MOTORS: An Icon Reinvented
The best things in life just get better with age; champagne, stilton, whiskey and The G-Class, the luxury off-road vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, long considered a design icon.
What began in 1972 with a collaboration agreement between then Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in the Austrian city of Graz, the G Class was first offered as a civilian version in 1979 and has found a home on the driveways of gentleman farmers, heads of states, hip hop superstars – even the pope has had one! So enduring is its timeless style and popularity that it has even outlived its replacement – the GL Class.
Its external appearance has not changed significantly since 1979. Iconic elements continue to serve very specific purposes and to give the G‑Class its unique appearance. All these are still found in the new G‑Class: the distinctive door handle and the characteristic closing sound, the robust exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the prominent indicator lights. Extraordinary features like these combined with the off-roader’s angular lines define its special look.
“Enhancing an icon such as the G‑Class in technological terms was both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. Each part and every bolt came under close scrutiny,” explains Dr Gunnar Güthenke, Head of the Off-Road Product Group at Mercedes-Benz.
Despite looking almost identical to the original the new G Class the detailing on the car’s bodywork have been enhanced and improved.53 mm longer and 121 mm wider, more than ever, the new G-Class appears to be cast from a single piece. All surfaces have a more taut design and are have more tension, while the surface quality has been taken to an even higher level. This results in narrower, more precise gaps and more harmonious transitions. In addition, the wheel arches and bumpers form a more integral part of the body and thus look less like add-on features.
While the exterior maintains the iconic classic look, the interior of the G-Class has undergone a fundamental modern redesign.With its off-road character and luxury appointments, the G-Class has always combined two extremes.
Every detail is finished by hand with the utmost care.Numerous design features from the exterior have been transposed into the interior such as the shape of the round headlamps, for instance, is reflected in the side air vents. Or the design of the iconic indicators, found again in the shape of the loudspeakers. Hallmarks of the G‑Class include the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chrome-highlighted switches for the three differential locks. Both have been meticulously optimised and retained as characteristic features.
Thanks to haptic impulses and audible feedback from the on-board speakers, drivers can use the touchpad with controller in the centre console without taking their eyes off the road. The input options are rounded off by shortcut keys in front of the controller for frequently used operating tasks.
That extra grip from the seats may come in handling as the primary goal of the G Class’s dynamic redevelopment was to redefine the quality of the handling both on and off the road. Although already almost unstoppable off road, the new G-Class performs even better off-road, while on the road it is significantly more agile, dynamic and comfortable than its predecessor. The G thus remains a true G – thanks to its standard ladder-type frame, the three 100-percent differential locks and LOW RANGE off-road gear reduction.The revised dimensions of the G-Class translates into more space inside for driver and passenger. The seats are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions and are ergonomically designed but for those who enjoy their creature comforts the addition of the Active Multicontour Seat Package adds features such as massage functions, climate-controlled seats, and fast seat heating. This variant also offers electrically adjustable lumbar supports for the driver and front passenger. The side sections of the seat cushions and backrests of the active multicontour seats include integrated air chambers that fill or empty continuously depending on the driving dynamics, thus providing better support.
Up to five driving modes are now available to choose from allowing the adjustment of the vehicles engine, transmission, suspension, steering and assistance systems at the touch of a button. The four programs “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” can be set conveniently via the DYNAMIC SELECT rocker switch. In “ECO” mode, a particularly fuel-optimised driving style is possible, for example. In “Sport” mode, on the other hand, the shift points of the automatic transmission, the throttle response of the engine, and the parameters of the electric steering system and the exhaust flap are changed. “Individual” allows drivers to configure their own preferred vehicle settings.
Off road the new “G-Mode function comes into play independently of the chosen driving mode as soon as one of the three differential locks has been activated or the LOW RANGE off-road reduction gear has been engaged. This off-road mode adapts the adjustable damping of the chassis and the steering as well as the accelerator characteristic, avoids unnecessary gear shifts and thus ensures optimum control and maximum off-road capability. Add in a ground clearance of 270 mm to the front axle gear and the G-Class provides plenty of potential for off road pleasure seekers.
Find out more at www.mercedes.co.uk