The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, or "Geländewagen," if you want to sound fancy in front of your friends, is one of the most capable SUVs when the pavement disappears. And it appears the new one will keep true to the brute-ute's history.
Mercedes-Benz has given out a bit more information on its upcoming 2019 G-Class ahead of its debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, most of it relating to the car's off-road prowess. Its nine-speed automatic routes power to all four wheels permanently, with a standard split of 40 percent torque to the front and 60 percent to the rear.
A new double-wishbone front axle has its attachment points as high as possible to ensure the car doesn't drag on rocks and the like. There's a new solid rear axle, too, with four control arms on each side and a Panhard rod. The G-Class' adaptive dampers come connected to a new G-Mode that tweaks the suspension, transmission, gas pedal and steering when the vehicle ventures off-road.
Mercedes-Benz also gave out some proper figures for the number geeks among us. Ground clearance improves by 6 millimeters to 241 mm (9.5 inches) between the axles. Maximum fording depth jumps from 24 inches to 27.6. Angle of approach increases by 1 degree to 31 degrees total, and the breakover angle improves by the same amount (now 31 degrees).
Once you start tackling tough terrain, additional tech should make it easier than before. There's a 360-degree camera system that displays in high resolution on the infotainment screen, with dynamic guide lines offering an idea of whether or not you can fit that upcoming gap. There's also a special off-road screen that displays vehicle and steering angles, gradients, a compass and which of its three differentials are locked.
All this new information came with some shots of the G-Class in camouflage. From what I can tell, not much has changed on the outside. I think that's a good thing -- the G-Class has a unique shape among SUVs, and it's just as big a part of the car's mystique as its capability. Not every change has to be major. We'll see how it really looks in just a couple weeks.