Even with design dating back nearly 40 years to its 1979 birth, the military-styled Mercedes-Benz G class is still setting sales records.
Now with the most thorough redesign in the iconic SUV's history, Mercedes-Benz will discover whether a modernized chassis and technology-laden interior can push demand even higher.
The United States is the biggest global market for the G class.
The 2019 G class — introduced at the Detroit auto show on Sunday and slated to reach U.S. dealerships by late 2018 — is bigger, lighter and more luxurious. Almost every visible exterior and interior part is new. Mercedes upgraded performance in all areas: on-road handling, off-road performance, passenger comfort and telematics, said Ola Kaellenius, the Daimler AG board member in charge of group research and development.
"The new G is still a G, only better," Kaellenius said in a statement.
The beloved boxy design of the high-ticket SUV remains. G-class buyers, among the wealthiest and most loyal customers in the Mercedes-Benz family, are passionate about the SUV's looks.
They saved the G class when it was slated to be replaced by the brand's first unibody crossover, the 1998 M class.
Respecting that boxy shape while redesigning the G class was key, said Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG's chief design officer.
"You have to treat it very responsible, otherwise it wouldn't be a G," Wagener said last year.
In addition to the exterior shape, other notable design elements remain: the distinctive door handles, the doors' characteristic closing sound and the exposed spare wheel on the rear.