Here it is: The all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class has leaked before its official Detroit auto show debut, and it doesn’t look very different. The biggest visual changes to the still-boxy SUV appear in front with a redesigned bumper, grille and headlights. Yet surprisingly little else on the exterior has changed despite this being an “all-new” Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
However, it’s a different story on the interior. Mercedes released images of the inside about a month ago, but there are even more shots now. It’s decidedly S-Class- and E-Class-like with the sprawling screen and dash layout.
The SUV will be wider with a 34 percent stiffer frame. But the most radical change to this still very old-school looking truck? Mercedes says the suspension is revised with a new independent double-wishbone design up front. We learned about the switch to an independent front suspension back in June of 2017, but it’s still a big deal since the G-Wagen hasn’t had an upending change like this since entering production in 1979. It’ll be more comfortable for everybody plodding around LA, but it leaves the Wrangler as the last holdout in the live axle department.
Powertrain-wise we’re looking at new engines, a nine-speed automatic transmission and new transfer case. We’ll learn much more about what else is new when it’s fully revealed on January 15 at the NAIAS.
The design philosophy of evolution rather than revolution is good; the chiseled beast of an off-roader keeps its unique persona. Jeep didn’t mess with the fundamental looks of the Wrangler for its big redesign, and thankfully Mercedes didn’t change much either. Whether the new suspension undercuts the G-Wagen’s hard-earned off-road cred remains to be seen; we’ll get back to you after we get some seat time.