2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: A New-School Off-Roader With Old-School Charm [Video]

More power and more tech, but still monstrous off-road

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz G-Class is the first complete redesign in its 40-year history.

It’s still remarkable to think that the Mercedes-Benz G-Class went on sale nearly 40 years ago, in 1979. Back then, it was steeped in rugged, capable military roots. Since then it’s gotten way more luxurious and powerful, culminating in monsters like the AMG G65, with its massive V12 engine. Now, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class has been completely redesigned, gaining its “second-generation” distinction after the last major redesign, the 463 G-Class, took place back in 1990.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
2019 Mercedes-Benz G550. [Photo: Mercedes-Benz]
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class still has a body-on-frame construction. It still has a solid rear axle and locking differentials. That said, in nearly every other respect, the new G-Class has drastically changed from the old model. It does have independent front suspension, and it’s luxurious beyond the original’s wildest dreams. It’s also more expensive, starting out at $124,500 plus destination. Even so, you get much more for your money with this 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Under the hood, both the G550 and G63 AMG pack a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. The version in the standard model makes 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. Step up to the AMG model, on sale next year, makes 577 horsepower and a monstrous 627 lb-ft of torque. Both engines mate up to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The new model may not have a massive V12 at the top of its range, but you have to admit, the V8 still sounds pretty good.

Larger, but still capable

Not only is the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class more powerful, but it’s physically larger as well. The new model is two inches longer and five inches wider than the outgoing G-Class. Despite the increased size, don’t think the G-Class has lost a shred of its off-road ability. Remember, this is still an off-roader under all the luxurious trim. That means you still get three locking differentials (front, center and rear), as well as 9.5 inches of ground clearance. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class can ford water up to 27.5 inches deep, and it has approach, breakover and departure angles of 31 degrees, 26 degrees and 30 degrees respectively. Mind you, the G63 AMG still has those side-exit exhaust pipes. They may look cool, but watch out when you take it off-road.

Even though the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is still a serious off-roader, as Roman finds out in the California desert, but it’s also, at heart, a Mercedes. You still get all the same sort of luxury you’d find in other high-end cars across the brand. Two 12.3-inch displays prominently comprise the car’s instrument cluster and infotainment system (although the gauge cluster screen is an option), while a 16-speaker Burmester premium audio system is optional.

Availability and pricing

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G550 is available at dealers now. While the price kicks off at $125,495 (including $995 destination), it’s easy to take that into the stratosphere with options. The $3,470 AMG Line package adds 20-inch wheels, AMG styling, and sport exhaust, as well as an AMG sport steering wheel, floor mats and red seat belts. The $5,370 Night Package (which also includes the AMG Line bits) adds a black brush guard and gloss black trim. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is an $850 option. Mercedes’ adaptive suspension is another $1,400 option.

If you’re looking for more performance, the G63 AMG won’t be available until early 2019. Prices start from $148,495 – $23,000 more than the G550.