The G-Class off-roader from Mercedes-Benz is set to rediscover its roots, as the German carmaker unveils the new G 350 d Professional variant.
Described as a “highly purist” model, the G 350 d Professional has been stripped of creature comforts familiar to current G-Class owners right down to the electric windows to leave behind a true ‘workhorse’ wearing a three-pointed star.
Benz hopes its new model, which replaces the G 300 CDI Professional, will appeal to those seeking a vehicle for professional applications and “gruelling off-road use”, but the G 350 d isn’t quite as bare-boned as one might perceive.
The carmaker says the interior is functional and luxurious, but it’s also usable, with fabric seats and rubber floor mats covering a floor with drain holes. The ride quality is described as “comfortable”.
That last clam might be open to interpretation, as the G-Class Professional still hangs onto its ladder-frame chassis, full-time 4WD and three fully-locking differentials.
Power comes from a V6 diesel engine producing 180kW and 600Nm, matched with Benz’s seven-speed automatic transmission. Fuel consumption scrapes into single-digit territory at 9.9 l/100km, and the 0-100km/h sprint takes a respectable 8.8 seconds.
As a further indication of its intended purpose, the 350 d’s top speed is ‘only’ 160km/h. The ride-height has been increased 10mm over other G-Class models to 245mm, while the approach and departure angles have improved from 30/30 degrees to 36/39 degrees.
The styling package has been restricted to matte black colouring of the 16-inch wheels and grille, but the paint chart for the bodywork includes 11 colours (Desert Sand and China Blue among them).
An optional Professional Off-Road Package adds tinted windows, roof racks, running boards and cargo securing equipment, along with protective grilles for headlights and a steel front bumper.
Benz hasn’t forgotten about the rest of the G-Class range either, with the remainder scoring a technology update for infotainment, navigation and communications systems for 2016 and new 16-inch wheels for the options list.
First deliveries in the European market are set to happen from September, and the G 350 d Professional is a good chance of making it to Australia after that.
Speaking with TMR, Mercedes-Benz Australia’s David McCarthy said the local arm was “pretty keen”, but a business case needed to be finalised first.
Mr McCarthy predicted around 200 sales per year in Australia, should the new model arrive here, made up of wagon and cab-chassis variants.
Benz’s supply line might restrict the sales tally, however, as the level of handcraftsmanship in each G-Class makes for slower build times.
Price-wise, McCarthy said Mercedes would aim for somewhere between its main rival in the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series and the current G 500 “but closer to the 70 Series with a ‘1’ in front of it”.
The local office expects an answer from HQ on the 2016 G 350 d in around a month from now. Stay tuned.
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