Mercedes G-class Down Un­der

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Motoring -

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.

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