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New Mercedes G-Class facelift retains retro design but gains electrification

The iconic Mercedes G-Class off-roader has been updated with a new range of powertrains and a subtly tweaked look

The Mercedes G-Class (or G-Wagen) has been around for 45 years now, and while its the second longest-serving name within the maker’s current line-up (after the SL), it’s only had two significant revisions in its entire lifetime – with the current car now getting a facelift for 2024.

Having arrived in 2018, the second-generation G-Class faced a monumental challenge to replicate the old-school charm of the original, while also bringing it bang up to date. It succeeded; Mercedes built the 300,000th G-Class in 2017, but just last year passed half-a-million units. 

Image is, of course, a big reason why the G-Class has become so popular. So for this new model, Mercedes has kept the exterior tweaks to a minimum. There are now four louvres within the grille instead of three, and the front bumpers include a new lower trim Mercedes calls a ‘squircle’. The A-pillar receives extra cladding, and there’s a lip on top of the windscreen for improved noise isolation. To the back there’s a new rear camera with its own washer jet. 

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Other markets will get a broader trim line-up, but the UK is likely only to be offered AMG Line guise, with a choice of mild-hybrid six-cylinder G 450 d and G 500 petrol engines. The petrol car is is more economical than before; Merc claims 25.9mpg, compared with the old V8’s 18.5mpg. The diesel has a 3.0-litre, straight-six diesel which also gets mild-hybrid technology. There's a bump of 20bhp to 362bhp and 50Nm of torque to 750Nm - resulting in a name change from G 400 d to G 450 d. The G 500 petrol gets 442bhp and 560Nm of torque. 

The AMG-developed G 63 is retained and sits on top of the G-Class lineup. It keeps a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, also now fitted with a mild-hybrid system. There’s 585bhp and 850Nm available (up from 577bhp), although the 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds is four-tenths slower than before. The new AMG ‘Active Ride Control’ is an optional extra with hydraulic body roll stability and adaptive damping which makes the G 63’s performance “more tangible” according to brand bosses. Michael Schiebe, Head of Mercedes G-Class and Maybach, says the new suspension “combines agility, driving dynamics and comfort. We are catering even more to our customers’ wishes; the G 63 is more AMG than ever before”.

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All cars will come with 20-inch wheels and a sports steering wheel, plus dual 12.3-inch screens – now fitted with the latest MBUX infotainment system. Physical changes include a new touchpad on the centre console, while keyless will be available on the G for the first time. 

Mercedes has looked to retain the G-Wagen’s legendary status and make the 2024 model even more capable off road. There are new ‘Trail’, ‘Rock’ and ‘Sand’ driving modes, three mechanical differential locks and the combination of double wishbone front suspension and a rigid rear axle. The adaptive suspension set up is now standard across the range. 

The ‘Offroad Cockpit’ is new as well. It adds key data for off-roading to the screen with things like altitude and steering angle, plus readouts for power, torque, tyre pressure and differential temperatures. The G-Class also gets a ‘transparent bonnet’, which works with the 360-degree camera to provide an unobstructed forward view.

Pricing will be announced soon, and while the current G-Class starts from just over £130,000 in diesel form, the new car should easily eclipse that. An electric EQ G-Class is expected to break cover in the coming weeks, providing competition for the BMW iX and Lotus Eletre.

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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