By on January 14, 2018

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, aka the G-Wagen or Geländewagen, is an automotive oddity. The current generation rides on a platform that predates your humble author, yet it remains a favorite of celebrities from Beverly Hills to the Meatpacking District. It also offers up a level of off-road capability that few other SUVs do.

We all know it’s a niche vehicle due to its hefty price tag, and it’s cool in part because of, not in spite of, its flaws. Mercedes-Benz could probably let it carry on with minor changes in perpetuity. It could also kill it completely, and save for an outcry from the die-hards, the absence of the G-Class likely wouldn’t hurt the brand a bit. Remember – the GL-Class was supposed to replace the G-Wagen.

Full disclosure: Mercedes-Benz invited us to see the G-Wagen revealed in a historic Detroit theater that stands on the space in which Henry Ford built his first car. They gave us booze and brought Arnold Schwarzenegger out to speak.

Mercedes-Benz sells merely a handful each year, yet the G-Wagen’s cool factor compelled the brand to take the wraps off under the extra-bright spotlight of the North American International Auto Show – with an assist from the Terminator himself.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

“Redesign” has a different meaning when applied to the old-school G-Wagen, and it maintains many of its key aspects, such as a ladder frame and low-range gear. The biggest mechanical/technical changes include a new nine-speed automatic transmission, new independent front suspension, more interior room, an overall increase in size, and more passenger legroom at all seats.

It continues to three fully locking differentials. Power comes from the carryover 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque) and naturally the G-Class remains all-wheel drive.

It’s unclear if one can call this a full “redesign” – MB claims all but three parts are new, however the exterior design changes are mild and, as mentioned, the frame remains a ladder type.

The G-Wagen sheds 170 kilograms (almost 375 pounds) and MB says it can wade in water up to 700 millimeters deep, which is about 27.5 inches.

Asked about whether there’d be an electric version, all Dr. Dieter Zetsche would say is that since Mercedes has an electrification strategy, it’s a safe bet that the G-Wagen would be electrified in some way at some point in the near future (my guess: Some sort of hybrid setup, possibly a “mild” hybrid).

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’s sure to be a pretty penny. As befits a luxury SUV, standard and available features include sunroof, heated steering wheel, 19- and 20-inch wheels, traffic-sign assist, keyless starting, adjustable suspension, adjustable damping, heated and cooled seats, massaging front seats, COMAND infotainment, and premium audio.

In other words, the usual.

Up close, the biggest change is the much-improved interior. It will take an expert’s eye to spot the exterior differences – and Mercedes intentionally left certain notable aspects, like the turn-signal lights, more or less alone – but the interior differences are obvious.

The G-Wagen remains the same as it ever was: an expensive luxury SUV more likely to be seen cruising down Sunset than ferrying people to mountains with sunset views. This, despite being built to be superbly capable.

Mercedes still won’t sell many, but the brand won’t care as long as celebrities get spotted rolling up to the spot in G-Wagens on TMZ. Once again, same as it ever was.

Letting the days go by.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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17 Comments on “2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class – The Next Favorite Ride of Beverly Hills...”

  • avatar

    I want to know what those three parts were!

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    You never know when you might have to pull a tank out of a swamp on the way the grocery store.
    The people that drive these things don’t embarrass easily.

  • avatar

    Why should we care what car is favored by the useless tassel on the end of society?

    • 0 avatar

      Since America is made up of two kinds of people, that is millionaires and temporarily embarrassed ones, this kind of vehicle is of eminent interest to everyone there.

      Some can afford it now, most will be able to afford it some day once the trickle happens.


      • 0 avatar

        As is Deutschland, all the Escalades in Munich were surprising. There is something about both vehicles that attracts a certain audience. Wir habe geld! Wir sind geil! Sometimes money and taste are mutually exclusive.

    • 0 avatar

      How dare you insult the job creators!

      Its so we know who goes first in line for the guillotine.

  • avatar

    I’m waiting for the G-Wagen pickup.

  • avatar

    According to Autocar in the UK this will cost over 150,000 USD. I’m going to be interested to see how the USA takes to the new Defender which should be a lot cheaper but as tough looking as this.

  • avatar

    With the independent front suspension, it seems like they are finally softening this thing to make it better on road. This is a shame, but since 0% of new G-Wagon buyers actually take these off road, it’s probably a good strategy. G-Wagons were always miserable vehicles to drive on the road, yet buyers were able to forgive the shortcomings.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    For whatever reason I love to see these things on the road, if anything to people watch. There is an AMG version running around my suburban hamlet of Denver. It has, clearly, illegal window tint so you can’t get a view of the driver. My guess is a Bronco player as several live out this way.

    I have only sat in one, and to be honest, I was not all that impressed. It was an older late 00’s version and other than the typical MB up-fit in materials, really did not feel or look for all that matter much different than an Isuzu Trooper II from the 90’s. Rectangular and tall is all that comes to mind.

    With all this said I agree with the bulk of the comments that these are for the newly minted millionaires, I would bet the bulk are professional athletes. The old money from what I have seen sticks with the big Range Rover to display their wealth.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, the REAL old money stays with Buick, Toyota Avalon, Lexus, and so on. Unflashy, moderately expensive high quality cars that you don’t have to think about.

  • avatar

    I dislike the new headlights.

    The cabin is very nice and different.

  • avatar

    A few years back, I was able to drive an AMG G-wagen, and it was the single most frightening vehicle I’ve ever encountered – stupid quick and ridiculously tippy.

    Imagine LeVeon Bell playing full-speed with a three-foot-long 30 pound weight strapped to his helmet, and a BAC of .211, and you get the idea.

    I hope these things have SERIOUS stability control systems, because otherwise, they are uniquely suited to send whatever plastic surgeons or trophy wives are driving them straight into the woods, upside down.

  • avatar

    I live next door to Beverly Hills, can attest to seeing many of these every day in this area of LA…always slightly frightening to observe the AMG models roaring down the road knowing their handling is akin to an 18-wheeler.

  • avatar

    i not a celebrity nor real that rich, but I am drawn to this new G Class vehicle! Is it wise to spend around $150K on a vehicle that met for going off-road but use it only for driving around town? Absolutely! It looks real COOL! Will I buy one? If I do, it would have to be a brand new one! Because it not a high volume vehicle, you have to place an order for it. There are only 31 colors to choice from; and if do not like any, you can request a “custom” color that you supply! I am very tempted!

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