• How Do You Drive a 2019 Mercedes G-Class Though Mud?

The thing you gotta keep in mind is that the G-Wagon is just as strong off-road as ever before

Mercedes-Benz started 2018 strong by unveiling the new G-Wagon that’s pleasantly similar to the old one. However, with its bigger proportions and a clientele that’s likely never to leave the asphalt jungle of the inner cities, you may be inclined to think that the new G-Class is a lesser off-roader than before, but you’d be wrong. Jessi Combs shows you in this video how you should tackle a mud puddle and, frankly, it’s very easy in this SUV.

The G-Wagon is, truly, an evergreen machine: the exterior looks almost identical to the original Steyr-Daimler-Puch-built version unveiled in 1979. The same rugged edges, round headlights, horizontal grille, and short overhangs. But, the new model is more luxurious, bigger, and more intelligent than ever before. Its Sahara-trekking DNA is intact, though, as it comes with permanent AWD and three full-locking differentials.

The G-Wagon is Still a Beast Off-Road, Although Most of its Owners Don’t Care

With the Land Rover Defender on the verge of a radical makeover, the G-Wagon is poised to remain one of the very last old school-looking SUVs on the market. That is, despite the fact that Mercedes presented an all-new version for the 2019 model year which is both wider by 4.7 inches and longer by 2.0 inches than the old one.

The increase in size came about as Mercedes wanted to make the G’s cabin a bit more spacious as this was one of the vehicle’s major drawbacks. But with the design largely unaltered, you’d expect rough terrain - be it gravel, mud or snow - to be no match for a car that was used by a number of armies and also was successful in the Dakar Rally.

Indeed, the new G-Class has an increased ride height of 10.6 inches at the overhangs and 9.5 inches (0.23 inches over the old one) between the wheels.

The approach and departure angles have also been increased by 1 degree to 30 and 31 degrees respectively front and rear, while the breakover angle is now at 26 degrees, again 1 degree over the 2012 model which was, believe it or not, an updated version of the G 463 launched all the way back in 1990.

How Do You Drive a 2019 Mercedes G-Class Though Mud?
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There is also the G-Mode feature that’s there to aid you when you go off-road. It engages once you lock at least one of the three differentials or when you press on the ’low range’ button, something you ought to do when you go off-road according to Jessi Combs whose guide comprises of five other steps. The G-Mode makes the dampers softer, alters the throttle response so you can modulate it easier, and also alters the way the automatic transmission shifts through gears. When going through mud, you should at least lock the middle and the rear differential, says Combs, known as the “fastest woman on four wheels” after averaging 392 mph at Bonneville in 2013.

The suspension as a whole has been revised, and it's now independent up front with a live axle still residing at the tail end.

Another upside of the new mid-size luxury SUV is its interior. As mentioned, it’s bigger, which means you’ve got more room to move about as you go over rough surfaces. The seats are also much more comfortable, easing the potential pain of going over rocks or branches. In fact, the new G-Wagon has gained 1.5 inches of legroom up front and almost 6 inches in the back, and there’s also more shoulder room (over an inch front and back) and elbow room (up by 2.7 inches up front and 2.2 inches at the back).

The model Combs is dirtying up in this short video is the G500 which is powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8 that is capable of 422 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm. With all the added luxury, though, the new G-Wagon now effortlessly sails past the $120,000 mark.

Further reading

2018 Mercedes-AMG G63 Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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