The redesigned 2019 Mercedes-Benz G class will get an independent front suspension for the first time to improve the rugged SUV's on-road handling and refinement. But the G class's off-road capabilities also top those of the outgoing model, Mercedes says.
The suspension in the 2019 G class — a double-wishbone front axle combined with a rigid rear axle — is the product of a collaboration between engineers at Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG. It provides more ground clearance between axles, increases the vehicle's maximum fording depth and improves off-road driving stability, the company said last week in a preview to the G class unveiling slated for Sunday, Jan. 14, the eve of the Detroit auto show.
Images of the redesigned G class leaked online last week, and the exterior design retains the boxy shape for which the SUV has been known since its introduction in 1979. The vehicle gets longer and wider, making for a roomier, more luxurious cabin than that of the outgoing model. Mercedes also is improving the SUV's technology, putting it on a par with the redesigned E-class sedan, which the brand touted as its most technologically advanced vehicle when it went on sale in 2016.
For the U.S., the base G class will continue to be the G550 with a carryover 4.0-liter, turbocharged V-8 engine. The automaker is expected to add a turbocharged six-cylinder engine in other markets. The transmission changes from a seven-speed automatic to a new nine-speed automatic with a torque converter adapted for off-road use that also helps reduce fuel consumption.
Mercedes sold 4,188 G classes in the U.S. in 2017, up 6 percent from a year earlier.