2018 Detroit Auto Show: The first Mercedes-Benz G-Class in 40 years

Auto Shows, Interesting, News | January 16th, 2018 by 21
2018 Detroid Auto Show Mercedes G Class 7850 830x553

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class (or G-Wagen or Geländewagen) is a sort of love-it-or-hate-it car. Some hate it because of its popularity with rich, Beverley Hills-types who know nothing of its capabilities and only drive it as a fashion statement, like the Kardashians. However, those who are in the know love it for its insane off-road capability, utilitarian looks and just pure badassery. Personally, I’m in the latter. I’m a big G-Wagen fan. For us folks in that latter group, it’s exciting news that Mercedes-Benz has finally released an all-new G-Wagen, the first one in almost 40 years.

1979 is the year the original Geländewagen debuted to the public and it was originally intended for military use. It was a serious off-roader, not something designed to coddle rich, famous-for-being-famous types. And it still is, despite the fact that the most difficult of terrain most of them will ever see is the gravel driveway of their owners’ Nantucket summer homes. To this day, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class remains one of the most capable, if not the most capable, production off-road vehicle on the market. And this new one, which is literally the first all-new version of it since its 1979 debut, is no different.

2018 Detroid Auto Show Mercedes G Class 1160587 830x623

Mercedes was wise in keeping this new G-Class’ design almost identical to its predecessor’s. While 99 percent of the 2019 G-Class is entirely new, except for things like the spare tire mount, it’s damn hard to tell it apart from the old model. That’s a good thing, though, as the G-Class has a very loyal following and its looks are part of its charm.

Changing that would be bad for business. However, it was incredibly difficult to make such a boxy, squared-off car meet modern crash and pedestrian impact regulations. So a big kudos goes out to Mercedes-Benz engineers and designers for being able to pull it off.

The new car looks great, with the same boxy ruggedness that it’s always had. Now, though, it gets flashier LED headlights and some nice little touches to make it seem more premium, more worth its six-figure-plus starting price tag. Inside, though, it looks much different. It also looks much better, as there’s far more luxury and technology than ever before.

The dash looks great, with those circular air vents and I love how prominent the three locking differential buttons are, showing that this is a serious off-roader even if it looks like a luxury car.

Under the skin, the new G-Class is all new. While still featuring an old-school ladder frame, it’s significantly lighter and stiffer than before. It does still have a solid rear axle (something off-road purists will be thankful for) but its front suspension has now gone independent.

Double wishbone suspension up front now allows a rack and pinion steering system, rather than the old recirculating ball setup, which is far more accurate and easier to live with on the road. Mercedes-Benz also insures that the independent front suspension is just as capable off road as the old solid axle.

2018 Detroid Auto Show Mercedes G Class 1160590 830x623

The only variant that currently exists is the Mercedes-Benz G550, which uses a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 that churns out 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. There will be hotter AMG models but they’re unnecessary and more just for the flash of AMG than anything else. If you want your G-Class to be a proper G-Class, the G550 is just fine. It would be nice to see some diesel models as well, though I doubt that would be in keeping with its clientele base’s image.

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Personally, I love this new G-Wagen. I think it looks great, slightly better than the outgoing version of the car, and its interior looks great, too. I love how Mercedes has kept it faithful to its off-roading heritage and hasn’t given it a unibody chassis or independent rear suspension. It’s been given just enough creature comforts to make it much better on the road while keeping it a beast off of it. Good job, Mercedes.

21 responses to “2018 Detroit Auto Show: The first Mercedes-Benz G-Class in 40 years”

  1. PK says:

    Timeless! It’s a good thing that they stayed with the heritage of it’s design! Love the new interior too! WTG Mercedes! <3

    • Pictor says:

      Too bad they went with IFS. That is NOT staying true to its heritage.

      • PK says:

        what’s ifs?

        • Pictor says:

          Independent Front Suspension. It helps the car be more compliant on the road but greatly limits articulation which helps keep wheels planted when off road in situations that have wheels and suspension at extremes. Think of what happens to the wheels when crossing a ravine – the approach angle may not let you go straight in so you take a diagonal approach. What you want is wheels on the ground at all times. As drive through the ravine you would have one front wheel in the ravine while the other front wheel is still on higher ground. As you push the vehicle through the wheel that drops will have limited traction. An IFS suspension will likely see the wheel ‘floating’ and not making contact with he ground which means all power on the front axel is going to that wheel (path of least resistance). There are ways to counter the total loss of traction but even with locking differentials now you have fewer contact points which limits traction. On a solid axel vehicle there is a countering level motion that pushes the wheel that’s in the ravine down and gives you better articulation and generally better traction. Here’s an example of a Porsche which is silly and a good indicator of a car that will not do well off road http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/porsche_100312780_l.jpg while another example of an older Range Rover Classic with what you want to see in an offroad vehicle http://peter.kutschera.at/LR/Bilder/Defender/2001-03-31-LR/100-0033_IMG.JPG Both those vehicles look stock. Off road performance has as much (if not more) to do with the suspension than the 4WD system the car uses.

  2. Ask says:

    Loving Mercedes Benz as days go by..
    Look at Land Rover brand now, no heritage, no soul anymore, just another rebadged Jaguar SUVs.

  3. Arunabh says:

    Even though i am not a fan of MB, I must say that they have been consistently hitting home runs for almost a decade now. There designs have progressed with times, their products have become more expressive, and they have done well not to let go off the momentum they have generated.

    Not sure the same can be said for BMW.

    • John says:

      I suggest you look at yourself in the mirror and ask what went wrong to make you the creature you have become.

      • Arunabh says:

        With all sympathy i just want to say this to you –

        ‘My friend, I understand how traumatic your childhood must have been and how unimaginably sick you are at this moment. But trust me, give yourself and the life you have got, a chance to improve. I am sure you will be a better man.’

        And the world belongs to everyone even to the dung brain like you. Just let everyone live their respective lives.

    • Icebreakerr says:

      BMW is always king. MB designs will be dated soon already is

      • Arunabh says:

        yep… i too think so..

        i am already tired of the banana side profile that all MB’s current sedans have got. But, you have the credit to MB for the jump that they have made in designs.

  4. Giom says:

    Having read the above comments, I can agree to some degree. But my first impression of this car is, they could have at least make it better looking. I know it’s not suppose to be pretty, but, this!?

  5. Marcel Lukačić-Marca says:

    This car reminds me of Chris Bangle. Bangle’s cars will look timeless, exactly like G-Wagon! Bangle, like it or hate it, was man who changed BMW forever. I personally think that Bangle best looking BMWs. Yes, there were some ugly ones, like first-gen X3 and 3

  6. PRADA says:

    This G-Class is Sexy As Hell! Much Well Done Improvement!

    24/7 Unlimited roadside assistance
    https://motorclubofamericaandcanada.com/home

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