The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin

Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin

Long the preferred choice of Russian gangsters, hip-hop moguls and off-roading one-percenters, the Mercedes G-Class SUV has been an icon since it launched in the 1970s. Despite its undeniably cool looks, it still largely drove like a 1970s car thanks to modest upgrades over the decades. No more. The G-Class is basically all-new for 2019, and now we have official pics ahead of the Detroit Auto Show.

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Early shots are coming to us from European website Autobahn and other sources. The good news: it’s still a G-Class. Mercedes didn’t mess with the looks or turn into a soft-roader fit only for mall parking lots. It’s still unapologetically boxy. They didn’t ruin the icon.

Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin

The other good news: while the looks stay intact, from what we understand everything else on the G-Class has been made better and more modern. It uses some structural elements from its predecessor but enough changes have been made that it’s being considered an all-new vehicle.

Mercedes says the new SUV boasts improvements like a new independent suspension with double-wishbone front axle, a new nine-speed automatic gearbox, a new transfer case and a bunch of other tweaks to make it a more effective off-road vehicle. The car is also wider than before and with a 34 percent stiffer frame.

Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin
Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin
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Then, of course, there’s the fact that it looks far nicer on the inside now, and more in-line with the rest of the modern Benz lineup while keeping some off-roading character.

I feel like between this, the new Jeep Wrangler and the new Land Rover Defender said to be on the way this year, those of us who enjoy old-school wheeling have some things to look forward to.

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We’ll see more of the new G-Wagen at the Detroit Auto Show in two weeks.

Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin
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Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin
Illustration for article titled The 2019 Mercedes G-Class Doesn't Mess With An Icon Except Under The Skin

Editor-in-Chief @ Jalopnik, 2015-2019.

DISCUSSION

matthewkeith
Land-Rover Matt

So Benz is going soft too, so sad but the way of the world.

“...independent suspension with double-wishbone front axle ... and a bunch of other tweaks to make it a more effective off-road vehicle.”

Independent suspension does not make a vehicle better off road, not compared to a proper long travel coil sprung axle. Sure, it unquestionably makes for a better on road vehicle but I’d be most surprised if military models as used by the Canadian and Aussie armies will have this.

“I feel like between this, the new Jeep Wrangler and the new Land Rover Defender said to be on the way this year, those of us who enjoy old-school wheeling have some things to look forward to.”

The new Wrangler does indeed look excellent, I’ll give you that but no way is the new Defender going to be old-school or even a Defender except in name only.

I think it’s just pathetic the way these companies think “Why did people love that ugly but dependable and versatile old bus? I know, it must have been the styling!! Whip up a quick pastiche of the old one, nail on a few shallow styling cues and we’re good.”