A new G-Mode will automatically fiddle with the settings to help the driver get through the bumpy roads with ease.
We are only days away from the official unveiling of the next-generation G-Class at NAIAS in Detroit and Mercedes has decided to ease the wait by dropping some details about the oily bits. Judging by the exterior appearance, you won’t immediately realize it’s the new one, but some significant changes have occurred underneath the boxy shape we all love.
Mercedes teamed up with AMG to engineer the suspension set to feature an independent double wishbone arrangement at the front axle combined with a newly developed rigid rear axle boasting four longitudinal control arms on each side. If you plan on taking the new G-Class on difficult terrains, you’ll be happy to know that ground clearance has increased by 6 millimeters to 241 millimeters, while the maximum fording depth is up by 10 centimeters to 70 cm in water and mud passages.
Like you would come to expect from a G, the new one continues to feature a ladder-type frame, three differential locks, and low range available at speeds of up to 40 kph (25 mph). A new G-Mode is being added and it is turned on automatically once one of the aforementioned diff locks is activated or the low range is engaged. What it does is adjust the chassis’ damping as well as fiddle with the acceleration and steering to boost off-road capabilities and avoid unnecessary gear shifts.
Another significant novelty is the adoption of a nine-speed automatic transmission (with torque converter) specifically calibrated for the new G-Class. Mercedes promises shorter shift and response times thanks to a tailor-made software, while reduced fuel consumption and a smoother ride are also among its assets.
As far as the transfer case is concerned, it has been mounted directly on the 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox and calibrated to deliver 40 percent of the torque to the front wheels and the remaining 60% to the rear axle. 18-inch all-terrain tires are going to be available, as will be a 360-degree full HD camera system to see all the objects around the G on the infotainment’s display. To help you out furthermore, the bespoke off-road screen shows off all the relevant info, such as the activated differential locks, steering angle, compass, gradient, and others.
Mercedes mentions the new G had to endure more than 2,000 km (1,242 miles) on a difficult test track located at Schöckl, a 1,445-meter high mountain near Graz in Austria where Magna Steyr has been making the off-road icon for almost four decades. The demanding 5.6-km route has gradients of up to 60% and lateral inclinations of up to 40%. As difficult as it may sound, “the new G-Class masters the route with noticeably more control and comfort.”
The North American International Auto Show can’t come soon enough and the first press day is scheduled for January 14, but we will have to wait one more day to see the G-Class.
Gallery: 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class preview
THE NEW MERCEDES-BENZ G-CLASS
The legend on the Schöckl: More control, more comfort
Jan 3, 2018 -- Every G-Class has to conquer the Schöckl. Mercedes-Benz uses the 1,445 meter high local mountain near the Austrian city of Graz as a test track. The 5.6 km route includes gradients of up to 60 percent and lateral inclinations of up to 40 percent. During the development stage, a "G" has to endure over 2,000 strenuous kilometers on this very demanding course. The new G-Class masters the route with noticeably more control and comfort.
The primary goal of development was to make the new G-Class even more effective off-road. 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 ratio. Its suspension is the result of collaboration between Mercedes-Benz G GmbH and Mercedes-AMG GmbH. The result is an independent suspension with double-wishbone front axle in combination with a rigid rear axle. During development work, the engineers had the task of fighting for every millimeter, because off-road capability also means maximum ground clearance. The raised axle with independent suspension decisively contributes to this, and additionally increases the stiffness of the body with a strut brace.
The components of the double-wishbone front axle are directly fixed to the ladder-type frame without a suspension subframe. The attachment points on the frame of the lower wishbone in a Z-direction are positioned as high up as possible. This arrangement ensures good driveability beyond the asphalt. Specifically for the G-Class, the new front axle is designed in such a robust way that the off-road performance and off-road capabilities of its predecessor are maintained and even surpassed. The new rigid rear axle is guided with four longitudinal control arms on each side and a Panhard rod. The off-road vehicle stays on track more robustly, and is agile and effortless in off-road applications.
The exceptional handling characteristics and driving safety on account of the driver's high level of control can only be experienced firsthand. The following figures, however, clearly show that every little detail to improve the off-road characteristics has been checked and optimized where possible.
As before, high ground clearance and long suspension travel form the basis for the further improved off-road characteristics of the G-Class. The figures speak for themselves:
Slope climbing ability of up to 100% on suitable surfaces
Ground clearance between the axles: 241 millimeters (+6 millimeters )
Maximum fording depth: 70 centimeters in water and mud passages (+10 centimeters)
Driving stability at angles of 35° (+7°)
Angle of departure: 30°, angle of approach: 31° (+1°)
Breakover angle: 26° (+1°)
Suspension travel: Front axle: Spring/rebound travel of 85/100 millimeters; rear axle: Spring/rebound travel of 82/142 millimeters
The new "G-Mode" paves the way where there are none
One of the prerequisites for the improved off-road handling characteristics is the new "G-Mode". The G-Class changes to "G-Mode" independently of the chosen drive program as soon as one of the three differential 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. A small "G" icon discreetly lights up in the instrument cluster. The G simply swallows up major bumps, and even in extreme terrain the driver does not have to frantically hold on to the steering wheel to effortlessly maneuver.
New automatic transmission on board
For power delivery, 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 also simultaneously contributes to reducing fuel consumption.
The new transfer case is flange-mounted directly on to the 9G-TRONIC. 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. The permanent all-wheel drive ensures maximum traction.
The low-range ratio can be engaged via the LOW RANGE switch (engaged when in transmission mode N) at speeds of up to 40 km/h. The gear ratio of the transfer case is then changed from 1.00 in HIGH RANGE to 2.93. 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), which becomes noticeable particularly when pulling away on an extreme gradient.
All-round visibility from a bird's-eye view is possible thanks to the 360° camera, the reversing camera and three further cameras. This means that obstacles located below the window line or in front of the vehicle such as a hill crest do not remain hidden. The information is presented clearly in full HD in a choice of different views on the multimedia system's display. Dynamic guide lines show the road and the width of the G-Class. In addition, the off-road screen specially designed for the G-Class also displays data such as height, gradient, angle, compass, steering angle and activated differential locks.
Furthermore, for particularly arduous applications, 18-inch all-terrain tires are available.