All-new off-roader lobbing Down Under in Q3 2018
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The new-generation 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class has been officially revealed and detailed at this week's Detroit motor show, ahead of an Australian launch in the third quarter of this year - likely making it a 2019 model by then.

We've already seen the new G-Wagen inside and out through various sets of leaked online images, so the overall design doesn't offer too many surprises - though it was never going to be anything other than an evolutionary look.

Compared to the outgoing version, however, the new G-Class is 53mm longer and 121mm wider, which helps to give the all-new off-roader "greater presence", along with a more spacious cabin.

Externally, Mercedes-Benz has given the G-Wagen tighter panel gaps, a more integrated design for the wheel arches and bumpers, new LED headlights and revised alloy wheel designs.

The German marque is aiming to give the rugged off-roader a more luxurious look and feel - an approach that carries through to the interior.

Headlining the generational update is the G-Class's new-age cabin, which not only incorporates more luxurious designs and finishes, but also the company's latest infotainment and driver assistance systems.

Trademark features like the front passenger grab handle on the dashboard have been carried over, while the circular air vents echo the design of the vehicle's headlights.

Buyers can opt for the dual 12.3-inch displays which incorporate the driver's instruments and central infotainment system, borrowed from the E-Class and S-Class ranges - the latter controlled by the haptic touchpad located in the centre console.

Thanks to the revised dimensions, the G-Class boasts improved cabin space over its predecessor. Front occupants get 38mm more legroom and shoulder room, while rear passengers get a massive 150mm more space for their legs and 27mm for their shoulders.

Standard seating features include a memory function for the electric driver's seat, front and rear seat heating and luxury front head restraints.

Opting for the Active Multicontour Seat Package adds various goodies like massage functions, climate-controlled seats, electric lumbar support and active air-filled bolsters that fill or empty themselves to offer more support in corners.

Off-road is where the G-Class remains king, though, and the company isn't resting on its laurels when it comes to improving the vehicle's capability off the beaten track.

Retaining its old-school ladder-frame chassis, the G-Class is more than prepared for off-road expeditions thanks to three 100-per cent differential locks, and low-range gearing.

There's now 241mm of ground clearance between the axles, which is a 6mm increase, while the approach and departure angles are rated at 31 degrees and 30 degrees respectively.

Up to five driving modes will be available with the new G-Class, including a new 'G-Mode' - which is the dedicated off-road mode.

It activates as soon as one of the differential locks has been engaged or the low-range gear mode is selected, adapting the adjustable damping of the chassis and steering, along with throttle response and limiting gear shifts to ensure "optimum control and maximum off-road capability".

On the road, Mercedes-Benz has made the G-Class go on a strict diet and made numerous changes to make the off-roader more usable around town.

Some 170 kilograms has been shed through the use of lighter materials, while torsional rigidity has been improved by around 55 per cent.

The company says this helps on-road performance and dynamics, along with improved noise vibration harshness (NVH) levels.

In terms of powertrains, Mercedes-Benz is yet to detail the full range of engines, though we do know that the G500 will be powered by a revised version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 found in various AMG models.

Outputs of 310kW and 610Nm are claimed - the latter available from 2000 rpm to 4750rpm - though performance figures are yet to be detailed.

Drive is sent to the ground via a nine-speed automatic transmission, with fuel consumption rated at 11.1L/100km.

The new G-Class is now fitted with an electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering system, which allows driver-assistance systems like Parking Assist to be fitted.

Additionally, the new steering system uses less energy than the outgoing hydraulic set-up.

Launching globally in May, the new G-Class will kick off at €107,040.50 ($165,001.25) in its home market of Germany.

Australia

The new-gen G-Class is due to land Down Under in the third quarter of 2018, with Australia to get the AMG G63 performance variant first - which hasn't even been revealed yet, funnily enough.

Last November the local division confirmed the local range will commence with the AMG version, with the G350 diesel to follow later in the year.

It's unclear at this stage whether the G500 V8 petrol will form part of the Australian line-up, though going by the current range - which encompasses the G350d, AMG G63 and G300 Professional - the non-AMG V8 looks unlikely for our market.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for pricing and specification information in the lead-up to the new G-Class's Australian launch.

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