The company showed what the interior would look like back in December. We learned that it would lose its solid front axle up front but keep low-range four-wheel-drive and lockers on all three differentials a couple weeks ago. And of course we got a look at it from some leaked photography.
So what's left to learn? Well for one thing, the new G-Class, despite looking like the old model left in a rock tumbler for about 30 seconds, is actually very new. It's longer by 2.1 inches, and wider by 4.8 inches. That pays dividends in one of the G-Class SUV's weakest points: interior space. Leg, shoulder, and elbow room increases for both front and rear passengers. Rear leg room increases the most by a whopping 5.9 inches. And of course, as we've already seen, the interior itself is a much more luxurious, attractive place to be, while nodding to the past with the big grab bar on the dash and leaving the differential lock buttons front and center.
Despite the bigger body, the new G-Class is much lighter, 375 pounds lighter to be exact. This is because of extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum. The body is primarily made up of the stiff steel, and the fenders, hood and doors are made of aluminum. All those bits will still be assembled in Graz, Austria, and will be powered by the current G500's twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. Output is unchanged at 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. That power does go through Merc's nine-speed automatic rather than the old seven-speed unit.
As previously covered, while the G-Class retains a separate frame, selectable four-wheel-drive with low-range, and locking front, center, and rear differentials, it's been thoroughly modernized. The solid front-axle is gone in favor of a double-wishbone front suspension. This is sure to improve on-road handling, which will satisfy the rich pavement pounders from the city, but will likely worry off-road purists. Along the same goes for the move to rack-and-pinion steering over recirculating ball. Mercedes claims that off-road ability is actually greater with this generation, but we'll wait to try it ourselves. Maybe some of the credit goes to the "G-Mode" driving setting. This off-road oriented mode adjusts the shocks, steering, throttle, and reduces shifting for more controllable off-roading. It activates when low-range is selected or one of the differentials is locked.
Pricing for the big Mercedes has yet to be announced. But it will be arriving at dealerships toward the end of 2018.