New Mercedes-Benz G-Class
New Mercedes-Benz G-ClassMedia.Daimler

Mercedes-Benz has finally taken the wraps off the new G-Glass at the ongoing 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and for a common man, it looks exactly like the previous model.

It has same the distinctive door handle with a characteristic closing sound, the exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door and the prominent indicator lights in the same place. So what has the Mercedes-Benz team done to call it a "new" offering?.

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There's far more to it than meets the eye. On the exterior, it looks like the Mercedes designers kept the philosophy to not mess up the iconic design. The G-Class' design has not changed significantly since 1979, but it still looks fresh. Mercedes has just embellished the SUV's cherished timeless design with some modern bling.

Almost unchanged exterior

Take a closer look, and you will notice redesigned headlamps. Removing the separate strip for the LED running light and integrating it into the headlight has made the front fascia look much cleaner.

The tree slat chrome grille is retained while the new one is slimmer than the outgoing model.

On the sides, the major change comes in the form of new alloys wheels. The new version also gets round edges rather than the hard edges at the corners.

At the rear, we couldn't find noticeable changes barring tweaked tail lamps.

The new G-Class is 53 mm longer, 121 mm wider and 8 mm taller than the model it replaces. The wheelbase has also gone up by nearly 40 mm.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Mercedes-Benz G-Class- New in left and old in rightMercedes-Benz

Completely new interior

While the exterior maintains the iconic classic look, the interior of the G-Class is a whole other story. The wide digital display that extends from behind the steering wheel and new multifunctional steering wheel cannot go unnoticed.

There are also jet-turbine-inspired HVAC gauges and striking metallic buttons. Mercedes claims stretching the wheelbase and repositioning of the rear seats has freed up more space inside the cabin.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Mercedes-Benz G-Class interior- New on top and old in the bottomMercedes-Benz

How good as an off-roader?

An SUV's first job is to go anywhere. The design updates haven't watered down G-Class' off-road prowess.

There are still three independently-locking differentials, a low-range gear, and a new suspension design.

New Mercedes-Benz G-Class
New Mercedes-Benz G-ClassMercedes-Benz

There is independent front suspension now, to better on-road performance. Mercedes insists that the SUV's off-road prowess doesn't suffer. The approach, departure and break-over angles are all improved by one degree, and there are an extra 3.9 inches of fording depth.

The SUV also boasts of a Dynamic Select switch, with Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Individual settings, as well as a new "G-Mode," which is activated whenever one of the three differential locks are activated, or when the car goes into low-range gear.

Under the hood

The new G-Class will draw power from an AMG-developed 4.0-litre V8 turbo-petrol engine in two states of tune. The lower-spec G 550 will have 416hp and 610Nm torque, while the range-topping G 63 will get it in a 611hp and 850Nm tune.

A new 2.9-litre mill — a straight-six diesel engine — will also be on offer at a later date in the G 350d, developing 286hp and 600Nm of torque. All-electric and hybrid versions of the G-class have also been hinted at, and are expected by 2022.

New Mercedes-Benz G-Class
New Mercedes-Benz G-ClassMercedes-Benz

The Bottom Line

What is "new" in new Mercedes-Benz G-Class? Nothing on the exterior but much inside the cabin and under the hood. Mercedes-Benz doesn't want to piss off loyalists by messing up the much-loved design. Meanwhile, it has changed everything else to keep up with the current standards. A brilliant move, indeed.