2015 Mercedes-AMG G63 review
- Aug 17, 2015
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It seemed like Mercedes was pushing its luck with the G Wagen - but with several last hurrahs, in the form of the Maybach G 650 Landaulet and the G 500 4×4², the W463 G-Class was finally put out to pasture in 2017. Fast forward to 2018 and in a star-studded event on the eve of the Detroit Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new ‘W464’ G-Class.
It had to be done. The pressure to conform with stricter safety and emission norms was becoming too much for a 39-year old platform to handle. But in its bid to make the G-Class better in every way, Mercedes-Benz also had to make sure that it didn’t take away the things that made the SUV so popular in the first place.
The looks were important. There is something about the old school squared-out look that makes people weak in their knees - even though they may not admit it. The new Mercedes-Benz G-Class is now 53mm longer and 121mm wider than before. This has led to a massive improvement in interior space and also on-road handling.
But the design has been adapted to mask this increase in size. In fact, if it were not for some modern elements like the all-LED headlamps and taillamps, softer edges, modern ORVMs and tighter body panels, it would be difficult to tell this apart from the previous model.
The new G-Wagen has all the iconic design features from the older model - the pull-type door handles, the door hinges on the outside, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the separate indicators placed beside the bonnet.
Inside though, the G-Class is almost as far removed from the previous model as possible. The increase in exterior dimensions has certainly helped the interior feel more spacious, but Mercedes has repackaged it to be even more luxurious than before as well. Every bit of the new G-Class’ interior is hand-finished, from the luxurious leathers to the fine fabric and the metal and plastic trim.
The AC vents mimic the LED headlamps with their circular design, while the dashboard-mounted speakers mimic the front indicators. The passenger grab-handle on the dashboard is now coated in leather and fine plastic trim, while the signature buttons for the three differential locks take centre stage between the centre AC vents.
While the photos here showcase the optionally available twin 12.3-inch digital displays for the instrument cluster and centre infotainment system, these won’t be offered as standard. Fans of the classic G-Class may rejoice upon knowing that the new SUV will also be offered with circular analogue dials in the instrument cluster as standard, while the infotainment screen is neatly integrated into the centre console. Choose to go for the all-digital display though, and you can enjoy a whole lot of adjustable screens.
Mercedes’ touch-based multimedia input device on the lower centre console is offered as standard on the new G-Class. The combination of the touchpad, rotary selector and dedicated buttons allows users to access the many functions of the infotainment system easily.
The increased interior space has also made room for better seats all around. Electrically adjustable drivers’ seat with memory function, heated front and rear seats, luxury head restraints at the front are offered as standard. Pay a bit more and the new G-Class can be had with ‘Active multi-contoured’ seats that add massage functionality, climate control, adjustable lumbar support and active bolsters to the front seats. The rear seats can be folded in a 40:20:40 split for optimally using the available luggage space.
The new G-Class is built on a ladder-frame chassis, unlike many modern versions of iconic SUVs. But Mercedes-Benz has had to work extensively on the chassis and its components to make it better than its predecessor in every way and get the best balance between on-road handling and off-road capability without compromising on either. A 170kg reduction in overall weight has also helped with ride and handling.
Also Read: A green hulk of a G-Wagen reviewed!
Modern tech added to the new G include a rack-and-pinion steering, independent front suspension, adjustable dampers and adjustable driving modes. The G-Class keeps the three separate differential locks, a low-range gear reduction and a rigid axle at the rear from the previous model - though all of them have been modified.
Adding independent suspension at the front has given the G-Class better on-road manners, but they do not hinder the SUV’s off-road capabilities. In fact, the new G-Class has increased water wading capability, better ground clearance and better approach/breakover/departure angles than the model it replaces! The rack-and-pinion steering allows for the addition of electric power steering, whose feedback can be changed with just the press of a button.
That press of a button can change the G-Class’ character to one of four - Eco, Comfort, Sport or Individual. These selectable modes have been quite common in modern luxury cars, but the G-Class only gets them now.
The G-Class sets itself apart with its ‘G-Mode’ though. Select any of the three differential locks or the low-range gear and the G-Class transforms itself into the terrain dominator it was always designed to be. The throttle response, transmission changes, suspension damping and others are controlled to offer the smoothest driving experience over the most difficult terrain, Mercedes-Benz claims.
For now, Mercedes-Benz has only revealed the G 500 version of the new G-Class. This is powered by a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 petrol engine developing 422PS of maximum power and 610Nm of peak torque from as low as 2,000rpm. Paired with this is a new 9-speed automatic transmission, specially tuned to conform to the off-road duties the G-Class is supposed to be capable of.
The new Mercedes-Benz G-Class will be available in many countries from June 2018, with prices in Germany starting from €107,040.50 (Rs 83.77 lakh, without taxes). There are no confirmed reports about when it will be launched in India, but considering its popularity here, Mercedes-Benz could launch it sooner than later. When launched, the G-Class will not have a direct rival since the only other hardcore old-school off-roader that could match up to it - the Land Rover Defender - has been discontinued. Its price (around the Rs 2 crore mark) could put it up against the likes of the Range Rover, Lexus LX and the Porsche Cayenne.
Mercedes-Benz could showcase the new G-Class at the Auto Expo 2018. Here's a lineup of all the cars Mercedes-Benz will showcase at the Auto Expo 2018.
2015 Mercedes-AMG G63 review
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