After months of teasing, Mercedes has unveiled the latest generation of its G-Class off-roader. A hardcore mud-plugger with abilities totally unthinkable to most of today's fragile soft-roaders and crossovers, it's only the second-generation G-Class to be launched since its inception 38 years ago.
Though the new car's styling is very similar to the outgoing model, Mercedes claims there's only five parts that have been carried over – the door locks, sun visors, headlight washers, spare wheel cover and towbar. However, rugged details such as the exposed spare wheel, round headlights, exterior protective strips and flat panels all remain.
The biggest changes have been made inside, where the new G-class gains a luxurious interior packed full of tech. Where the old car felt like its modern accoutrements had been rammed in against their will, the latest G-Class has a much more polished aesthetic.
Gaining dashboard screens from the E-Class and S-Class means an unbroken expanse of display in front of the driver, while modern Mercedes touches such as the dash-mounted gear selector and rotary infotainment control remain.
But the G-Class hasn't forgotten its roots, and retains classic features such as the grab handle in front of the passenger and three switches for the car's locking differentials.
Another focus for the new G-Class was improved handling. Mercedes says the car is even better off-road than its predecessor, yet also more agile and comfortable on the tarmac. The car has a heavily modified version of the ladder-frame chassis from its predecessor, leading to a 170kg weight loss, plus a new electromechanical steering system.
The G-Class is expected to arrive in the UK in August, fitted out by AMG – the most popular version of the current model. That means a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 petrol engine, pushing out 603bhp. It's expected to cost in excess of £130,000, though an entry-level six-cylinder diesel will arrive next year with a cheaper price tag.