Mercedes has officially taken the wraps off its latest version of the iconic G-Class off-roader at the Detroit motor show. These things don’t come along very often – this is just the third iteration of the boxy 4x4 since it was first introduced in 1979. 

It might look the same – conservatism is the name of the game here – but in fact just five parts remain from the previous car, with much of the G-Class redesigned to allow for improved technology future-proof the car for another decade or so.

‘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. Our longest-serving model series is therefore ideally equipped to continue its success story. In short, the new “G” is still a “G”, only better,’ said Ola Källenius, head of R&D at Mercedes. 

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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Upgraded interior

We got a look at the interior of the car back in December – it’s more spacious, more comfortable and more modern, taking on the Mercedes dashboard design that has become familiar from the S-Class down to the E-Class and shortly the new A-Class hatchback. Legroom in the front has increased by 38mm and in the rear by 150mm, making the G a better prospect for passengers. 

Everything else will be familiar to anyone who’s driven the previous G-Class or another car from the Mercedes range. As well as the dashboard, the infotainment system has been ported over from elsewhere too. 

As well as being slightly longer and wider, the new G-Class has been completely reworked on an aluminium and steel chassis, which contributes to what Mercedes says is a 170kg reduction in weight. The new G is set to be built at engineering firm Magna Steyr’s facility in Austria.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Engines and specs

It's still a case of 'watch this space' for the official UK specification of the new G-Class. Prices for the new car in the UK have yet to be confirmed, but Mercedes says that they will remain at around the same level as the previous car.

Likewise the UK engine lineup has yet to be firmed up – the launch car is a G500 that’s fitted with a 4-litre V8 diesel offering 25.5mpg and 263g/km CO2. A nine-speed automatic transmission with torque converter has been deployed to fit the bill of comfortable on-roader and devastating off-roader. 

Still solid off-road

Mercedes has released the G-Class’s off-road stats. The company says that the rear spring jounce of 82mm and rebound of 142mm plus ground clearance of 241mm to the rear axle gear help to ensure a safe ride even in extreme situations. Ground clearance at the front is 270mm. The impressive numbers continue:

  • Slope climbing ability of up to 45 degrees on suitable surfaces
  • Ground clearance between axles, increased by 6mm to 241mm
  • Maximum fording depth is now 700mm when driving through water and mud – a 100mm improvement
  • Stable at tilt angles of 35 degrees, a 7-degree improvement
  • Angle of departure: 30 degrees, angle of approach: 31 degrees, a 1-degree improvement
  • Break-over angle: 26 degrees, a 1-degree improvement

Gallery: 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class