The legendary G-Class, which was originally conceived as a military vehicle in the Seventies, has taken a giant leap into a new era — but critically it stays true to its unrivalled legacy. Launched this week in Dubai, the second-generation features the latest cutting-edge technology, improved performance and although the boxy outline remains, it’s now smoother and features a revised grille and headlights. It’s 53mm longer and 121mm wider. There’s a new front suspension with independent double wishbones (which replace the four-decades-old stick axle) and power comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 (it makes 585bhp in the G63) mated to a new nine-speed automatic that sends the grunt to all four wheels. A drive-mode selector allows the driver to choose from Comfort, Sport, Individual, or Eco modes but best of all is the “G-Mode” which optimises the throttle, gearing, and steering for off-road driving. The break-over angle and approach angle have both been improved too. Just a handful of carryover parts have been used (the rear-mounted spare tyre cover, door handles and headlight washer nozzles) other than that what we have here is the most extensive update in the history of the Geländewagen. Thanks to the bigger proportions, rear legroom has grown by 150mm while the old-fashioned dials have been replaced with a pair of 12.3in digital displays. It also gets Mercedes-Benz’s latest three-spoke steering wheel, an updated centre console with the latest version of the Comand controller (with the touch-sensitive pad that also lets you “draw” letters and numbers to enter an address or contact) and even has two cupholders now! The leather and stitching in the luxurious cabin are all cut and sewn by hand. The G 500 starts from Dh440,000 while the G 63’s entry price is Dh600,000.
A lot has changed but it’s still the benchmark for originality, ruggedness and luxury