen: iconic shape remains
New G-Wagen: new frame uses aluminum and high-strength steel for reduced weight and improved torsional rigidity
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New G-Wagen: new frame uses aluminum and high-strength steel for reduced weight and improved torsional rigidity
2018 G-Wagen: new double-wishbone front suspension
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2018 G-Wagen: new double-wishbone front suspension
2019 Mercedes G-Class: launches with 16-inch rims
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: launches with 16-inch rims
2019 Mercedes G-Class: on-road stability and highway driving should be quieter and more responsive
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: on-road stability and highway driving should be quieter and more responsive
2019 Mercedes G-Class: LED headlights will divide opinions
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: LED headlights will divide opinions
2019 Mercedes G-Class: keeps the rear-mounted spare tire
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: keeps the rear-mounted spare tire
2019 Mercedes G-Class: aerodynamics is one area that doesn't look like it's improved
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: aerodynamics is one area that doesn't look like it's improved
2019 Mercedes G-Class: off-road capability should be even better 
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: off-road capability should be even better 
2019 Mercedes G-Class: impressive suspension travel and ground clearance
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: impressive suspension travel and ground clearance
2019 Mercedes G-Class: new G-Mode engages when you lock a differential or engage low-speed gearing
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: new G-Mode engages when you lock a differential or engage low-speed gearing
2019 Mercedes G-Class: new variable steering system will optimise steering for off-road driving, highway use, and sport driving
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: new variable steering system will optimise steering for off-road driving, highway use, and sport driving
2019 Mercedes G-Class: superb off-road capabilities get even better
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: superb off-road capabilities get even better
2019 Mercedes G-Class: will be very much at home off the beaten track
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: will be very much at home off the beaten track
2019 Mercedes G-Class: we hope those flat, straight side windows don't end up being too reflective
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: we hope those flat, straight side windows don't end up being too reflective
2019 Mercedes G-Class: launches with a 4-liter, biturbo, 422-hp motor
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: launches with a 4-liter, biturbo, 422-hp motor
2019 Mercedes G-Class: available with active suspension, heated and cooled seats
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: available with active suspension, heated and cooled seats
2019 Mercedes G-Class: the bad boy Benz is back
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2019 Mercedes G-Class: the bad boy Benz is back

The Mercedes-Benz G Class is a very odd success story in the modern age. Built for off-road indestructibility in the late 1970s, it has been picked up as a fashion accessory by the Biebers and Kardashians of the world and is now viewed as some kind of celebrity luxury item.

Its key draw in this market seems to be its gigantic, boxy, brash shape. That, and the stuck-on technical looking bits and exposed hinges and rain gutters all over it, evoke some of its early utility as a military vehicle. It's well known for its excellent off-road capabilities, although the luxury set rarely use it as such, and for having the highway aerodynamics of a small apartment block in a hurricane.

And yet, whether because of its brutish 4WD ability or its desert Gucci image, sales have increased year upon year to the point where Mercedes has finally decided to give the platform a proper overhaul of its longest-standing model.

The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: angel eyes as standard
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: angel eyes as standard

Not that you'd immediately notice to look at it. The team has been very careful not to kill the golden goose by altering the G Wagen's unique looks. The new model is a touch bigger – 53 mm (2.1 in) longer and 121 mm (4.8 in) wider, which adds leg, shoulder and elbow room in both front and back seats – but on the outside it looks much the same as it used to, bar the new LED headlights.

The engine, for launch in the G500 at least, is a 4-liter biturbo V8 making 422 horses (315 kW) and 450 lb-ft (610 Nm), mated to a new 9-speed 9G-Tronic auto gearbox. The chassis is still a ladder-frame job, and it still runs three 100 percent diff locks and low range off-road gear reduction.

The G Class's off-road ability is enhanced by new long travel suspension, improved ground clearance, extra tilt stability in all directions and a 100 mm greater river fording depth of 700 mm (27.5 in).

2019 Mercedes G-Class: superb off-road capabilities get even better
2019 Mercedes G-Class: superb off-road capabilities get even better

On the road, the focus has been on increasing agility and comfort. Agility is enhanced by a weight reduction of 170 kg (375 lb) and a new front axle design. Meanwhile, comfort has been addressed by cleaning up a few of the old G Class's glaring issues – a reduction in noise and vibrations, the addition of an electromechanical steering system, a much more nicely integrated dash with twin 12.3-inch displays, and Dynamic Select driving modes (Comfort, Sport, Eco and a customizable Individual mode) that change the throttle response, shift points and steering to suit what you're doing.

There's also an optional Adaptive Damping system that reads the road or the terrain you're driving and configures itself to suit. A further "G-Mode" activates if you engage any of the diff locks or low range gearing, which optimizes steering, transmission, throttle and suspension to handle the most demanding off-road driving.

The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: new console
The new G-Class on display at Detroit NAIAS: new console

Otherwise, it's a G Wagen through and through, built to outlast a tardigrade, with that signature giant spare tire hanging off the back and spunky exposed hinges on the doors and hood if you're into that sort of thing. And don't worry, the doors still sound all clicky like the old ones, it's just now there's smaller gaps in the panels and a touch more refinement in your luxury military jeep.

The update doesn't appear to have made a huge difference to the retail price, which will start at a touch over €107,000 in Germany. That converts to around US$130,000, although US pricing has yet to be released. There's also no word on the potential of an Arnie-style electric version, although the Governator did get the gig introducing the new G-Class at NAIAS in Detroit.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

1 comment
guzmanchinky
People who drive these as luxury on road vehicles are the highest class of fool. But Mercedes keeps making a huge profit so good for them.