2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Debuts
When Mercedes-Benz first introduced the Gelandewagen in 1979 as a rugged go-anywhere off-road utility vehicle, few could have imagined it evolving into one of the world's most unlikely status symbols. But it did, and with that dual heritage firmly in mind, the all-new 2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.
This is the first fully redesigned G-Class since the original bowed 40 years ago, numerous updates and upgrades to the original notwithstanding. The new G-Class embraces its dual role of off-road king and on-road luxury SUV flagship with gusto. Under the new sheetmetal are three 100-percent locking differentials, a solid rear axle, heavily articulated double wishbone front suspension, and a new G off-road driving mode to help you tackle the most rugged terrain you can think of. But the all-new chassis is also tuned for comfort, and the interior is as luxurious as anything you could hope for. Put it together, and the new G-Class lets you tackle the zombie apocalypse in style.
Put the new G-Class next to the old G-Class and it's hard to tell the difference. The most obvious changes are to the grille, headlights and taillights, but you might need a tape measure to appreciate the full scope of the changes. The new G-Class boasts an additional 1.6-inches of wheelbase, 2.1 inches of length, and 4.8 inches of width. But Mercedes-Benz retained all the original's styling cues: Upright design, exterior mounted door hinges, flat glass, surface-mounted hood, and so on.
The difference is inside
Inside it's a much different story, with the old-school interior of the previous model tossed aside in favor of something that looks straight out of the company's flagship S-Class sedan. The instrument panel is a single sheet of glass housing two displays, one for the gauges and one for the COMAND infotainment display. A controller on the center console offers a knob or a touch surface with haptic feedback to control the infotainment system. The new air vents are supposed to reflect the shape of the round LED headlights, but to us they look more like the intake for a jet engine. The stitched dash, quilted leather, and metallic-finish buttons and switches are straight from the Mercedes-Benz high-end design book, and the company promises the "finest high-quality" materials throughout. On a more practical note, everyone gets more room, especially in the rear, where passengers get an extra 5.9 inches of legroom. The additional width means extra shoulder room and elbow room in front and rear as well.
For now, there's only one engine: a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque, essentially the same engine available in the current G 550. Driving all four wheels through a new 9-speed automatic transmission, the G-Class sounds like your typical modern family-oriented SUV. But the low-range, three locking differentials, and special G-mode off-road setting in the drive mode system means the new G 550 is perfectly capable off road.
Prices haven't been announced, but don't expect them to be lower than the current G 550's sticker of about $125,000. We'll find out more, and get behind the wheel, sometime between now and when the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 goes on sale late this year.
2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Exterior and Interior Pics
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