Mercedes-Benz's New G-Class Still an OG Off-Road

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class; Manufacturer images

CARS.COM — Hot on the heels of Jeep's Wrangler redesign comes the redesign of another off-road icon: the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. And, like the Wrangler, the G-Class sees minimal updates to its appearance while gaining a host of improvements under the skin.

Related: Mercedes-Benz G-Class: Still a G Thing, Now With S-Class Cabin

Every generation of G-Wagen is tested on the Schöckl, a mountain near Graz in Austria. The luxury SUV's latest incarnation had no issues traversing the mountain track, thanks to a host of off-roading tricks up its sleeves. The basics, however, are worth noting first, including:

  • Ground clearance of nearly 9.5 inches
  • The ability to ford water up to nearly 28 inches deep, 4 inches more than the previous generation
  • Increased departure angle of 30 degrees and approach angle of 31 degrees
  • Increased breakover angle of 26 degrees
  • Suspension travel spring and rebound rates of 3 to 4 inches both front and rear

Mercedes-Benz has taken those stats and added key features to make the G-Wagen even more capable. These upgrades include:

G-Mode

This automatic driving mode engages whenever one of the three (!) differential locks is activated or whenever low range is engaged. This adjusts chassis damping as well as steering, accelerator and transmission response to maintain stability and predictability. Sudden acceleration, unexpected gearshifts or wild steering movements are extremely unwelcome off-road.

New 9-Speed

A new nine-speed automatic transmission allows for a much wider gear range, including a much shorter low-range ratio. The transmission should also improve fuel economy, which ... sure? The G-Wagen will never be fuel-efficient, and it's doubtful anyone interested in one is worried about that.

Cameras!

Cameras are all over the G-Wagen, providing views of obstacles that would be otherwise out of sight and require a spotter. (Note: Using a spotter when off-roading is still strongly recommended.) As an additional bonus, the camera views include guidelines indicating the path and width of the vehicle.

Off-Road Info

A dedicated off-road page of the multimedia screen that displays important data, including height, steering angle, current gradient, vehicle angle, compass direction and differential lock status.

Even with all these features, 18-inch all-terrain tires are still an option — lest you think people actually bought these expensive SUVs with the intention of using their capabilities.

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