For four decades, Mercedes-Benz ruled G-Class at the top as a military-inspired design icon, very popular despite remaining essentially unchanged.
But now, as Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and other premium markets enter the market, the German car manufacturer has tamped the once eerie off-roader, with smoother handling on pavements, more shoulder and legroom and better cup holders.
Modernization is crucial for an aging luxury SUV trying to remain a status symbol in a sea of newcomers. For its 40th birthday, the G-Class received an extensive facelift, which only transferred a handful of items, including the exterior door hinges and prominent extra tires ̵
"There are only so many band-aid repairs any automaker could make on a vehicle design that was nearly 40 years old," said Ed Kim, industrial research vice president of market research and consulting firm AutoPacific. "A vehicle developed as a military Vehicle nearly four decades ago, struggling to meet modern expectations of riding, handling and refinement. "
It's important for G-Class customers, a valuable demograph that can easily afford to buy a rival SUV. Almost one-third of G-Class customers report revenues over $ 1 million, without a significant overhaul, Mercedes's longest-running production car will risk losing customers to other brands, as well as its cultural relevance as an ambitious suburb.
Mercedes is committed to The bid increases comfort, luxury and off-road capability will help attract new customers and keep old ones. Attention from birth, and retained Arnold Schwarzenegger to showcase on stage during the Detroit Auto Show SUV's unexpected luxury features such as mass seat seats and 64-color ambient lighting.
For its second generation, the G-Class draws power from a new 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine. Mercedes has improved its off-road skill with nearly 9.5 inches of free ground and a "G-Mode" that adjusts driving dynamics to handle rough terrain, from dunes to swampland. In the meantime, it is equipped with several of the same conveniences found in Mercedes & # 39; s executive sedans such as contoured leather seat and twin touch screen.
For the first time in its 40-year history, the G-Class has a good place to
Beginning at $ 124,500, the burly, 416-horsepower SUV is priced over Maserati Levante and most Range Rover models, but under Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce. Cullinan. The 577 horsepower AMG G63 variant starts at $ 147,500. Mercedes expects the AMG model, which takes 100 hours to build by hand, consists of half of the new G-Class sales.
There is a sum Mercedes believes that customers can easily recover. G-Class buyers report a median income of $ 712,500, compared to $ 500,000 for Range Rover customers and $ 225,000 for Porsche Cayenne buyers, according to AutoPacific's 2018 New Vehicle Satisfaction survey.
"For us, it's about keeping the G-Wagen modern than reacting to new competition," said Gunnar Güthenke, G-Class product manager, at Geneva's international motor show in March. "Many of our customers don't just have a car; they have more. There is less choice between other vehicles than a choice between other investments. "