First new Mercedes-AMG G-Class in nearly four decades is faster, tougher and even more capable — both off-road and on. Even Mercedes-Benz has struggled to comprehend the success of its G-Class, the hard-core SUV that time couldn’t kill. Despite nudging 40 years in existence, the iconic G-Wagon has never been more popular. The 2018 G-Wagon oozes clever engineering and, its more front sophisticated suspension actually allowed engineers to increase ground clearance to 241mm.
Much to the chagrin of the man in charge of replacing Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV icon, the all-new 2018 generation was developed internally under the original’s ‘W463’ model code.
In reality, just five parts carry over from the old G-Class model line-up — the headlight washers, door-handles, rear wheel cover, tow hook and the interior sun visors. The rest have been painstakingly developed from scratch, or pinched from passenger vehicles like the E-Class.
Engineers tackled weight. Despite being longer (+209mm), significantly wider (+224mm) and a little taller (+15mm), the new car — on average — is 170kg lighter than before.

Under the skin
At the rear of the G-Wagon a new five-link suspension promises more wheel articulation and control, and as well as more sophisticated new suspension, the low-tech ladder frame chassis has also been stiffened up by around 55 per cent, with huge flex-defying braces.

The 2018 G-Wagon comes equipped with just two engines. Mercedes-AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre petrol V8 produces a healthy 460kW/850Nm in the G 63 and arrives in Australia first, in August.

Following it later on is a less powerful 2.9-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel that is likely to be badged the ‘G 350d’ when it arrives in Australia at the end of this year.

In other markets, a less powerful 310kW/610Nm G 500 V8 is also available, but since it shares the same turbo V8 as the AMG model, it may not be offered Down Under.

Whatever the model, it will come equipped with Mercedes’ excellent nine-speed automatic, a low-range gearbox and differential locks for the front, middle and rear diffs.

All versions can tow up to 3500kg, wade up to 700mm and tackle terrain you wouldn’t have thought possible on road tyres.

In fact, thanks to the sheer toughness, capability and engineering that’s been lovingly incorporated into the G-Wagon armoury, we’d be willing to wager few vehicles (unmodified) could go so far off-road, Jeep Wrangler included.

Classy inside

Climb into the cabin and it’s an eerie experience. Lifting its electronic architecture from the latest E-Class, the G-Wagon comes with the wonderful twin-12.3-inch virtual dashboard. It’s also pinched the classy turbine air-vents and, for the first time in its history, feels like there’s been real attention to detail lavished on it.

The level of quality now feels in the same league as an S-Class and most will love touches like the olde-world squared-off door release and grab handle.

That said, the tough-sounding ‘lock’ emitted from the central locking when you first drive away is enough to give you a fright.What’s missing is a heads-up display, but we can’t help but love the view of the squared off indicator lamps, making this big SUV surprisingly easy to judge in a congested city.

Space is much improved in the G-Wagon, especially shoulder room. There’s even finally space for elbows upfront while, in the rear, there’s a tad more legroom thanks to the 40mm longer wheelbase. Boot space grows to a decent 454 litres. 

On the road

Stab the starter and you’ll be in no doubt you’re in the G 63. It starts with a bassy baritone note, then a snarl eventually erupts from its twin side-exit tailpipes and turns into a hard-edge P51 Mustang howl (I know, that’s a V12!)

It’s addictive stuff and the G 63 soundtrack is accompanied by unbelievable pace, hurtling to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds. It beggars belief the first time you open the taps.

Top speed is limited to 220km/h, but if you ask nicely Mercedes will loosen its reign to 240km/h with the AMG Driver’s Package.

The born-again G-Class is finally the stylish, boxy, better driving, faster SUV.  Mercedes-Benz Australia is confident the factory won’t be able to keep up with demand and we won’t be surprised.

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Sourced Carsales.