G-Class boss Gunnar Güthenke said: “With the body, our main focus was on increasing the vehicle rigidity and the connections between the suspension and drivetrain with the ladder-type frame.”
The four-wheel-drive model also offers up to five driving modes. Comfort, Sport, Individual and Eco echo modes are offered across much of the Mercedes range, allowing vehicle characteristics such as engine, transmission, suspension and steering to be modified. The fifth mode, G-mode, is for off-road driving only. It incorporates the three differential locks offered on its predecessor plus low-range gearing. G-mode adapts the damping and steering as well as the accelerator, avoiding unnecessary gearshifts, all of which “ensures optimum control and maximum off-road capability”, reckons Mercedes.
Another significant change is the adoption of a new steering system. The recirculating ball set-up, which dates back to the 1979 G-Wagen, has been replaced by a contemporary electromechanical rack and pinion arrangement, which is claimed to offer a precise and suitable steering response for on and off road. It also allows for the implementation of driving assistance systems such as Parking Assist.
The model also gets Mercedes’ nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission with torque converter, replacing the seven-speed gearbox of its predecessor. It has been specifically adapted to meet the needs of the car, says Mercedes, with reduced shift and response times.
The new G-Class will arrive in the UK in August in Mercedes-AMG G63 guise, which is the most popular variant sold here. It will use the AMG-developed 4.0-litre V8 turbo petrol engine, with 603bhp and 627lb ft, and replace the current 5.5-litre turbo V8, which delivers 563bhp and 560lb ft.
The G63 is expected to cost just under £140,000, a rise of around £4000 over its predecessor. The AMG variant will be launched with a First Edition version that is likely to cost £156,000.
An entry-level 350d – to arrive in 2019 – is expected to start from £85,000, less than the current model’s starting price of £92,070. This will be in a well-specified AMG Line trim. It is understood that a cheaper trim level is also being considered, which would bring the G-Class under £80,000.