Almost no other model is revered quite as much as the G-Class, which has been driven across all types of terrain since 1979 with scarcely a change to its appearance. Mercedes-Benz is now venturing to do the seemingly impossible: reinvent the G-Class while remaining true to the original. It is still an authentic “G”, yet modern and innovative. The new G-Class very much resembles the old model at first glance, though very few parts on its exterior have been adopted from its predecessor, apart from the door handles, headlight washer casings and spare tyre cover. The vehicle is five centimetres longer and 13 centimetres wider, and its wheel housings and bumpers are integrated more closely into the body. The combination between the even sturdier ladder frame, the low-range gear reduction and the three fully differential locks allows the G-Class to handle gravel and 70-centimetre deep water more agilely than ever.
The robust ladder frame has been made even sturdier.
This is thanks to the 24-centimetre ground clearance and the elevated electronics, exhaust system and engine air intake. The independent wheel suspension enhances the driving experience while standard, state-of-the-art assistance systems, hand-worked details and features that live up to S-Class standards pampers the driver and passengers on the inside. The switching and response times for the nine-speed transmission are shorter and fuel consumption is lower. In addition to four on-road modes, there is now the new G-mode, which tells the driver that they are on unsurfaced terrain and adapts the vehicle specially to offroad conditions. No other vehicle promises the spirit for adventure with every comfort quite like the new G-Class.
Glimmering in gold tones, its size alone makes it impressive. But it’s what’s inside that amazes most. It’s not some million-year-old insect that the huge, amber-like block is preserving, but it’s steeped in history all the same: a 280 GE from 1979. Just like an insect in motion, the G-Class also appears to have been caught by surprise as it was driven across rugged terrain at full speed. The block measures 5.5 metres long, 2.55 metres wide and 3.1 metres high. It took 90 days to enclose the G model from the first year of production entirely in 44.4 tons of synthetic resin, with the layer increasing by three centimetres each day.
This work of art was showcased as Mercedes-Benz celebrated the world première of the new G-Class at the North American International Auto Show in January. Although this vehicle series has been continually enhanced and improved since its market launch almost 40 years ago, its original character has been maintained: an iconic design, robustness on off-road terrain and elegance on the roads. Its timeless aura is now preserved for eternity in the world’s largest installation of its kind. An homage that we can greet with a twinkling of the eye.