So iconic is the G-Class's styling that Mercedes has only mildly updated its angular exterior design and has instead focused on heavily revising the interior and improving its ride comfort and agility. It's not. It's the first all-new Geländewagen since the original debuted in 1979, and it promises to be the best one yet.
The brand revealed the second generation of its legendary off-roader at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, with the help of actor and former Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We're going to get straight to the stuff you care about first-the G's chassis. Double-wishbones bolted directly to the frame, to be precise. It is then coupled with all-new suspension to give it both improved comfort on-road and handling off-road.
The new vehicle looks much like the outgoing model, but under its traditionally styled metal is a comprehensively updated chassis that Mercedes claims improves the car's abilities on and off the road. The SUV will get three differential and low-range, running at speeds up to 40 km per hour. A selectable "G-Mode" driving mode sets up the car's suspension, steering, transmission and throttle response to ensure maximum off-road performance. This mode automatically engages if the driver activates any of the G-Class' differential locks, too. It's the world's largest display of synthetic resin, and further promotes Mercedes-Benz's ongoing partnership with the Jurassic Park film franchise.
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A specially-adapted version of Mercedes' nine-speed automatic gearbox has found its way into the all-new auto.
"The G-Class is the granddad of all SUVs", said Gunnar Guethenke, the model's chief.
Losing about 170kg courtesy of improved construction and by using ultra-high-strength steels and aluminium, the G-Class's reincarnation will be 53mm longer and 121mm wider.
The new Mercedes-Benz G500 carries a petrol-fed 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine. (610 Nm) at 4,750. It hasn't stayed relevant by resting on its laurels though, and today Mercedes has announced an all-new version in the hope of securing its title for many more years to come. But in low range you still have all the safety and assistance systems active, but with the thresholds pushed up.
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While not much has changed outside the G-Class, the interior keeps up to the present with its state of the art tech. There are two 12.3-inch screens available, taking inspiration from the E-Class and S-Class. In many ways, the G-class is proudly anti-fashion.
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). Some of its edges are a little more rounded than before, and Mercedes touts smaller panel gaps, but it's mostly just classic Geländewagen here.
Time honoured details such as the distinctive door handle and heavily metallic closing sound remain, as does the exterior protective strip, exposed spare wheel on the rear door and prominent indicator lights atop the front fenders.
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