It’s hard to believe that the Mercedes-Benz G-CLass has gone on without a ground-up redesign since its introduction in 1979. Well, an all-new model is finally here, and its everything fans of the iconic off-road SUV expected.
Looking at it, you’d think there is nothing “all-new” about the second-generation G-Class, but its nearly identical appearance was intentional. Like it or not, the G-Wagen’s boxy shape has become a styling icon for Mercedes-Benz, so designers didn’t want to mess too much with a good thing. It addition to the boxy shape, it reatains the exposed door hinges, fender-mounted turn signals, rounded headlights (LEDs this time around) and a hatch-mounted spare tires.
The new G-Class looks old, but you can bet it’s as modern and high-tech as cars today get. We can spend hours talking about how much better it is than before, but let’s just focus on the key highlights:
- Engineers increased overall length and width by 2.1-inches and 4.8-inches, respectively, providing more room for occupants and their cargo.
- Despite the bigger footprint, it is 375 pounds (170 kg) lighter than the model it replaces, thanks to the extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum in its construction. The historically large panel gaps have also been tightened for a cleaner build.
- Entering the G-Class reveals the biggest improvements, with the interior featuring the level of premium materials and interior design you would expect from a vehicle costing over $120,000. The new center stack has the same switch layout as the latest S-Class, while higher trim models borrow Mercedes’ flagship sedan’s high-tech digital dash.
- After 39 years, the iconic SUV finally has real, built-in cupholders! No more tacky-looking, third-party cupholders forcibly installed in awkward places.
- Power continues to be provided by the 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 as before, this time mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter to deliver 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. The SUV features three locking differentials and has a electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h).
- Drivers can select between five different drive modes — Comfort, Eco, Sport, Individual and G-Mode. Comfort, Eco and Sport tailor the G-Class’ shift points, throttle response, electronic steering and exhaust note accordingly, while Individual lets you mix and match between all of the settings.
- Despite its opulence, the G-Class is a serious off-roader like the Jeep Wrangler and G-Mode is the off-road setting. G-Mode is automatically activated when the vehicle is put into low range or when one of its three differentials is locked, adapting all applicable settings to improve off-road capability.
- The latest safety and convenience tech are on offer, including keyless entry with push-button start, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and active brake assist with traffic sign assist. It also comes standard with a Burmester Surround Sound System and 19-inch wheels.
Sales of the all-new, 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class begin in late 2018. Considering its numerous improvements made to it, expect a starting price that’s higher than the $123,600 commanded by its predecessor. Those of us who enjoy old-school wheeling have some great things to look forward to.
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