Mercedes-Benz hosted the world premiere of the next-generation 2019 G-Class in Detroit on the evening prior to the first media day at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. The newest version of the Mercedes-Benz extreme off-road sport-utility vehicle, the G-Class design stays true to the original look and style, which has remained largely unchanged since the original 1979 model. Classic design elements that remain include signature door handles, exposed door hinges, body-side rub strips and fender-mounted signal lights.
On display at the entrance to Cobo Hall, the venue of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, sits an original G-Class from the first production year in 1979, dramatically encased in a cube of amber synthetic resin. As if the G-Class is suspended in space and time, the 1979 Mercedes-Benz 280 GE is entombed in a solid block of more than 44 tons of resin, which was created over a 90-day period as the block increased by mere centimeters each day.
Although exterior design changes of the 2019 G-Class may be subtle, the iconic SUV has been revised with new suspension to improve both off-road capability and on-road performance; an upgraded interior with available widescreen cockpit; a new transmission and advanced driver-assistance systems. The new G-Class is larger both inside and out at 2.1 inches longer overall and 4.8 inches wider, providing more interior space including more legroom for both front- and rear-seat occupants.
2019 Mercedes-Benz G550
The new G-Class will go on sale in the U.S. market in late 2018 as the G550, powered by a high-performance 4.0-liter biturbo engine producing 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque from 2500 to 4750 rpm. This same engine as the current model will be combined with a new 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive and a low range for off-road use.
Standard equipment includes three 100 percent differential locks for the center, front and rear differentials, providing performance in extreme conditions. DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes now include a G-mode for off-road use. DYNAMIC SELECT modes are Comfort, Sport, Eco, Individual and G, and the modes change settings for engine, transmission, suspension, steering and assistance systems for different conditions. G-mode is automatically selected when the differential locks are engaged or low range is selected.
For improvement both off-road and on, the 2019 G-Class features a new independent double-wishbone front axle combined with a rigid rear axle. When designing the new suspension, engineers raised the axles — the G-Class now offers 9.5-inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 31 degrees and a departure angle of 30 degrees. Electromechanical power steering is standard with 19-inch wheels and an Adaptive Damping System is optional. Other options include 19-inch and 20-inch wheels.
Since its official debut on the U.S. market in 2002, the G-Class has always offered extreme off-road capability and a premium interior. The revised interior of the 2019 G-Class builds on that legacy and carries some historic design elements such as a grab handle in front of the front-seat passenger, chrome switches for the differential locks, and traditional round dials for the standard dashboard.
The 2019 G-Class includes leather seats, an upper dash covered in leather, 3-zone climate control, a steering wheel with new touch-control buttons, a 12.3-inch COMAND display, a Burmeister surround-sound system and acoustic-laminated glass. Interior options include a widescreen cockpit with an additional 12.3-inch digital instrument screen, multi-contour seats, ventilated seats with rapid-heating, a heated steering wheel, rear-seat entertainment, a wood and leather steering wheel, and Exclusive Interior Plus with diamond-stitched leather.
The 2019 G-Class supports a host of driver-assistance features, including Active Lane Keep Assist, Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist, Traffic Sign Assist and the Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE System.
Mercedes-Benz GLS Grand Edition
In the Motor City Mercedes-Benz also debuted a new Grand Edition of the GLS-Class, with luxurious interiors and exclusive components for both the GLS450 4MATIC and the GLS550 4MATIC. The interior features Porcelain and Espresso Brown with designo Nappa leather seats, open pore brown ash trim with light stripes and a Nappa leather dashboard. The Grand Edition on the GLS450 4MATIC features 20-inch 10-spoke two-tone wheels and an advanced LED Intelligent Light System, while the GLS550 4MATIC Grand Edition includes 21-inch wheels and Active LED headlamps. The Grand Edition is a $6,000 option on the GLS450 4MATIC and $3,200 on the GLS550 4MATIC.