Revamped Mercedes G-Class unveiled

Mercedes G Class 2018

Earlier this January, photos of the all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class have leaked ahead of its official debut at the now on-going 2018 North American International Auto Show. We previewed the G-Class interior a while ago, but it's still worth noting that this cabin should make luxe-oriented buyers feel more at home than the antiquated interiors found on current models.

There is also a new automatic transmission, the 9G Tronic which has been designed specifically for this off road SUV.

While the 2019 G-Class looks near-identical to the old model, it's actually a little longer (2.1 inches/53mm) and a little wider (4.8 inches/121mm) than before. Out go old-fashioned physical dials, replaced by a pair of 12.3-inch digital displays, arranged together to form a widescreen panel. New to the 2019 G-Class is G-mode, which is reserved for off-road driving and automatically activates whenever one of the three differential locks are activated or when the vehicle goes into low-range gear.

Mercedes showed off the new model's much-updated interior ahead of its scheduled unveiling at the Detroit Motor Show, but more details have been released.

"The G-Class is obviously a money maker for them and it's an icon, so at this juncture it makes complete sense" to give it a makeover, said Tim Urquhart, a London-based analyst with IHS Automotive.

The stronger all-round performance will be helped by the fact that the new auto is 170kg lighter than the old model, while the body is also stiffer, which helps to improve refinement and safety. Front and rear legroom, shoulder room and elbow room have all been improved.

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The new G-Class will arrive in the United Kingdom in August in Mercedes-AMG G63 guise, which is the most popular variant sold here. Options such as climate-controlled leather seats and leather door cards add to the opulence, but you'll still find the traditional grab handle in front of the front passenger, just in case an aggressive kerb mount outside Harrods should be necessary. However, the styling is subtly sleeker than any previous G-Wagen. The raising of the axles has helped improve ground clearance to 241mm, up 6mm.

Up to five driving modes are now available for the G-Class.

With the new G-Class already revealed, expect to the more powerful AMG version to follow soon after. Mercedes has retained the three locking differentials, but engineers made the truck more on-road-friendly with a double-wishbone independent front suspension.

Carried over on the new G 550 unveiled here is a twin-turbo 4.0L gasoline V-8 generating 416 hp and peak torque of 450 lb. -ft. G Mode, which automatically engages when in low range or one of the three diff locks is active, also alters steering effort for maximum feel and control and changes shift points to minimize unnecessary gear changes.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa can't yet confirm local launch dates, but it will go on sale in Europe and the U.S. later this year.

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