Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Mercedes-Benz's Next Generation G-Class Has Arrived

Mercedes-Benz's Next Generation G-Class Has Arrived

Switching to IFS forced Mercedes engineers to stiffen the nose of the G-Class by adding a strut tower brace in the engine compartment.

Inside, the changes are much more significant. The German manufacturer has done something very hard with the latest generation of the iconic vehicle - it has kept the design elements that have long defined the classic G-Wagen, but at the same time it has overhauled the auto to create something thoroughly modern. We can't think of any other nameplate that has as much stamina as the outdated G-Class. And it gained while overall US auto sales and Mercedes sales dipped slightly.

Gears and Cogs Only one G-Class variant has been confirmed for the USA: the G550. It sells best in Southern California, the Dallas metropolitan area and then South Florida. The new G-Class retains a ladder-type frame and two-speed fulltime four-wheel-drive transfer case, guaranteeing ruggedness in poor conditions. The auto has a heavily modified version of the ladder-frame chassis from its predecessor, leading to a 170kg weight loss, plus a new electromechanical steering system.

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"G-Mode" is the G-Class' all-new driving mode system allowing it to go even further off road. Mercedes included some familiar G-Class components in the 2019's interior-notably a short dashboard and a passenger grab handle-but there's way more luxury than ever before. There's a huge payoff inside.

The interior dimension has also increase with 1.5 inches more front legroom and 5.9 inches rear legroom.

And increase it they have: There's an inch-and-a-half more legroom for front-seat passengers and almost 6 inches more for backseat riders. That heavy click is what caused this author to fall in love with the original G-Class, so we're glad it's made a return. Rear seats can fold down completely or in a 60/40 split.

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G-Class boss Gunnar Güthenke said: "Enhancing an icon such as the G-Class, in technological terms, was both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time".

Technology is now an essential part of the G-Class.

Round dials dominate the displays, with a virtual instrument panel available as an option. But there's also an optional widescreen digital cockpit cluster. For the record, Mercedes kept the rear axle solid. It's slightly longer and wider than the vehicle it replaces, but 170kg lighter, and features three differential locks, a low range mode, and a rigid rear axle. Axles are mounted slightly higher, as the automaker says it tasked its engineers with "fighting for every inch and millimeter" of ground clearance. But the new stance works better for rock crawling and creek crossing. Approach and breakover angles improve by one degree, to 31 and 26 respectively, while departure angle holds constant at an impressive 30 degrees. It can be chosen manually, but it activates automatically when the driver fires up any of the three 100 per cent differential locks - front, rear and centre - or the low-range transmission feature.

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According to Autocar such a G-Class will sport a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine developed by Mercedes' AMG performance arm.

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