More than meets the eye: Updated 2024 Mercedes G-Class revealed | CAR Magazine

More than meets the eye: Updated 2024 Mercedes G-Class revealed

Published: 26 March 2024 Updated: 26 March 2024

► Minor styling changes hide significant updates for the G-Class
► Active roll stabilisation now optional on G63
► Aero tweaks and updated engines improve efficiency

What might look like a particularly lazy facelift of the Mercedes G-Class is in fact a series of substantial upgrades. These are claimed to improve performance, efficiency and the G’s abilities both on and off-road.

As the big seller is the Mercedes-AMG G 63, this gets even more tweaks than the regular G-Class. This includes an optional new suspension system that brings active roll control for the first time. To find out more, we headed to the home of the G-Class in Graz, Austria.

It still looks the same to me…

Mercedes G-Class writer speaking to experts

Look closely and you’ll spot new bumpers front and rear, new aero-optimised wheel designs and the striking new blue seen at the top of the page. However, it’s the details that make all the difference. For the first time you can have keyless entry on those vault-like doors, and there are even more cameras than before.

These include one mounted low up front so you can see everything the long bonnet usually hides. Not only is it good for squeezing through tight gaps in Chelsea, it also means you can pick the ideal off-road line more easily.

Crucially, the breeze block aerodynamics have been improved whilst keeping the G-Class looking like a G-Class. There’s a new spoiler that sits above the windscreen and the A-pillar cladding has been smoothed out, helping efficiency and the plentiful wind noise current Gs suffer from.

Mercedes G-Class windscreen spoiler

There are also vents in the front wheelarches to further promote airflow, although the G-Class’s economy still isn’t exactly brilliant. The G 450d is best at 32.5mpg, with the G 500 at 25.9mpg and G 63 a ruinous 19.2mpg. They figures might not look that impressive, but they’re a useful improvement on the old car.

Any more power?

Not out of the G 63’s motor, although the integrated starter-generator now fitted to all G engines adds 20bhp and a useful shot of torque. If you must have your G-Class with a V8, this is now the only option as the G 500 (or G 550 in some markets) gets a six-cylinder instead.

With both exhaust and electrically-driven turbochargers, this 3.0-litre inline six produces 443bhp and 413Ib ft of torque, enough for a quick 5.4 seconds 0-62mph time. That’s significantly up on the G 450d, although 362bhp, 553Ib ft and 5.8 seconds is plenty.

Mercedes G-Class profile driving

This car’s predecessor wasn’t slow in a straight line, but its cornering prowess and comfort fell behind independently sprung rivals. To help, all G-Classes now come with adaptive dampers as standard, while the G63 has optional suspension with active roll control.

A G-Class that can corner?

We’re not going to pass judgement until we’ve driven it, but it should at least go around a bend more briskly than before. It retains the coil springs, independent front suspension and live rear, but adds hydraulic actuators that are interlinked.

As with the Range Rover Sport SV, pitch and roll can be controlled without big, bulky anti-roll bars. There’s another upshot for the G-Class as this improves axle articulation off-road, meaning the G63 could be the most capable model, at least for the moment.

Mercedes G-Class rear driving

Having seen a couple of videos of the system in action, it can keep the body uncannily level whether you’re cornering hard or hammering down a rough dirt track.

What’s new inside?

While the dash architecture looks familiar, MBUX has replaced the old infotainment system whilst keeping the screens the same size. Graphics, response time and connectivity has been improved, and you still get a good spread of physical controls for stuff like the heating.

There’s a new off-road control panel that groups a few key features around some refreshed diff lock switches above the heater toggles. Not only can you lock centre, rear and front diffs, you can also select manual gears, low range and the off-road cockpit from this area.

Mercedes G-Class dash

Sadly, you also get the fiddly touch-sensitive Mercedes steering wheel, but that was an inevitability. Not many people buy off-the-peg G-Classes, so the range of personalisation options has been increased further.

We’re expecting to get behind the wheel in the next couple of months, with UK deliveries later in the year.

By Alan Taylor-Jones

New cars editor, seasoned road tester and automotive encyclopaedia.