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2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: From Military Vehicle To Celebrity Ride

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: From Military Vehicle To Celebrity Ride

July 26, 2018

Today, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a recognizable status symbol, driven by A-listers worldwide. An appealing combination of luxury, performance, and off-road capability, it boasts a six-figure price tag, and an image to match.

Mercedes-Benz recently revealed an all-new version of this iconic vehicle. It will debut as a 2019 model. This is the first completely new version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class since it first went into production in 1975.

A Short History Of The Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The G-Class did not start as a symbol of wealth and privilege. It began, back in the 1970s, as the Geländewagen, which means “cross country vehicle” in German. This vehicle was the result of a joint venture with Austrian companies Steyr and Puch.

The Geländewagen, or G-Wagen, was a bare-bones military vehicle, unloved by Mercedes-Benz dealers and their customers. It was built in Austria, not Germany. It came only with a four-cylinder diesel engine, and had no air conditioning or other amenities.

Then necessity became the mother of invention. The Shah of Iran had ordered 1,000 G-Wagens for his military forces. Unfortunately, by the time that these vehicles were ready for delivery, the Iranian Revolution had occurred, and the Shah was no longer in power. Mercedes-Benz now had millions of Deutschmarks tied up in 1,000 sales-proof G-Wagens. Something had to be done to move the metal.

Led by a young Mercedes-Benz corporate employee with a solid sales background and a passion for the oddball G-Wagen, a team of like-minded Mercedes-Benz colleagues was formed to promote and sell these unwanted vehicles.

High sales commissions and overseas bonus trips energized the Mercedes-Benz sales force at dealerships worldwide. German dealers built off-road tracks to demonstrate the G-Wagen’s capabilities. Sales improved and the G-Wagen became an established part of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. Over time, more luxury and performance features were added. It was officially named the G-Class in 1993.

The first G-Class vehicles came to the US in the 1990s as grey-market imports, commanding six-figure prices even then. Mercedes-Benz finally introduced the G-Class to the US market as the 2002 G500, and sold over 3,000 the first year. The AMG high-performance model followed, and currently accounts for half of all G-Class sales. The 300,000th G-Class rolled off the assembly line, still located in Austria, during the summer of 2017.

What’s So Special About The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class takes this esteemed vehicle’s established levels of luxury, performance, and capability to the next level. It is 2.1” longer and 3” wider, with a much more rigid body structure. The use of advanced, lightweight, high-strength materials has resulted in a weight reduction of 375 pounds, compared to its predecessor. It may look the same, but it really is all new.

Thoroughly Upgraded Underneath

An independent front suspension replaces the previous model’s solid front axle. This provides better ride, handling, steering feel, and agility, both on and off the road, plus an improved 9.5” ground clearance overall. Streams up to 27.6” deep can be forded effortlessly. An electronically controlled suspension can be set to various modes, including a custom mode. It also automatically adjusts to “G-Mode” for off-road conditions whenever one of its differential locks is engaged.

Plenty Of Power To All Four Wheels

The G 550 is equipped with a 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8 engine that has 416 horsepower. The G 63 AMG version has a hand-built, higher-output 577 horsepower version of the same engine. Both engines channel their power through a nine-speed automatic transmission, then to a full-time all-wheel drive system. This system features a low-speed transfer case, as well as center, rear, and front locking differentials.

G-Class Drivers Deserve A Refined Interior

Inside the new G-Class, the widescreen digital cockpit display from the S-Class sedan replaces conventional gauges and controls. Modern driver assistance technologies are available for the first time. The superbly comfortable and multi-adjustable seats are covered in fine leather. Rear legroom has increased by nearly six inches. Improved sound insulation provides a much quieter ride. The cargo area is larger as well.

The 2019 G-Class goes on sale at US Mercedes-Benz dealers in the fall of 2018. US pricing estimates, based on announced European prices, have the G 550 starting around $125,000, and the G 63 AMG starting around $140,000.

Should You Lease A 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

Considering its high initial purchase price, leasing is an excellent way to drive the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Leasing gives you much lower monthly payments than if you purchased one. You also benefit from having full warranty coverage for the entire term of your lease contract. Just add some wear-and-tear insurance, and enjoy the outstanding off-road performance that comes standard on the G-Class!