ICONIC, robust and almost indestructible – the new 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class has hit the roads – both tarmac highways and sandy surrounds in Bahrain.
I’m not sure what G stands for but I’ll suggest gorgeous and great as a couple of suggestions as I became the first motoring correspondent to take one on a spin in the kingdom.
I was joined by a chatty and charismatic Haneen Fuad, public relations and social media executive at dealership Al Haddad Motors, and GulfWeekly’s photographer and videographer Honey Shama, on the test drive.
Whether on or off road and whatever the operating conditions, this classic, starting at around BD50,000, impresses with its performance, cutting-edge assistance systems, outstanding handling and safety.
At the same time, the new suspension, the dynamic select driving modes, the ‘G-Mode’ and the three 100 per cent differential locks enhance not only ride comfort but also agility on any surface.
The specification includes a host of new features such as the LED headlamps, the driving assistance systems, the high-quality interior with leather seats and the new suspension.
The G-Class, the luxury off-road vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, has long been considered a design icon. Its external appearance has not changed significantly since 1979. This is a beast with style and comfort rolled into one glorious (there I go with another G!) package. Off-road sporty spectacular but just at home as a formidable, safe school-run sanctuary or luxury limo.
Iconic elements continue to serve very specific purposes, now as then, and to give the G Class its unique appearance. All these are still found in the latest version – the distinctive door handle and the characteristic closing sound (I LOVE that sound), the robust exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the prominent indicator lights. Extraordinary features like these in concert with the off-roader’s angular lines define its special look.
While the exterior maintains the classic look, the interior of the G-Class has undergone a fundamental modern redesign which reinterprets the genes of the classic vehicle to reflect the exterior.
With its off-road character and top-class luxury appointments, the G-Class has always combined two extremes into a harmonious symbiosis. Unmistakable at first glance and from the first touch, only high-quality materials are used. Every detail is finished by hand with the utmost care.
The revised dimensions of the now larger vehicle benefit not only the driver and front passenger, but also the passengers in the second row.
The seats are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions and are ergonomically designed, thus providing enhanced seating comfort and lateral support.
The vehicle performs even better off-road, while on the road it is significantly more agile, dynamic and comfortable than its predecessor.
Its dynamic select system is now available with up to five driving modes.
This allows adjusting the vehicle characteristics in seconds at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the characteristics of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering, and assistance systems at the driver’s command. The four programmes ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Individual’ can be set conveniently via the rocker switch.
It provides a host of options in combination with the new suspension with optional Adaptive Damping System. The driver is then also able to modify the vehicle’s damping characteristics in Sport and Comfort modes using the switch. Put simply, the G-Class detects the particular condition of the road and sets the appropriate damping characteristics, so that the damping in terrain is stiffer, for example.
In contrast, in Sport mode it boasts a more agile response when driving on the road.
One of the prerequisites for the improved off-road handling characteristics is the new G-Mode, of course. The G-Class changes to G-Mode, 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.
Our Haneen can talk the torque too and revealed that the new G 500 boasted a high-performance 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine ensures powerful propulsion.
The new biturbo produces an output of 310 kW (422 hp) and a maximum torque of 610 Nm at 2000 to 4750 rpm.
For the transfer of power, the 9G TRONIC automatic transmission with torque converter was specifically adapted to meet the needs of the off-road icon. The developers have managed to reduce the shift and response times of the 9-speed transmission by means of a dedicated software application. The wide transmission ratio not only makes driving quieter and more comfortable especially at low engine speeds, it simultaneously also contributes to reducing fuel consumption.
Most motoring analysts suggest the G-Class is the top model among luxury off-road vehicles.
It is not only the passenger car model series with the longest production run in the history of Mercedes-Benz by far, but also the forefather of all SUVs to bear the three-pointed star – this is why all Mercedes off-road models feature the upper-case G in their name.
In other words it’s the Godfather (couldn’t resist another G word) and everyone knows, you never mess with one of them!
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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