Old look and new tech equally important
If you think the all-new G-class looks different to the old one, Mercedes-Benz may not have done its job properly.
The Three-Pointed Star’s longest-serving model has become equally famous for its archaic styling and extreme off-road ability.
Its appearance has not changed significantly since 1979, nor has its ability to climb mountains - even though it has also evolved into a performance vehicle and fashion statement.
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-toppingAMGmodel.
As with every G-class, the door hinges are still on the outside, the indicators are still prominent and the whole thing is still rather square.
The new model is larger than the old: 53mm longer and 121mm wider. The wheelarches and bumpers are now more integrated into the body design, while still looking pretty old-school.
Mercedes-Benz has also retained a traditional ladder-type frame, with the focus for the new model in improving overall rigidity and the connections between the drivetrain and suspension with that chassis.
The suspension design is new and the G-class has three separate differential locks.
Mercedes-Benz says the goal was to improve the G-class’s handling both on and off-road.
The suspension is a codevelopment between Mercedes and theAMGdivision: an independent double-wishbone front axle with a rigid rear axle.
The wishbones are mounted directly to the ladder-frame, with attachment points as high as possible. There is now 270mm of clearance to to the front axle gear.
The use of wishbones has allowed a strut tower brace to be fitted for extra rigidity.
At the rear, the rigid axle is now controlled by four trailing arms and a Panhard rod.
Clearance between axles is now 6mm greater at 241mm, maximum fording depth is up 100mm to 700mm and the G-class is stable at a tilt angle of 35 degree (an improvement of seven degrees).
Departure angle is 30 degrees, approach 31 degrees and breakover 26 degrees. All are increases of one degree.
The use of high-strength steels and aluminium (guards, bonnet, doors) has shed 170kg from the vehicle compared with the previous model.
Keeping the exterior door hinges as a styling statement required extra engineering!
Electromechanical steering is now standard, allowing the fitment of such technology as selfparking.
The interior also retains many traditional styling cues - although it’s packed with new-gen technology.
Round dials dominate the displays, with a virtual instrument panel available as an option.
The touchpad offers haptic feedback, which means that drivers can use it without taking their eyes away from the (off) road.
Novel cabin details include side air vents in the shape of the G-class’s iconic round headlamps, indicator shapes in the audio speaker grilles - as well as retrofunctional items like the pasenger-side grab-handle on the dashboard.
The Dynamic Select system includes a "G-mode", which can chosen independently of the conventional drive settings (in conjunction with low-range and/ or any of the differential locks). It adjusts the damping of the steering and chassis, and optimises the powertrain for hard-core off-roading.
If it’s all looking even more familiar than expected - that’s because pictures of the new G-class were leaked last week, ahead of the official reveal at the Detroit Auto Show. But as of now, it’s official.
Specification detail and pricing for the NZ market will be announced closer to launch later in 2018.
The current Mercedes-AMG G 63 sells for $253,900.
Squint and it’s still the 1979 model: upright, round headlamps, prominent indicators. That’s the idea.