G wagon fans all over the world dreaded this moment. How will the first new G in 38 years look like? Luckily Mercedes-Benz did not disappoint. He is back. The all-new G looks, at first glance, just like the old one. Boxy and full of character, far removed from the rounded crossover appeal of its competition. I am relieved.
It is much easier to design a new car, than to reinvent an existing legend. Handmade in Graz in Austria since 1979, Mercedes-Benz did the almost impossible. They saved the iconic key G elements: the boxy Bauhaus style, the characteristic door handles, visible hinges and protruding turn signals, as well as the unique sound the door makes, when thrown shut. Not to forget the reserve wheel bolted to the back door.
The engineers’ motto was clear: ‘The new G stays a G, only better’.
Their challenge and chance was to advance an icon technologically. The new G is 53mm longer and 121mm wider than its predecessor, thus gaining even more presence. The on and off road performances improved. This G actually goes in a straight line and the steering is precise. All three 100% diff locks and the low range gears were retained and the buttons are still clearly visible in the dash. The wading depth increased by 10cm and is now a class-leading 70cm. There are five driving programs in Dynamic Select: comfort, sport, eco, individual and (the new) G select (for off road use).
A mix of materials – doors, fenders and hood are aluminium, body is steel – shed 170kgs. The new G is still hand-made at the Austrian Magna Steyr plant, where the 300 000. G wagon was manufactured in the summer of 2017. And the new one will also be handmade in Graz. Mercedes-Benz South Africa will introduce the G 63 AMG first, followed by the G 500 and the G 350d most probably in the first quarter of 2019.
The legend lives and I can’t wait to take the new G on an adventurous road trip. I am glad he is back.
Mercedes G 63 AMG
Engine V8 4.0-l., bi-turbo petrol, paired with a 9G-tronic auto
Power 430kW and 850Nm
Top Speed 240km/h
0-100km/h 4.5 seconds
Cool driving shots of the new G:
Side by side comparison of 2017 and 2018 G 63 AMG:
More beauty shots: