Accompanied by photos of a camouflaged 2019 G-Class traversing Austria's Schõckl Mountain test track, Mercedes confirmed that the new G will maintain a ladder-type frame, three 100-percent differential locks and a low range ratio. However, despite keeping a solid rear axle, it now has an independent suspension with double wishbones up front. To achieve high ground clearance with double wishbones, engineers directly fixed them to the ladder frame without a suspension subframe and utilized special attachment points to achieve the highest possible mounting. The new rear axle, meanwhile, gains four longitudinal controls arms and a Panhard rod. In essence, all of this is saying, "The new G-Class will still be a monster off-road, but it will no longer drive like an Army transport from 1978 on road." We'll see.
There will also be a new "G-Mode," which engages automatically as soon as one of the three differential locks is engaged or low range is selected. G-Mode adapts the adjustable damping, steering, throttle and transmission, much as other adjustable vehicle settings might. This isn't really new tech — far from it — but it's definitely new to ye olde G Wagen.
Another revelation is that the G-Class gets its own variation of Mercedes' familiar nine-speed automatic transmission. It gets its own software and a wider transmission ratio for quieter, more comfortable driving and a reduction in fuel consumption. It is mounted to a new transfer case that in normal driving sends 40 percent of the torque to front axle and 60 percent to the rear. All-wheel drive is permanently engaged. Low range is engaged by a switch and can operate at speeds up to 40 km/h. The gear ratio changes from 1.00 in high range to 2.93. The previous G was considerably shorter at 2.1.
Finally, like Land Rover's many luxury-lined off-roaders, the new G-Class will feature a 360-degree off-roading camera plus readouts that indicate ride height, gradient, angle, steering angle, a compass and the differential locks that have been activated.
Look for even more info to be released as we get closer to its full reveal in Detroit.