The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is the real deal. Forget SUVs, SAVs, SATs, crossovers, soft roaders and a variety of other vehicles people buy because they want to be seen at the wheel of a Tough, or should that be Tuff? vehicle.
The Merc G-Class is in a lightly populated class of large, serious, ladder-frame working vehicles. The current model dates back to the late 1970s, with several updates in the meantime so a new model is long overdue – and is on its way.
Mercedes is gradually passing information to the media, including details of recent heavy-duty testing on the Schockl test route on a mountain near the Austrian city of Graz. The 5.6 km route includes gradients of up to 60 percent and lateral inclinations of up to 40 percent.
Well aware that new G-Class will attract everyday drivers as well as though aiming to use it in tough conditions, both Mercedes-Benz G and Mercedes-AMG are involved in the design.
The new G-Class has a ladder-type frame, three 100-percent differential locks and Low Range off-road ratio.
Independent suspension with double-wishbone front axle and a rigid rear axle are used. The components of the front axle are directly fixed to the ladder-type frame without a suspension subframe. The rear axle is guided with four longitudinal control arms on each side and a Panhard rod.
High ground clearance and long suspension travel offer off-road characteristics of the G-Class that we are told are even better than in the outgoing G.
Ground clearance between the axles is 241 millimetres, plus 6 millimetres maximum fording depth now 700 mm in water and mud passages. Angle of departure is 30 degrees, angle of approach, 31degrees, and breakover angle is 26 degrees.
The big wagon changes to G-Mode independently of the chosen drive program as soon as one of the three diff locks has been activated or Low Range 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 gearshifts and ensures maximum off-road capability.
The Mercedes 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with torque converter was specifically adapted to meet the needs of new G-Class. The new transfer case is flange-mounted directly on to the auto. It is adjusted in such a way that 40 percent of the drive torque reaches the front axle and 60 percent reaches the rear axle. Permanent all-wheel drive ensures maximum traction.
Interestingly it is possible to switch from Low Range to High Range at speeds of up to 70 km/h. The gear ratio of the transfer case is 2.93 and thus significantly shorter than in the predecessor model (2.1).
Prices and full specs for Australian G-Class models have yet to be published, nor has an introduction date been set. Stay tuned.