It looks familiar. Same upright stance, same flared wheelarches, same three-pointed star. The original G-Class or G-Wagen was launched in 1979 and made a name for itself as a Germanic counterpart to the Defender; tough, no-nonsense and brilliant off-road. Now, the all-new G-Class keeps the iconic looks but almost every other component is brand new.
The new Mercedes-Benz G-Class can be discovered in more detail and taken for a test drive at Jardine Motors Group dealerships in Essex and Suffolk today.
Mercedes-Benz claims that the door handle button, sunvisor, rear wheel cover and headlamp washer nozzles are the only components carried over from the previous model. Wisely, they’ve kept the same chunky, go-anywhere style while creating a body that’s both lighter and stiffer than its predecessor. It’s still mounted on a ladder-style separate chassis, however, as this is deemed to be the optimum for off-roading.
Mercedes-Benz makes other SUVs that are also highly capable off-road, so the focus of the new G-Class was to offer unparalleled off-road capability along with increased comfort and refinement. Two powertrains are offered. The G350D AMG-Line is powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel that develops 282bhp and 600Nm. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 7.4 seconds and top speed is 123mph. Alternatively, the ballistic AMG G63 has a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine that puts out 585hp and 850Nm of torque, for a scarcely credible 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds.
When it comes to off-roading, the new G-Class has independent front suspension with tightly packaged double wishbones in place of the old beam axle; it can wade water 700mm deep, lean over at 35 degrees without toppling and climb 45-degree slopes. There are three differentials; one at either end and a third in the middle to lock everything up for maximum low-speed traction.
The G350D AMG-Line comes with a 12.3-inch cockpit widescreen driver display, Keyless GO and full smartphone integration. Other standard features include 8-colour ambient interior lighting, three-zone automatic climate control, heated front memory seats and split-fold rear seats that fold to reveal a cavernous loadspace. The Premium package adds a Burmeister audio system, panoramic sunroof, Multibeam LED headlights, a parking package with 360° camera, ionised and charcoal-filtered air, plus 64-colour ambient interior and active damping.
As you’d expect the AMG G63 offers all this and more, with Panamerica-inspired grille, Chrome package and Exterior styling package, 20” AMG wheels and AMG red brake callipers. Inside the AMG G63 the sports seats are in Nappa leather, the AMG performance steering wheel is heated, and the infotainment features dual 12.3-inch bonded widescreen cockpit displays.
All G-Class models have an array of sophisticated safety systems as standard. These include Active Brake Assist, which warns you of any potential collisions and provides ‘situation-dependent’ braking assistance including autonomous braking for vehicles in front, crossing pedestrians and cyclists.
Other active technologies include Active Lane Assist, which can gently nudge you back into line if your attention wanders; Attention Assist, which detects if you’re showing signs of fatigue; and the Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE system for preventive occupant protection. Given that you’re already in a vehicle that’s as tough as a battleship, we’d say it’s a very safe way of travelling on or off the road.
The new G-Class is an icon reborn. But not as the original crude but highly capable off-roader from 1979. Today’s G-Class is a flagship and priced accordingly. It’s fast, refined, and offers on-road handling that owners of the old G-Wagen could only dream of. And when you get to the rough stuff…it’s still the boss.
|Vehicle length||4662 mm / 183.5 in|
|Vehicle width||2055 mm / 80.9 in|
|Vehicle height||(unladen) 1951 mm / 76.8 in|
|Wheelbase||2850 mm / 112.2 in|
|Unladen weight (DIN)||2642 kg / 5825 lb|
|Engine / Cylinders||3.0-litre/6|
|Engine Capacity||2987 cc|
|Max Torque||540 nm @ 1600-2400 rpm|
|Max Power||1505 kW @ 3400 rpm|
|Top Speed||108 mph|
|Acceleration||0-62 mph / 9.1 sec|
|Combined cycle||25.2 mpg|
Urban cycle||20.8 mpg|