Off-roading luxury: G-Wagen goes Professional

  • G-Wagen goes more upmarket
  • More power/torque for G350d
  • Top model G350 goes Professional
2016 Mercedes G-Class
BUILT FOR THE REALLY ROUGH STUFF: 2016 Mercedes G-Class Image: Mercedes-Benz

STUTTGART, Germany – Mercedes-Benz has added what it calls “a highly purist variant” to its upcoming new G-Class off-road range – a G350d described as “more than usually adept at tackling the rough stuff”.

It’s also taking a lead for the introduction of a technology update for the brand’s infotainment systems and bringing with it a (Merc’s capitals) Professional Off-Road package for “gruelling off-road use”. Funny that – we thought that’s what G-Wagens were supposed to do anyway?

2016 Mercedes G-Class
CABIN REDESIGN: The 2016 Mercedes G-Class includes a power-adjusable steering-wheel with satellite conrtols. Image: Mercedes-Benz

“Additional options for the interior and exterior further enhance the individuality and comfort of the classic cross-country vehicle,” the German automaker says.

The G-Class (for, The Corner believes’ Gelandewagen, though you’ll rarely see the name in type) was first seen way back in 1979 but the intervening nearly three decades have seen considerable changes to what was a basic off-roader, a challenger for Jeep and Land Rover.

The brand returned to South Africa in 2011 after an absence of 16 years with a launch in Namibia.

2016 Mercedes G-Class
NEW AND LARGER ENGINE: That brings more power and torue to the 2016 G-Wagen. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Compared with its predecessor, the G350d Professional has a new interior and “luxurious ride comfort”. All other models have been given a technology update for infotainment, navigation and communications. A range of luxury items, Merc says, “will further enhance the individuality and comfort of the classic cross-country vehicle”.

THE IDEAL COMPANION…

The current model line-up ranges from the all-rounder with V6 diesel power to the range-topping V12 which reaches showrooms via a detour to the AMG magic shop.

With the new G350d Professional the Stuttgart-based automaker once again has a cross-country vehicle which stands out from its sisters. It’s described as “making it the ideal companion for challenging off-road use and adventurous, off-the-mainstream expeditions”.

It still, however, used the ladder-frame body, permanent all-wheel drive with off-road ratios, and three electrically selectable full diff locks.

EMPHASIS FOR THE ‘PURE’ OFF-ROADER

The three-litre V6 AMG diesel makes 180kW(33% more than the outgoing G300 CDI unit) and 600Nm but its fuel consumption has dropped by 15% to a claimed 9.9 litres/100km and has a 7G-Tronic Plus auto transmission.

It’s also no slouch on tar: 0-100km/ in 8.8sec, top speed 160km/h.

2016 Mercedes G-Class
ROOF-RACK, LADDER AND RUNNING BOARDS: They’re further options on the 2016 Mercedes G-Class Image: Mercedes-Benz

The ‘pure’ off-roader image has been emphasised with a black radiator grille and 16″ five-spoked black alloy wheel rims shod with 16″265/70 all-terrain tyres which help it to a new ride height of 24.5cm from 23.5cm and a wading depth of 60cm.

Towing capacity is 3200kg.

The G350dm, Merc explains, has high-quality equipment and better comfort than the outgoing more-functional wagen and a multifunction, power-adjustable, steering-wheel. Carpets, of course, are missing in favour of an anti-slip surface and drain – dirt can be hosed away.

A number of extras are available for “the daily rigours of harsh off-roading”, among them a steel front bumper drilled ready for a cable winch, protection grilles for the bi-xenon headlights and indicators, a roof-rack/ladder for an authentic safari look, running boards (though any serious off-road will laugh at those), cargo net and load compartment cover and a permanent towball.

Eleven metallic and two non-metallic paint finishes are available for the G 350 d Professional which reached European showrooms on June 1 2016. As a calculator exercise for South Africans, prices start at €79 968 (incl 19% VAT for Germany).

UPDATES FOR COMMUNICATIONS

All other G‑Class variants are now also fully up-to-date in terms of connectivity: Comand Online now includes a high-resolution 20cm colour display with an internet hotspot, emergency automatic rescue calling (in 20 European countries, the USA, Canada and China), smartphone integration/SIM card slot and charger and an external aerial.

The standard revised G-Class will arrive in September 2016 priced (get the calculator out again) prices from €90 636 (incl. 19% VAT for Germany).

2016 Mercedes G-Class
FANCIFIED FACIA: Still recognisable as typical Mercedes design, though, and a seven-speed G-Tronic Plus gearbox comes with the G350d. Image: Mercedes-Benz
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