Mercedes 4x4 will mix luxury, advanced technology and rugged off-road prowess as it enters its second generation
13 November 2017

The next-generation Mercedes-Benz G-Class will have a substantially more luxurious interior and strong links to the S-Class, as shown by a new leaked image of the car's dashboard design.

The new version of Mercedes's square-jawed off-roader, which first arrived in 1979, will be unveiled to the public at the Detroit motor show in January 2018 and go on sale in the UK in the spring. The leaked image, posted on Dutch website AutoWeek, shows the wide-screen infotainment screen and metallic trim that will be fitted to the model.

Like the S-Class's, the G-Class's dashboard features fewer buttons and a cleaner design, with metallic button controls on the steering wheel. The G-Class gets more butch metallic vent surrounds, however, as a nod to its more rugged character.

The technology fitted to the G-Class is claimed by some insiders to secure the future of the G-Class well into second half of the next decade. Much of the electronic architecture will be shared with the S-Class.

Why G-Class outlived the Land Rover Defender 

The new G-Class has adopted a completely fresh design and a contemporary aluminium construction. The move, Mercedes officials say, helps contribute to a 160kg reduction in kerb weight over today’s mostly steel-bodied model while providing a 30% increase in torsional rigidity. 

The military-grade off-roader also receives a widened chassis with new front suspension as well as adjustable damping. A new electric architecture supports a widened range of driver assistance systems.

Myriad changes, hidden beneath traditionally upright styling, are claimed to boost the on-road performance. The G-Class is also in line to receive a new range of engines. These include the latest evolution of AMG’s turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol unit and parent company Mercedes-Benz’s new 2.9-litre in-line six-cylinder diesel, in combination with a new nine-speed automatic gearbox. 

The new G-Class’s design holds true to the look of today’s 38-year-old model with a boxy appearance that, despite a 20mm increase in width, is claimed to have the same 0.54 drag coefficient as today’s car. 

The traditional styling aims to provide maximum off-road functionality. Autocar has been told the nominal fording depth of the new model has increased by up to 100mm. The approach, departure and ramp angles are all said to have been improved, too, if only marginally, over the outgoing model’s. Buyers will also be able to equip the 2018 model with a 360deg off-road camera for safer manoeuvring in tight off-road conditions. 

Although early reports suggested the new G-Class was in line to adopt a monocoque construction, Autocar can confirm that it retains the tried and trusted ladder-frame chassis of its predecessor, albeit in heavily modified form. 

Mercedes engineering sources say this construction provides the G-Class with new levels of crash integrity, better on-road refinement and, in combination with the new aluminium body structure, a significantly lower weight. Nothing is official yet, but the initial G500 model planned to be launched at the Detroit motor show in January is said to weigh close to 2435kg — down from the existing G500’s 2595kg. The ladder-frame chassis also helps to preserve the versatile G-Class’s 3500kg towing capacity. 

As well as undergoing the usual on-road development process, the new G-Class has been extensively tested at Mercedes’ punishing off-road course in Schöckl, Austria. 

The car's new interior is claimed to provide significantly improved accommodation. One source revealed that rear leg room has increased by as much as 150mm in standard-wheelbase guise. Luggage capacity is also said to extend beyond the outgoing model’s 487 litres. 

Safety tech includes Active Lane Keeping Assist, and the Pre-Safe system, which activates precautionary occupant protection measures if the car senses a collision is imminent. 

The new G-Class will be sold from the outset with an AMG-developed 4.0-litre V8 turbo petrol engine in two states of tune. In the G500, it has 415bhp and 450lb ft. It also receives a cylinder deactivation device that allows it to run on four cylinders under part-throttle loads in city driving conditions. 

In the more highly tuned Mercedes-AMG G63, it packs 603bhp and 627lb ft, replacing the current 5.5-litre turbo V8, which delivers 563bhp and 560lb ft. 

The new engines are combined with a nine-speed automatic gearbox and a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive system with three differential locks and low-range gearing. 

A G400d model is planned to join the line-up later in 2018. It will run Mercedes’ new OM656 in-line six-cylinder diesel engine and develop 335bhp and 516lb ft. Other units, including a 3.0-litre in-line six- cylinder turbo petrol with an integrated starter/generator mild hybrid set-up, will follow. 

Underpinning the 2018 G-Class is a new suspension system. It adopts a new independent front end as well as heavily revised geometry at the rear, both offering added levels of wheel travel and axle articulation over the old model. In a move that’s claimed to provide next year’s model with greater comfort, it receives adaptive damping control too. 

Another significant change is the adoption of a new steering system. The recirculating ball system, which dates back to the 1979 G-Wagen, has been replaced by a contemporary electromechanical rack and pinion arrangement, which is claimed to bring a greater degree of precision.

Related stories: 

Mercedes-Benz G-Class review

Mercedes-AMG G63 review

Mercedes-Benz GLS review 

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Gelaendewagen is Mercedes' take on the rugged, boxy Land Rover Defender with more added luxury

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Comments
34

289

14 July 2016
....and still it rolls on!
The best 4x4 by far, beautifully built and over-engineered.
With its triple diff locks knocks everything else into a cocked hat.
Expensive....yes, but if I could afford another one (previously had company car G's), I would buy it in a heartbeat. And run it for 20 years.

13 November 2017

with the latest architecture you can count on major issues. Mercedes latest cars are under-engineered now and that same technology has found its way into this thing. Those glory days died decades ago and now it’s Japanese reliability you want (just look how Lexus makes Mercedes look like a French car). 

 

Buy a second hand 15k g class and it will look the same just much much much much more reliable.

14 July 2016
What is easier than being a designer for the Porsche 911? Being a designer for the G-wagen of course!

289

15 July 2016
:)
Or for the past 20 odd years (until the end of the line), the Defender designer!

13 November 2017
289 wrote:

:) Or for the past 20 odd years (until the end of the line), the Defender designer!

 

no definitely the Mercedes G thingy. This looks the same as day 1

27 July 2016
I've always loved the G-wagen, sorry 'G-Class' if you must. Less a fan of its increasingly blingy chaviness in recent years.

27 July 2016
If Mercedes can do this with the G-Wagen, why can't Land Rover do something similar with the Defender? I know, the Defender is objectively awful, but it is very endearingly awful. All Land Rover would have to do for it to be a sales success is make it safe. This may require a fairly hefty investment, but surely there is a market? It would be a heritage brand hero.

12 December 2016
So you'd like for JLR to change a vehicle that has been a mainstay for agriculture,fire services, police, utilities and with a thousand and one other uses into a blinged up vehicle for wealthy posers? Forty years ago the G-Wagen was a serious 4x4 for serious use and now it's morphed into this and bought by customers who never use it's awesome capabilities.

12 December 2016
So you'd like for JLR to change a vehicle that has been a mainstay for agriculture,fire services, police, utilities and with a thousand and one other uses into a blinged up vehicle for wealthy posers? Forty years ago the G-Wagen was a serious 4x4 for serious use and now it's morphed into this and bought by customers who never use it's awesome capabilities.

12 December 2016
Take it or leave it, this design is one of a kind.

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