The Mercedes G-Class has withstood the test of time and become an icon for the brand. The company is hoping to build on that success by introducing the all-new model at the North American International Auto Show.
Redesigning an icon isn't easy but Mercedes seems to have pulled it as the 2019 G-Class manages to capture the spirit of the original. Starting up front, we can see a familiar grille which is flanked by circular headlights. The model also has an evolutionary hood as well as a new front bumper which is more rounded to help improve aerodynamics.
Moving further back, the G-Class retains its boxy styling and upright greenhouse. The model's distinctive trim strips have also carried over and so has the spare tire carrier. Despite the familiar appearance, the redesigned model is 53 mm (2 inches) longer and 121 mm (4.7 inches) wider than its predecessor.
The styling changes continue in the cabin as drivers will find an all-new steering wheel, metallic accents, and wood or carbon fiber trim. The SUV comes with analogue gauges but customers can order a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster to match the 12.3-inch infotainment display. Elsewhere, there are heated seats, a seven-speaker audio system, and numerous new storage compartments.
A dizzying array of options will be available including a 16-speaker Burmester surround sound system, designo leather upholstery, and an Active Multicontour Seat package which adds front seats with heating, ventilation, and massage functions. If that's not luxurious enough, the Exclusive Interior Plus package adds Nappa leather upholstery on the doors, dashboard, and center console.
Even without additional options, the 2019 G-Class is more comfortable than its predecessor as it features an assortment of changes to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. The model's increased dimensions also provide drivers and passengers with additional leg, shoulder, and elbow room. Rear seat passengers, in particular, receive an additional 5.9 inches (150 mm) of legroom.
At launch, the model will be offered with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine that develops 416 hp (310 kW) and 450 lb-ft (609 Nm) of torque. It will be connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission which is obviously paired to a four-wheel drive system.
At SUV's unveiling, Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche about the possibly of a pure electric variant but he simply said "Stay tuned."
Despite the focus on luxury and comfort, the all-new G-Class is even more capable off-road than its predecessor. In order to achieve this, the model rides on a ladder-type frame and has been equipped with three 100-percent differential locks. The biggest change is the addition of a new independent front suspension and front axle. The rear axle is also new and Mercedes says it helps the model stay on "track more robustly."
Thanks to these changes, the G-Class has approach and departure angles of 31° and 30° as well as a maximum fording depth of 70 centimeters (27.5 inches). The SUV also boasts a 26° breakover angle and 241 mm (9.5 inches) of ground clearance between the axles.
Other off-road focused features include a new transfer case and an all-new G-Mode which changes the characteristics of the accelerator, steering system, and adjustable damping system to ensure maximum off-road capability.
Besides being more capable off-road, the G-Class has an AMG-tuned suspension and a curb weight that has been reduced by approximately 170 kg (374 lbs) thanks to use of lightweight materials such as aluminum.
The all-new G-Class will go on sale in the United States in late 2018 and pricing will be announced closer to launch. In Germany, the G-Class will be launched in June and be priced from €107,040.50 ($130,532).