Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

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

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

Yet, it's definitely not all about creature comforts as it can still perform admirably off road.

The ultimate off-roader of Mercedes-Benz just officially shed its camo.

Case in point: the first version of the new G-class to be launched in New Zealand in the third quarter of this year will be the range-topping AMG model.

Mercedes says that the 2019 G550 SUV will have 10.6 inches of ground clearance to the front axle housing, which would get even higher if Mercedes continued its 4x4-squared models.

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Standard features of the full-time all-wheel-drive SUV include center, rear and front differential locks, active lane-keeping, active braking assist, traffic-sign assist, attention assist and 19-in. wheels.

Despite its similarities with its direct predecessor, Mercedes claims quality is improved, resulting in "narrower, more precise panel gaps", and the wheel arches and bumpers become a more integral part of the body, "looking less like add-on features", says the German auto maker.

Gaining dashboard screens from the E-Class and S-Class means an unbroken expanse of display in front of the driver, while modern Mercedes touches such as the dash-mounted gear selector and rotary infotainment control remain. The G-Wagen was about to become a retro-styled slushmobile, something in which the Kardashians could preen but that wouldn't be able to handle much more than a pothole on Sepulveda Boulevard.

On the move and in its natural off-road setting, our passenger ride revealed that the G-Class is better still in the rough than before thanks to tweaks to the car's chassis, rear axle and suspension, along with optional variable dampers. For this reason the model also retains its body-on-ladder-frame form of construction.

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Off-road credibility is further enhanced with a 100mm increase in fording depth to 700mm and departure and approach angles increase to 30 and 31 degrees respectively. Drivers may also choose different driving modes whether it be Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual settings.

The inside of the vehicle has many changes and improvements, especially in the technology department. The G 350 d will follow, featuring a new 3.0-litre diesel linked to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

As should the new "high-quality" interior which introduces Mercedes' Widescreen Cockpit set-up as well as some rather more meta details like air vents based on the car's own headlamps and speakers inspired by its indicators. However, we'd expect them to be similar to those in other markets, where the vehicle comes with leather upholstery, a seven-speaker stereo set-up and a host of driver-assistance systems.

But it's underneath where the most significant updates have happened, and to the delight of the hardest core bushwackers nearly every offroading criteria has been improved. Or if you've always wanted a G-Wagen, but want one of the last G-Classes with a stick axle up front, you're running out of time for a new one.

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