US sales of the G550 will kick off later this year.
Following its debut at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, the has now officially entered production, marking the start of a new era for the iconic German SUV. Since it was first introduced in 1979, the G-Class has been built predominately by hand in Graz, Austria, and the new redesigned 2019 model is continuing that tradition. Some employees working on the new G-Class have been at the company since the SUV’s inception nearly 40 years ago.
“With the model change the new G-Class experienced the biggest transformation in its 39 years-old history,” said Gunnar Güthenke, Head of the Off-Road Product Group at Mercedes-Benz. “At the same time we have kept the familiar and popular features of the design icon and further optimized the 'G' where ride comfort and robustness are concerned. The superior development goal for the new G-Class was to improve the off-road capabilities even more. For the production we continue to trust in our experienced production partner since 39 years, Magna Steyr.” On the surface, the new G-Class looks nearly identical to the old model.
It's larger and looks more refined and modern, but the iconic exterior hasn’t been significantly changed. Its rugged design and distinctive boxy shape makes the new G-Class instantly recognizable, which is important because Mercedes will want to maintain its current sales momentum. 300,000 units have been sold since the original model went into production in 1979, which may not sound like a lot but the G-Wagon has set a new sales record since 2012, with 22,000 sold last year alone. No doubt the all-new model will also spark renewed interest in the iconic boxy SUV, too.
In America, the first G-Class SUV that will go on sale later this year will be the G550, which packs the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as the outgoing model, sending 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque through a new nine-speed automatic transmission. Likewise, the new AMG G63 uses the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as the previous G63 but now produces 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque, enabling the potent SUV to sprint to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.