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Mercedes-Benz's Next Generation G-Class Has Arrived

Mercedes-Benz's Next Generation G-Class Has Arrived

So the $120,000-plus G-class has gained a more on-road-friendly independent front suspension (its rear is still a solid axle), standard LED headlights and quicker 9-speed transmission.

And for some reason, buyers couldn't get enough of the ancient machine. For context, if Toyota sold a version of the 1979 Tercel in today's showrooms, would anyone buy it except the hopelessly over-ironic?

Opinion: can the iconic G-Class really reinvent itself?

It'll take a keen eye to spot the exterior changes to the G-Wagen. At least that was our concern.

Of course, the big gains are found inside, where the new G has more room for all passengers, especially those in back.

Keeping the exterior door hinges as a styling statement required extra engineering!

Revised suspension improves the G-waged's on-road handling. That heavy click is what caused this author to fall in love with the original G-Class, so we're glad it's made a return.

Inside, the look is all-new. And in spite of the footprint increase, that single piece of metal is about 375 pounds lighter than before.

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Inside, the G-Wagen gets dramatic updates, appearing more in line with the E- and S-Class than previous generations of G-Class.

In Germany, the new G-Wagen sits at around the same price point as the current auto, meaning it should start from just under £100,000 when it arrives in the United Kingdom later this year. Shoulder room has been increased by more than an inch front and back, and elbow room has increased by more than 2 inches. Powered by a carryover 4.0L twin-turbocharged V-8, the G550 puts out 416 hp and 450 lb-ft. It ditches the old G's recirculating ball setup for electric power assistance, which enables Comfort, Sport, and Off-Road steering modes. G-Mode activates automatically whenever low-range is engaged, or when one of the G's three differentials are locked.

The use of high-strength steels and aluminium (guards, bonnet, doors) has shed 170kg from the vehicle compared with the previous model.

"I think what is unique about this G-wagen is that it was built in Thal, Austria, which is where I was born", Arnold Schwarzenegger said at the reveal. The body shell is also stiffer than before, yielding improvements in all driving situations since the suspension can more effectively do its job. However, the front suspension is now an independent double-wishbone design, while the rear soldiers on with a solid axle.

Ground clearance is now 241mm (up 6mm), wading depth is 700mm (up 100mm), the breakover angle is 26 degrees (up 1 degree) and the G-Class can traverse slopes up to 35 degrees (up 6 degrees). And Benz improved the big G's fording depth to 27.6 inches, up almost 4 from the 2018 truck.

The SUV is designed for off-road driving. And it's still an old-school four-wheeler with three differential locks and no palette of off-road traction control modes. Mercedes claims rear leg room has risen by 150mm and front leg room by 38mm. Let us know below. We predict a Mercedes-AMG G63 to make its return, as well as a wild, impractical, we-must-have-it AMG G65.

The model also gets Mercedes' nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission with torque converter, replacing the seven-speed gearbox of its predecessor.

Specification detail and pricing for the NZ market will be announced closer to launch later in 2018. Now on sale here are the 210hp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel and the 570hp 5.5-litre AMG V8 petrol, so expect to see a similar line up announced in time.


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