2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review

G-Class

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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Overview

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the most distinct vehicles on the market. Introduced to the world in 1979, the basic shape has not changed. The G-Class has gone through a series of iterations, however, bringing it up to date with current Mercedes-Benz powertrains, luxury, and technology. The latest of these comes during the 2019 model year, and it’s an impressive one.

The new front fascia has the same layout as before, but it is now characterized by a solid halo ring on each LED headlight, and an enlarged Mercedes-Benz emblem, opaque due to the frontal radar equipment it houses. Across the sides, the G-Class looks a bit more solid, like it’s crafted from a single piece. Some of the things that modernize the 1970s shape are thicker pillars and rounder window openings, new side mirrors, and smoother transitions from the bumpers to the wheel flares. The rub strips that form something of a character line now have more space between them as well. In the back, there’s more new LED lighting. Mercedes-Benz claims it was able to make concrete engineering improvements, such as shrinking the panel gaps for a higher-quality product and introducing a more-rigid ladder frame. Dimensions-wise, the 2019 grows the model by 2.1 inches in length and 4.8 inches in width.

There’s even more to appreciate in the interior of the G-Class. The old model, while always impeccably crafted, was quickly reaching the tail end of the luxury market in terms of features, but the 2019 G-Class corrects that. The driver is instantly presented with a large dash that incorporates dual glass-encased 12.3-inch LCD displays, one serving as the instrument panel, the other handling infotainment duties. There are three themes, Classic, Sporty, and Progressive; further customization options are available as well. Across the stitched dashboard, there’s plenty of satin chrome highlighting, and the differential lock switches sit front-and-center, as before. The touchpad for the infotainment system has been ergonomically relocated and given haptic feedback to enable drivers to manipulate it without taking their eyes off of the road. Occupant space increases in most categories, including a drastic 5.9-inch increase in legroom for rear passengers. Expect a whole host of new interior themes and colors, as well as new creature comforts. One interesting new option is the Active Multicontour Seat package, with improved seats that have self-adjusting air chambers in conjunction with the driving mode, massage programs, and rapid heating and cooling.

As far as the powertrain, the base G 550 sees a return of the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, with 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, the latter available at a low 2,000 rpm. The transmission, however, is an all-new 9-speed automatic specially adapted for off-road use. It has a much wider range of ratios than the 7-speed on the outgoing model. Four-wheel drive (4WD) with a two-speed transfer case is standard, and all three differentials, front, rear, and center, can be locked individually or in concert with one another. For the first time, the G-Class receives an independent front suspension, allowing Mercedes-Benz to raise the suspension. Ground clearance rises to 9.5 inches, up 0.2 inches over the old model, and the maximum fording depth is 27.6 inches, up 3.9 inches. There are four basic driving modes, Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Individual; each tweaks the engine tuning, transmission behavior, and stability control for specific types of driving. There’s also a new G-Mode, which activates whenever all three differentials have been locked or the transfer case has been switched to low-range. It commands the transmission to hold gears longer, and recalibrates the steering and accelerator programming for maximum off-road predictability. No mention has been made of the 8- or 12-cylinder Mercedes-AMG versions of the G-Class, which were most recently known as the G 63 and G 65, respectively.

The current advertising slogan for Mercedes-Benz reads, “The Best or Nothing.” This applies more so to the G-Class than any of the brand’s other vehicles. It definitely describes the 2019 model, which retains its title as the ultimate SUV and as a flagship for the brand’s 4x4 portfolio. Look for the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class to arrive in dealerships during the later half of 2018.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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