DETROIT, MI: When it’s time to advance an automotive icon, the best advice is to build on its strengths which is what Mercedes-Benz did with the new, 2019 G-Class that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Looking at the new one, it hasn’t changed much in appearance since being launched in 1979 with a no-nonsense, square-sided, two-box look with such things as outside mounted door hinges that are carried over to the new model. But the body was not untouched with the new G-Class being 53 mm longer and 121 mm wider.
Inside, however, it is as modern and luxurious as the current S-Class and E-Class premium sedans with features like the optional centre console display with two, 12.3-inch (312.42 mm) displays that blend visually into a “Widescreen Cockpit” beneath a shared glass cover.
With it, drivers can choose between three different styles for the displays – “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive” – and also configure it for relevant information.
Using haptic impulses and audible feedback from the onboard speakers, the driver can use the touchpad with controller in the centre console without taking his/her eyes off the road.
The rear seats can be folded 40, 60 or 100 per cent and if you want to jazz up the interior there is the Active Multicontour Seat Package various massage functions, climate-controlled seats, and fast seat heating, as well as electrically adjustable lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger.
But the new G-Class is all about going off-road where few other vehicles can and it starts with as ground clearance of 270 mm at the front axle. The G-Class allows slope-climbing ability of up to 100 per cent, ground clearance between axles now 24.1 cm (+6 mm) and maximum fording depth now 70 cm (+10 cm) when driving through water and mud.
For the first time, four driving modes are offered – Comfort, Sport, Individual and Eco including an available fifth function called Dynamic Select which lets the driver further adjust any of the four main ride combinations.
Power comes from a 4.0-litre gasoline V8 with 416 hp and 450 lb/ft of torque with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission with a wide range of ratios that not only makes driving quieter and more comfortable, especially at low engine speeds, it also contributes to reduced fuel consumption.
The power rack and pinion steering can be set to Comfort, Sport or Off-Road modes giving the driver more precise feedback.
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