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New 2018 Mercedes G-Class: SUV revealed with mix of old and new

New 2018 Mercedes G-Class: SUV revealed with mix of old and new
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Andy Pringle

2018-01-15 02:00

New longer and wider Mercedes G-Class SUV uncovered, with UK deliveries to start with the G 63 in the summer

Mercedes G-Class - front

After numerous teasers and leaked images, Mercedes has revealed full details of its new G-Class. According to the brand, the latest version of its iconic SUV is more comfortable, more spacious and more capable on and off the road.

What will be immediately obvious is that Mercedes’ designers have hardly tinkered with the looks of the company’s longest-standing model. The G-Class (also known as the G-Wagen) has been on sale in pretty much the same form since 1979. It enjoyed its best year of registrations last year; and uniquely, more AMG G 63s are sold than other versions.

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This latest model – which makes its public debut at the Detroit Motor Show – keeps many of its most famous features. That includes the characteristic door handles, external door hinges and the spare wheel mounted on the rear door.

What’s changed is that the new model is 53mm longer and 121mm wider, while the wheelarches and bumpers have been designed to look more like integral parts of the body.

The biggest updates come under the skin and in the cabin, although it’s a deliberate mix of old and new. Despite all the modern tech, some details are carried over, such as the passenger grab handle and the chrome-trimmed switches for the differential locks.

Traditional analogue dials are standard, but buyers can also choose an E-Class and S-Class-style digital display. Two customisable 12.3-inch high-res screens sit side-by-side on the dash, displaying most of the 4x4’s features. As with other high-end Mercedes, a rotary controller and touchpad-style wheel controls are used.

Thanks to the increase in size, there’s more space inside the G-Wagen. The front and rear seats have increased shoulder room and elbow room, while legroom in the rear has grown by 150mm. The seats are designed to be more comfortable and practical, with individual folding rear seats, plus heated, cooled and massaging front seats are optional.

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Despite all this, the big news is the development of a new platform, although it’s still a classic ladder-frame construction. Thanks to independent suspension, Mercedes says the car is more comfortable on the road and more capable off it. The ground clearance and fording depth, as well as the departure, approach and break-over angles, have all been increased, too.

For on-road driving, the G-Class has the familiar Dynamic Select system that allows the driver to choose between various driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual – to tailor the responses of the steering, throttle and transmission. Adaptive damping is also an option; it allows for a ‘G-Mode’ that promises improved off-road ability, and is activated automatically when the low-range gears are selected or one of the three differential locks is activated.

The stronger all-round performance will be helped by the fact that the new car is 170kg lighter than the old model, while the body is also stiffer, which helps to improve refinement and safety.

Two versions will be offered in the UK, with the V8-engined Mercedes-AMG G 63 arriving first. The G 350 d will follow, featuring a new 3.0-litre diesel linked to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Mercedes has confirmed that deliveries of the new G-Class will start in the summer, but exact UK specs are still to be given. However, we’d expect them to be similar to those in other markets, where the car comes with leather upholstery, a seven-speaker stereo set-up and a host of driver-assistance systems.

Among the options are a 16-speaker Burmester stereo and the Exclusive Interior Plus package, which brings an even more luxurious cabin.

In Germany, the new G-Wagen sits at around the same price point as the current car, meaning it should start from just under £100,000 when it arrives in the UK later this year.

What do you think of the new Mercedes G-Class? Let us know below...

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