Mercedes-Benz has redesigned an icon, but it might not look like it.
The Gelandewagen carries on the boxy, brutalist styling it pioneered in the 1970s. But the rigid adherence to this iconic design hides some of the changes for 2019. Mercedes added more emotive headlights and a dark, militaristic take on the brand’s current grille design. It’s more than 2 inches longer and almost 5 inches taller than the G-Wagen it’ll replace.
Under that skin, the G-Class remains true to its hardcore roots. There are three locking differentials, a two-speed transfer case, and for off-road purists, only a single electronic setting for off-roading. Unlike a Range Rover and its bevy of off-road driving modes, the G-Wagen’s G-Mode traction control setting is all drivers have to work with.
But while this isn’t a big departure from past G-Wagens, the 2019 model’s new independent front suspension is. After 40 years with a solid axle up front, Mercedes says the new front suspension improves ground clearance while on the move, and along with the available adaptive dampers, promises better handling on paved roads and at higher speeds.
A 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 is a carry-over item, producing 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque in the base G500. It works alongside a new 9-speed automatic.
Mercedes went wild on the inside. There are two 12.3-inch screens available, taking inspiration from the E-Class and S-Class. One serves up infotainment and navigation information, the second optional screen takes the place of a gauge cluster.
We can even see cup holders. We live in exciting times, people.
Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced pricing for the 2019 G500 yet, but we don’t expect it to be available for less than $125,000 when it hits showrooms in late 2018.
For more coverage of the 2018 Detroit auto show, head over to our dedicated hub.