Mercedes-Benz will be defying convention with the next G-Class (known in Germany as the Geländewagen), focussing more on luxury from the ground up, rather than making an old toy more luxurious.
A new report from US website Autoblog appears to confirm what we’ve seen in leaked shots previously – that the new G-Wagen will have more in common with the S-Class than any of its other SUVs.
During a tech briefing details of the new G-Class have been fleshed out, with the car still retaining the ladder-frame construction it was known for – giving it a handy off-road advantage – but that is the only old-school technique used.
Why rehash an old theme?
Customers want the classic styling and potential to go anywhere, despite the limitations on comfort that it brings. And that’s why a lot of emphasis has gone into making it far more plush where they can.
The company is also facing a luxury SUV onslaught from BMW, Bentley, Lamborghini and to a lesser extent, Rolls-Royce. That’s why there are whispers of Maybach doing a LWB version, and of course, the AMG division will be fitting its twin-turbo V8 and V12s to the new G-Class.
So, what’s different?
Rather than designing the dashboard and then fitting in working buttons afterward, Merc has kept three buttons for the locking differentials from the old car, but built the rest of the dash around them.
There’s still a grab handle on the dash and A-pillars for when things get rough, but it will have 30 percent more torsional rigidity, helping reduce flex off-road.
It will also be 20mm wider (to help passenger comfort), will wade 100mm deeper and will get a surround view camera system.
And the engine?
Well, there will be a few. No doubt AMG’s version will come with the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 initially, but a G 500 version with a slightly milder tune will complement the 2.9-litre six-cylinder diesel.
It will be a straight six, too, so should sound quite good. And there’s also talk of a four-pot diesel as well. It’s going to be auto only, too.
It may be good off road but what about on the road?
Despite having more ground clearance, it should feel better, especially given the steering system will be an electric one, rather than the recirculating-ball set up previously.
Adaptive damping is the key to getting it to ride well, even with its off-road prowess – just look at how well the Range Rover Vogue rides.
It will get a longer wheelbase (150mm) and liberate more legroom, shoulder room and elbow room. You may not need to get a room…
You did say luxury, right?
You bet. A pair of 12.3-inch digital screens (just like the S-Class and E-Class) will feature, there will be less buttons, the materials quality has been given a boost and it’s a lot more minimalist in presentation.
The seats will be upgraded, there will be Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and it will receive inductive phone charging.
USB ports everywhere, and enough bottle and cupholders to keep the Americans happy mean it’s everyday transportation wrapped in a Russian Oligarch suit.
Look out for the G-Class’s full reveal at the Detroit Motor Show early next year.