Mercedes G-Class revamp brings hybrid power and touchscreen

The Mercedes G-Class range has been fully electrified as part of a substantial update that also includes a range of measures to improve both usability and efficiency.

The current generation of the hugely capable off-roader was launched in 2018, and will shortly gain a full-electric variant for the first time. As part of the facelift, Mercedes-AMG has also made substantial revisions to the G63.

The entry-level model will continue to use a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel, although it is now mated to a 48V mild hybrid integrated starter generator (ISG). That lifts power by 20bhp to 362bhp, while substantially boosting torque to 553lb ft – which is why it has been rebadged from G400d to G450d.

The G500 will continue to be offered in some markets, with its 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol unit now lifted to 442bhp and 413bhp.

While the G-Class looks virtually identical to before – “we fought hard to make the new G look like the old G,” said project manager Tony Mäntele – there are numerous small design changes to boost both efficiency and practicality.

There is a new front bumper and radiator grille, while the A-pillars have been subtly rounded off and a new lip added to the leading edge of the windscreen. The latter two changes are designed to improve aerodynamic efficiency and reduce interior noise, and were inspired by developments for the electric version. Through those and other minor developments, Mäntele claims the drag coefficient of the G-Class has been reduced from 0.53 to 0.48.

The front-facing camera has now been mounted lower in the front bumper so that it offers better visibility of obstacles using a new ‘transparent bonnet’ view – a switch that required Mercedes to fit a small auto-deploying washer jet to ensure the camera stayed clean.

Inside, the G-Class gains the latest version of the MBUX infotainment system – which means it gets a touchscreen for the first time – along with temperature-controlled cup holders and a wireless mobile charger. In another nod to practicality, the G-Class now features keyless entry for the first time; while a seemingly minor tweak, it required substantial work to install without redesigning the door handle itself.

The off-road ‘control centre’ in the middle of the dashboard has also been revamped to give easier access to key functions. What hasn’t changed is the off-road capability of the model: it has ground clearance of 229mm, a fording depth of 70cm, a 31 degree angle of approach and the ability to remain stable on inclines of up to 35 degrees.

UK pricing details for the revamped G-Class line-up have yet to be revealed.

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