Mercedes-Benz Australia will initially focus on the fastest version of its next-generation G-Class four-wheel drive.
As revealed by TMR earlier this week, the German manufacturer is set to unveil its third-generation G-Class in January 2018 at the Detroit motor show and Australia is not going to miss out, though the current lineup, which consists of V8 petrol and V6 diesel engines, is set to change.
“It is (arriving) late second quarter next year for us, for the AMG 63, and we’ll concentrate on that initially because that’s the volume seller, albeit around a hundred a year,” said Mercedes-Benz senior manager of communications, David McCarthy.
The new G-Class will debut in Detroit with two different tunes of the AMG-developed turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine producing either 310kW and 610Nm or a more potent 450kW and 850Nm.
McCarthy told TMR that Mercedes expects to offer the new G-Class to Australia in only the hottest tune, effectively replacing the current AMG G63.
“We always go for the higher tune - the S. The only AMG in recent times we’ve had in different tune is the E63 and the GT," said McCarthy. “We always take the highest output. It will be (called) the Mercedes-AMG G63."
The current AMG G63 in Australia is powered by a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 which produces a slightly milder 420kW of power and 760Nm of torque. It is expected that the new replacement will be priced similar the current model’s $250,531 price tag.
“Yes, I think it will be (priced similar). There’s probably not a huge upside in terms of production for Australia so I wouldn’t think there’s any much change,” McCarthy told TMR.
“We don’t have any orders currently for the new 63, but it’s still six or seven months away.”
It is expected the new 4.0-litre turbo V8 will be the most powerful G-Class in the range, with the current right-hand drive 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 potentially ceasing production.
“The V12 is not made in right-hand drive in the current model and I don’t expect it will be if it continues, which I don’t think it will in the new model.”
McCarthy couldn’t confirm if the new 2.9-litre in-line six-cylinder diesel engine would be available.
“The diesel (G350d) is about 20 per cent of current volume and we don’t know if it will be the new straight six or the existing v6 diesel.”
The new G-Class will sit alongside the exclusive Australian market only G-Class Professional as it continues to sell here.
“There’s no change currently to the Professional, and Australia is the only market where it retails,” McCarthy said.
Sales of the G-Class Professional have been flourishing since its introduction 12 months ago and 400 of the cab-chassis and wagon variants have sold in the past 12 months, outselling the AMG G63 by four-to-one.
The basic hose-out interior work truck Professional comes as both a cab-chassis and wagon and is a different proposition to the plusher G63, although both appeal to buyers who want something that can’t be found anywhere else.
“G-Wagen is a vehicle people buy, it is not one we sell. People buy it simply because it is what it is,” said McCarthy.