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Daimler Amps Up Its SUV Range with More Gs

G-whizz

You might have to look twice to notice the all-new Mercedes G-Wagen when it arrives later this year. The boxy bodyshell, complete with déjà vu round headlamps, turn signals on top of the front fenders, and the spare wheel mounted to the outside of the side-hinged rear door, looks eerily familiar. But everything underneath has been re-engineered from scratch.

The new G is 3.9 inches wider, about 660 pounds lighter, and equipped with a state-of-the-art suspension featuring triple-champer air springs. There’s even independent front suspension instead of the traditional live front axle.

Oligarchs will want to put their name down for the ritzy Maybach version, while regular showoffs will clamor for the 600 hp-plus G63 and G65 versions.

But the big news is there’s a Baby G coming, too. Built in Mexico, and scheduled for launch in 2019, the GLB is basically a GLA dressed up to look like scaled-down G-Wagen.

Brick-shaped, but with a twist, the Baby G, codenamed X247, will offer three row seating, 4Matic AWD, adaptive shocks, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

What will be tallest and longest B-class Benz ever is based on the modified MFA2 matrix, which saves weight, adds stiffness and is more flexible.

Engines are all transverse mounted fours, stretching from the 136 hp, 1.6-liter diesel to a pair of AMG models badged GLB35 (340 hp) and GLB45 (408 hp). There’ll also be a mild hybrid model, and two plug-in hybrids with 67 hp (FWD) and 94 hp (RWD) e-motors.

After Baby G comes another G—well, that’s the current plan as Daimler rushes to cash in on the boom in luxury SUVs. While yet to be given the green light, the full-size Mercedes GLG, codenamed X167, is intended to be built on the modular high-floorpan components set (MHA) that will underpin the next-gen GLE and GLS models.

The GLG is said to look tougher, more off-road ready than either the GLE or GLS, with bespoke head- and taillight graphics, flared fenders, and tougher bumpers.

It will also boast enhanced off-road capability thanks to an extra diff lock, stacked air suspension, and active stabilizer bars which can be decoupled for extended wheel articulation. The rear overhang will be longer than that of GLE, delivering generous luggage space and occasional third row seating.

In addition to the familiar selection of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines, GLG will also be available as a plug-in hybrid with a 121 hp e-module.

Note: 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Limited Edition models are shown above.

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