Mercedes G-class Down Under
Mercedes-benz AustraliaPacific will launch its newgeneration G-class SUV by the middle of next year, kicking off with the flagship Amg-fettled G63 and following up later in the year with a diesel-powered offering.
With the current G-class variant mix skewing 80 percent towards the 5.5litre supercharged V8-powered version, Mercedes-benz Australia-pacific public relations, product and corporate communications senior manager David Mccarthy confirmed the new AMG variant would head up the product rollout.
“For us, in Australia, G63 is the biggest seller by far,” he said.
“The diesel is about 20 percent of volume. Diesel will come later, quite possibly at the end of next year.”
It remains unclear if the new G63 will be powered by the carryover 5.5-litre unit, or if the G-class will adopt the ubiquitous 4.0-litre bi-turbo powerplant found under the bonnet of a wide range of AMG vehicles including the E63 sedan, GT sports coupe and GLC63 mid-size SUV.
The incoming diesel engine also remains a mystery, with the current V6 turbo-diesel powering the G350d expected to be phased out in favour of Mercedes’ newer straight-six engine.
Although the G-class interior has received a major overhaul, the off-roadready SUV’S final exterior design is being kept under wraps for a Detroit motor show reveal next month.
However, Mr Mccarthy said the new G-class would be easily recognisable as the latest SUV in a model line dating back to 1979.
“Having seen the vehicle it is very identifiable as a G-wagon,” he said.
Overall, the new G-class is expected to retain its rugged, boxy and off road-ready aesthetic with small design updates to modernise its styling. A number of exterior styling cues are already confirmed to be featured on the redesigned G-class – which is expected to sit atop a heavily modified version of the current vehicle’s bespoke platform and will be hand-built at Mercedes’ Graz facility in Austria.
The rear door-mounted spare wheel, heavy-duty push-button doorhandles and raised front indicator locations will all carryover from the current vehicle, alongside the G-class’ threebutton differential locker and prominent passenger-side handle. However, during the new model’s interior reveal in Stuttgart, Mercedes-benz G-class marketing manager Ian James said 98 percent of the car was new, with the majority of changes found inside the vehicle.
“The G-class unique,” he said.
“The interior is really where we’ve had that step-change, if you like, and I want to make sure that’s positioned correctly.”
Mr James said shape is pretty the new G-class would sport strong off-road credentials like its predecessors despite the interior moving into a more luxurious and comfortable space, but would also see improvements in all characteristics.
“First and foremost, our focus was very much on the off-road capability,” he said.
“Of course, we want to make steps forward in on road and other aspects of the vehicle, but all of that will become apparent when we launch the vehicle in Detroit.
“Maybe a lot of customers don’t take their cars off road, but they like the feeling they can take it off road, and at the end of the day it is a G-class because of its pedigree – we’ve got the proof there that it can manage it and that will continue long into the future.
“When you have an opportunity to really go back to basics on a car and to take it to that next development step, and such a significant development step as this, you’re going to want to improve in all areas.”
The new G-class will be sold alongside the G-professional workhorse in Australia, with Mr Mccarthy revealing pricing would likely be similar to the current two variant line-up that kicks-off at $164,610 before on-roads for the diesel and $235,410 for the petrol V8.
STREET CRED: The next-gen Mercedes-amg G63 is expected to look similar to the current model, pictured.