Revamped Mercedes G-Class set for NZ launch in 2018
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Mercedes' G-Class luxury off-road 4x4 is set for a major revamp in 2018, with a new model heading to New Zealand promising improved performance, comfort, handling and safety both on and off-road.
"Enhancing an icon such as the G-Class in technological terms was both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time," said Dr Gunnar Güthenke, Head of the OffRoad Product Group at Mercedes-Benz.
"Each part and every bolt came under close scrutiny. 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."
In the new G 500 model, a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine producing 310kW and 610Nm of torque from 2000 to 4750 rpm will power the 4x4 through any terrain, coupled to a new 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.
While the G-Class's external appearance may not have changed significantly since the original in 1979, the new G-Class has bigger dimensions providing more room for passengers in both rows. The new G-Class is 53m longer and 121mm wider, resulting in greatly improved leg, shoulder and elbow room in all seats.
The roomier interior is also where you'll find the most noticeable changes for the MY18 G-Class. Numerous design features from the exterior have been transposed into the interior like the shape of the round headlamps, which is reflected in the side air vents, or the design of the indicators, found again in the shape of the loudspeakers.
A completely redesigned instrument panel features tube-look analogue round dials as standard. As in the new E-Class and S-Class, 12.3-inch widescreen instrument cluster is available as an option.
Interior hallmarks of the G-Class like the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chromehighlighted switches for the three differential locks have been retained.
Mercedes say a primary goal during development of the new G-Class was to redefine the SUVs handling characteristics both on and off-road. As a result, the new G-Class features raised axles with all-new front double-wishbone independent suspension and rigid rear axel, developed in collaboration with Mercedes-AMG.
The G-Class now offers 270mm of ground clearance and a maximum fording depth of 70cm when driving through water and mud.
Aiding the G-Class's 4x4 capabilities are five driving modes, including a new 'G-Mode' designed to deliver maximum control off-road.
The new G-Class's body has shed around 170kg, thanks to the use of 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.
"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," said Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
The MY18 Mercedes-Benz G-Class will launch locally in Q3, 2018, with pricing announced closer to the launch date.