“The new G-Class is setting the bar higher still in all relevant areas – in terms of performance both on and off the road as well as with regard to comfort and telematics. Our ‘longest-serving’ model series is therefore ideally equipped to continue its success story. In short, the new ‘G’ is still a ‘G’, only better,” stresses Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“Enhancing an icon such as the G‑Class in technological terms was both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. Each part and every bolt came under close scrutiny,” explains Dr Gunnar Güthenke, Head of the Off-Road Product Group at Mercedes-Benz. “With the body, our main focus was on increasing the vehicle rigidity and the connections between the suspension and drivetrain with the ladder-type frame.”
At the time of market launch in June, the G-Class will be available at an entry-level price of €107,040.50 (price in Germany, incl. VAT, or about £95,000) and thus remains at the level of the preceding version. The specification includes a host of new features such as LED headlamps, driving assistance systems, a high-quality interior with leather seats, and new suspension.
Mercedes says the enhanced design of the G-Class follows the philosophy of Sensual Purity and at the same time remains true to the character of the original. As a result, the door hinges positioned on the outside and the surface-mounted bonnet are carried over to the new generation. With the latest update, the new G-Class is 53 mm longer and 121 mm wider.
While the exterior maintains the iconic classic look, the interior of the G-Class has undergone a fundamental modern redesign which reinterprets the genes of the classic vehicle to reflect the exterior.
Getting in the G-Class reveals that numerous design features from the exterior have been transposed into the interior. The shape of the round headlamps, for instance, is reflected in the side air vents. Or the design of the iconic indicators, found again in the shape of the loudspeakers. Hallmarks of the G‑Class include the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chrome-highlighted switches for the three differential locks. Both have been meticulously optimised and retained as characteristic features.
The revised dimensions of the now larger G-Class benefit not only the driver and front passenger, but also the passengers in the second row. Key data at a glance:
|Legroom in the front||+38 mm|
|Legroom in the rear||+150 mm|
|Shoulder room in front||+38 mm|
|Shoulder room in rear||+27 mm|
|Elbow room in front||+68 mm|
|Elbow room in rear mm||+56 mm|
The rear seats can be folded down to 60, 40 or 100 percent. The seats in the G‑Class are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions and are ergonomically designed, thus providing enhanced seating comfort and lateral support. Features include the Memory function for the driver’s seat, seat heating front and rear, as well as luxury head restraints in the front. This comfort can optionally be boosted still further with the Active Multicontour Seat Package. In addition to the special multicontour seats, this encompasses such features as various massage functions, climate-controlled seats, and fast seat heating. This variant also offers electrically adjustable lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger. The side sections of the seat cushions and backrests of the active multicontour seats include integrated air chambers that fill or empty continuously depending on the driving dynamics, thus providing better support for the seating positions of driver and front passenger and, for example, offering more lateral support during cornering.
The primary goal of development was to redefine the quality of the handling both on and off the road. The G remains a true G – thanks to its standard ladder-type frame, the three 100-percent differential locks and LOW RANGE off-road gear reduction.
The new suspension emerged from the collaboration between Mercedes-Benz G GmbH and Mercedes-AMG GmbH. The result is an independent suspension with double-wishbone front axle in combination with a rigid rear axle.
The components of the double-wishbone front axle are directly mounted to the ladder-type frame without a subframe. The lower wishbone’s attachment points on the frame are positioned as high up as possible. This arrangement ensures good driveability beyond the asphalt.
Equipped in this way and with a ground clearance of 270 mm to the front axle gear, the G-Class provides:
- Slope climbing ability of up to 100% on suitable surfaces
- Ground clearance between axles, plus 6 mm, now 24.1 cm
- Maximum fording depth now 70 cm when driving through water and mud, no less than an additional 10 cm
- Stable at tilt angles of 35°, plus 7°
- Angle of departure: 30°, angle of approach: 31°, plus 1°
- Break-over angle: 26°, plus 1°
Thanks to the independent suspension, it was possible to improve the rigidity of the body front end. A strut tower brace, also known as a suspension bridge, now connects the front strut towers, which increases the torsional rigidity of the ladder-type frame.
At the rear, in contrast to the predecessor, the new rigid axle is controlled by four trailing arms on each side and a Panhard rod. This makes normal driving on the road more comfortable. In rough terrain, the rear spring jounce of 82 mm and rebound of 142 mm plus the ground clearance of 241 mm to the rear axle gear help to ensure a safe ride even in extreme situations.
DYNAMIC SELECT is now available with up to five driving modes for the G‑Class. This allows adjusting the vehicle characteristics in seconds at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the characteristics of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering and assistance systems at the driver’s behest. The four programs “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” can be set via the DYNAMIC SELECT rocker switch.
One of the prerequisites for the improved off-road handling characteristics is the new “G-Mode”. The G-Class changes to “G-Mode” independently of the chosen driving mode as soon as one of the three differential locks has been activated or the LOW RANGE off-road reduction gear has been engaged. This off-road mode adapts the adjustable damping of the chassis and the steering as well as the accelerator characteristic, avoids unnecessary gear shifts and thus ensures optimum control and maximum off-road capability. A small “G” icon lights up in the instrument cluster.
Using a digital prototype, the developers simulated the service life of individual components and closed systems to find out in which places it would be possible to make use of lighter raw materials. The G-Class has shed around 170 kg. The recipe for success: a new mix of materials comprising strong, high-strength, ultra-high-strength steels and aluminium, as well as improved production processes at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria. The rigid body shell is now made of a variety of steel grades, while the wings, bonnet and doors are made of aluminium.
It was possible to increase the torsional rigidity of the frame, body shell and body mounts by around 55 percent, from 6,537 to 10,162 Nm/deg. Alongside improvements to the natural driving dynamics and comfort, this also results in enhanced quality in terms of noise levels, among other things.
The developers have managed to reduce the shift and response times of the 9G‑TRONIC 9-speed transmission by means of a dedicated software application.
As standard the G-Class is now fitted with electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering, which now allows driving assistance systems such as Parking Assist to be implemented. In addition, the electromechanical steering uses less energy than a hydraulically assisted steering system. Depending on the driving mode, one of three sets of steering characteristic lines, namely Comfort, Sport and Off-road, comes into effect.