Mercedes-Benz reveals details of camouflaged 2018 G-Class


In the lead up to the full reveal at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz has released details on the new G-Class as well as pictures of a camouflaged vehicle on the Shockl mountain test track.

Words: Robert Barry   |   Photos Mercedes-Benz
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Every new G-Class under development has to conquer the Schöckl.

Mercedes-Benz uses the 1,445 metre high local mountain near the Austrian city of Graz as a test track.

The 5.6 km route includes gradients of up to 60% and lateral inclinations of up to 40%.

During the development stage, a G has to endure more than 2,000 strenuous kilometres on this very demanding course.

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% 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 millimetre, 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.

Every G-Class has to conquer the Schöckl

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 drive-ability 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 partly even surpassed.

The new rigid rear axle is guided with four longitudinal control arms on each side and a Panhard rod which means the vehicle stays on track more robustly, and is agile and effortless in off-road applications.

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 as the new G-Class has a slope climbing ability of up to 100% on suitable surfaces, while ground clearance between the axles is 241 millimetres.

Maximum fording depth for the new G-Class is 70 centimetres in water, while the departure angle is now 30°, and the approach angle 31°, and the break over angle is 6°.

The front axle has spring/rebound travel of 85/100 millimetres, while the rear axle has  Spring/rebound travel of 82/142 millimetres.


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 programme 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 manoeuvre.

A 9G‑Tronic automatic was specifically adapted to meet the needs of the off-roader.

The developers have managed to reduce the shift and response times of the 9-speed transmission through dedicated software application and the wide spread of ratios not only makes driving quieter and more comfortable especially at low engine speeds, it also contributes to reducing fuel consumption.

The new transfer case is flange-mounted directly onto the 9G-Tronic.

While the G-Class has permanent all wheel drive, in everyday use the system is set up so that 40% of the drive torque reaches the front axle and 60% reaches the rear axle.

The low-range ratio can be engaged via the low range switch in transmission mode N at speeds of up to 40 km/h. It is possible to switch from low range to high range at speeds up to 70 km/h.

The gear ratio of the transfer case is 2.93, significantly shorter than the predecessor model (2.1), which becomes noticeable when pulling away on an extreme gradient.

All-round visibility from a bird's-eye view is possible thanks to the optional 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.

For particularly arduous applications, 18-inch all-terrain tyres are also available.

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