It reaches its toughest off-road settings when it’s switched into its G-Mode, which it automatically pops into as soon as any of the diff locks or low-range have been engaged, assuming there’s dirty work afoot. G-Mode is a map that softens off the throttle response and moves the adjustable damping and steering to more off-road friendly settings and avoids gearshifts.
While there’s a standard steel spring, Benz believes the majority of V8-powered G500s will ride atop the optional adaptive damping system. It’s a system that delivers five driving modes, including Desert, Comfort, Eco, Sport, the customisable Individual and an Off-road mode.
Those abilities should be helped by an electronic architecture that brings the car into line with contemporary norms, delivering Benz’s full array of driver-assistance systems.
Its new electromechanical rack-and-pinion steering system should be a step forward over the ancient recirculating-ball system fitted to the outgoing car and will allow Benz to give it Parking Assist to self-steer into parallel and 90° parks.
It also has three in-built steering feel-and-feedback programmes, much like most premium-car powertrain systems, and will switch on demand between Comfort, Sport and Off-Road parameters.
Another off-road trick will be its use of its 360° surround cameras, which have been tightened and boosted in resolution to turn them into off-road cameras for tricky conditions.
Benz will slot a wide range of powertrains beneath the G-Class’s nose, including V8 and V12 twin-turbo power from AMG, but it will start out with the G500 with a 4.0l biturbo V8 and the 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto transmission. The smallest engine planned for the range is a 2.9l six-cylinder, with Benz admitting it has no plans to fit it with a four-cylinder engine of any kind.
The G500 version of the five-seat, five-door wagon will weigh 2,435kg, which is down on the almost-2,600kg G500 today, though the new car retains the 3,500kg towing capacity.
Even with aluminium replacing many of the steel body panels, it can still carry a 150kg dynamic roof load (for driving) or a 300kg static load (for camping) on its roof.
Inside, it will carry over much of the S-and E-Class interior electronics and equipment, though it has a lot of its own design language now.
It uses the optional twinned 12.3-inch flat-screen infotainment systems from the limousines, though there will be traditional tubular gauges with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen for diehard traditionalists.