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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Mercedes-Benz G-Class boosted with hybrid punch and more tech

Equipped as standard with mild-hybrid assistance across all models, the G-Class range will be further supplemented by the all-electric EQG later this year.

Although touted last year as spawning a new generation reported to wear the internal moniker W464, Mercedes-Benz has opted to afford its iconic G-Class with its first mid-life overhaul since debuting it six years ago.

ALSO READ: Mercedes-Benz preparing next generation G-Class for 2024 debut

Still called W463 whereas the aforementioned W464 makes reference to workhorse variant aimed largely at military usage, the G-Class’ revisions largely centres not only on its interior, but also up front as electrification has been applied across the range in the form of a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

Subtle exterior makeover

Compared to the pre-facelift iteration, the updated W463’s aesthetic gains comprise a redesigned grille with four as opposed to three slates, a squircle motif for the front and rear bumpers, and relocation of the reverse camera from the spare wheel cover to above the numberplate.

Along with a new roof spoiler, the standard G-Glass receives the high performance LED headlights from the off, as well as five twin-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with up to 20-inches available. A new colour called Sodalite Blue Metallic rounds the exterior off.

Mercedes-AMG unwraps updated G63
G63 now makes exclusive use of the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Again taking-up station as the flagship variant, the AMG G63 builds on the external gains of its sibling by not only getting the AMG specific bumpers and door sills, but also the Multibeam adaptive LED headlights, silver AMG brake calipers and a first time illuminated AMG bonnet logo.

Along with 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, or optional 22-inch items, the AMG Carbon exterior package can be had as option, with the final additions being a silver chrome AMG fuel filler cap and a new colour called Hyper Blue Magno.

New suspension

Significantly more extensive are the changes underneath the G-Class’ skin, the most prominent being a new active air suspension system that constantly adjusts the dampers based on the road surface.

On the G63, matters are taken a step further with the inclusion of the AMG Active Ride Control system that negates the need for anti-roll bars as a result of hydraulics and adaptive shock absorbers being fitted instead.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz G-Class revealed
Sodalite Blue Metallic joins as a new colour option. Image: Mercedes-Benz

The former said to reduce the G63’s role angle, which in turn helps with improvements in handling, the AMG specific steering system also receives tweaks to improve feedback, while the AMG brake discs still measure 354 mm at the front and 345 mm at the rear.

As standard, all G-Class models have a claimed ground clearance of 241 mm, a wading depth of 700 mm and a low range transfer case plus the three locking differentials.

New though is a transparent bonnet view display on the infotainment system, and a new off-road package with mainly exterior trim pieces.

Also carried over the Dynamic Select mode selector with seven settings; Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual, Sand, Trail and Rock.

Mercedes-AMG unwraps updated G63
Wheel sizes range from 20 to 22-inches. Image: Mercedes-Benz

On the G63, the AMG Dynamic Select has been incorporated with the three off-road modes present, but with the Eco function replaced by a Slippery setting and a Sport+ configuration added.

In total, the adaptive suspension gets three settings of its own not available on the regular G-Class; Comfort, Sport and Sport+

Hello Mercedes

A point of significant content since its introduction, the G-Class’ interior finally sees the inclusion of Benz’s latest MBUX system in a dual 12.3-inch display, with the infotainment system benefitting from wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the upgrade Hello Mercedes voice recognition command.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz G-Class revealed
Interior tech has been ramped-up with the long awaited arrival of the MBUX infotainment system and new digital instrument cluster. Image: Mercedes-Benz

A first-time Off-Road Cockpit displaying various readouts is, however, a new addition, along with an augmented reality Head-Up Display that comes standard on all models.

On the options side, the G-Glass gains a new keyless entry system, a Burmester 3D sound system and a rear seat entertainment system with a pair of 11.6-inch MBUX displays.

Mercedes-AMG unwraps updated G63
Interior recieves the same changes as the regular G63, but with AMG specific touches. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Reserved for the G63 is the AMG Performance steering wheel, specific readouts and graphics within the instrument cluster and infotainment system, AMG logos on the floor mats and door sills and lastly, the AMG Performance seats trimmed in Nappa leather with AMG embroidered front seatbacks.

In terms of safety, new or revised items include a 360-degree surround-view camera system, Active Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Pre-Safe, Active Park Assist, Active Distance Assist Distronic, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Assist, Active Steering Assist and Active Emergency Stop Assist.

Hybrid combustion now, full EV later

Bar the rolling-out of the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system, which adds an additional 15kW/200Nm for short bursts, the G-Class’ biggest mechanical rationale involves the G63 now being the sole variant equipped with the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine

Previously sold in G500 where it delivered 310kW/610Nm, the bent-eight makes way for the 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six that produces 330kW/560Nm without the inclusion of the hybrid system.

Hooked to the 9G Tronic gearbox, which has undergone a series of revisions of its own, the G500 will get from 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 210 km/h.

Facelift Mercedes-Benz G-Class revealed
Boot floor can be decked-out in wood as an option Image: Mercedes-Benz

On the diesel front, the renamed G450d replaces the G400d with outputs of 270kW/750Nm from its 3.0-litre straight-six oil-burner – uptakes of 27kW/50Nm respectively.

Paired to the same transmission, the G450d will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds and top out at the same 210 km/h.

Mercedes-AMG unwraps updated G63
AMG Performance seats are trimmed in Nappa leather. Image: Mercedes-Benz

The sole model not to have received any hikes, the V8 in the G63 continues to produce 430kW/850Nm though, through the dual-clutch 9G TCT gearbox instead of the torque converter 9G Tronic.

Limited to 220 km/h, the G63, despite weighing 2 640 kg, will get from 0-100 km/h in a claimed 4.3 seconds.

Currently undergoing testing, the line-up will be supplemented later on by the all-electric EQG rumoured to produce in the region of 373 kW.

Not yet South Africa approved

Officially set to go on-sale in Europe within the coming months, no pricing for the updated G-Class were disclosed, with the same applying to South African market availability.

Should approval be given though, expect sales to only commence towards the latter stages of 2024 or even early next year.

NOW READ: Mercedes-Benz starts teasing ‘real G’ all-electric EQG

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