Mercedes' rugged, G-class SUV gets house-trained

Mercedes G Class 2018

So what Mercedes has done for this new generation model, unveiled at NAIAS 2018, is that they've tried to give it more road presence by making it longer and wider, then adding a fundamentally modern interior, while still reflecting the overall aesthetic of the exterior.

This is all powered by a new high-performance 4-liter V8 gasoline engine that produces 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. This is mated to a full-time four-wheel-drive layout alongside a new 9-speed automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case as standard. As yet there are no details on pricing as soon as we get some more information, we will let you guys know. "Mercedes also touts the G-Class" distinctive door handles and closing sound. Far from going all sleek and sinewy though, the new G-Class is also 53mm longer and 121mm wider than its predecessor, bestowing it with "even greater presence".

"In short, the new G is still a G, only better", says Ola Kallenius, head of research for Mercedes-Benz Cars. The instrument panel is a single sheet of glass housing two displays, one for the gauges and one for the COMAND infotainment display. No, the statement SUV is and will always be the Mercedes G-Class.

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While many will look at the all-new G and say "Uh, what?" it has been completely changed although the bodywork is staggeringly similar. Yes, the Mercedes G-class was originally conceived for the German military, and has been in civilian action since 1979. Mercedes says the auto is better still off-road than its predecessor, yet also more agile and comfortable on the tarmac. What's that? It looks just like the old one?

Under the hood, the new G-Class will be available in a number of engines. This has in turn allowed the front seats to gain 4cm in legroom, while shoulder and elbow room has increased significantly for all passengers. These are the door handles, headlight washer nozzles, tow bar, interior sunshades and the spare-wheel cover. Refinement and on-road manners are much-improved as a result, without having to ditch a super-low-ratio first gear for off-road crawling, or ground clearance; the new rides 6mm higher off the road. Mercedes has retained the three locking differentials, but engineers made the truck more on-road-friendly with a double-wishbone independent front suspension. It ditches the old G's recirculating ball setup for electric power assistance, which enables Comfort, Sport, and Off-Road steering modes. Priced from €107,040.50 ($130,532 / INR 82,81,668), the new Mercedes G-Class will go on display at the North American International Auto Show later today. 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.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa can't yet confirm local launch dates, but it will go on sale in Europe and the US later this year.

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