A body-in-white using a variety of steels and some aluminum exterior elements helped the next-generation 2019 Mercedes G-Class shed 375 pounds compared to its predecessor.
Mercedes said Jan. 15 that developers used computer simulations to determine which parts and systems could be lightweighted and preserve an adequate service life.
“The recipe for success: a new mix of materials comprising strong, high- strength, ultra-high-strength steels and aluminum, as well as improved production processes at the Magna Steyr plant in Austria,” Mercedes wrote in a news release.
The doors, hood and fender are aluminum, and Mercedes modified the hinges and handles on the doors “to suit the new aluminum design.”
“The rigid body shell is now made of a variety of steel grades,” Mercedes wrote, describing the A- and B-pillars as made of “high-strength steel due to their load-bearing function,” which is probably actually a reference to ultra-high-strength steel.
Asked for more clarification into the metals composition of the body, whether the “inners” as well as the hood and door outers are also aluminum, and for confirmation the frame is also steel, Mercedes couldn’t provide answers.
“At this time, we can only confirm the chassis is made from steel and the body is made from a variety of steel grades (i.e. high-strength steel for the A and B pillars), while the hood, fenders and doors are made from aluminum,” product public relations specialist Catherine Gebhardt wrote in an email.
Mercedes said it increased the body-in-white, body mount and frame torsional rigidity, which also led to “significantly less” vibration and noise for occupants.
“Enhancing an icon such as the G-Class in technological terms was both a challenge and an opportunity at the same time. Each part and every bolt came under close scrutiny,” Mercedes off-road product group head Gunnar Güthenke said in a statement. “With the body, our main focus was on increasing the vehicle rigidity and the connections between the suspension and drivetrain with the ladder-type frame.”
Collision repairers will also encounter a new suspension design with ramifications for auto body work as well as off-roaders:
The result is an independent suspension with double-wishbone front axle in combination with a rigid rear axle. As part of their work, the engineers had the task of fighting for every inch and millimeter, because off-road capability requires maximum ground clearance. The raising of the axles makes a decisive contribution in this respect, while requiring a strut tower brace in the engine compartment to achieve the ruggedness objectives.
The components of the double-wishbone front axle are directly mounted to the ladder-type frame without a subframe. The lower wishbone’s attachment points on the frame in Z-axis are positioned as high up as possible. This arrangement ensures good drivability beyond the asphalt. Specifically for the G-Class, the new front axle is designed in such a robust way that the off-road performance and off-road capabilities of its predecessor are improved. …
At the rear, in contrast to the predecessor, the new rigid axle is controlled by four trailing arms on each side and a Panhard rod.
Shops also will be tasked with meeting tolerances for what Mercedes called “narrower, more precise gaps” than before, and possibly as well for wheel arches and bumper fascias which “form a more integral part of the body.” The OEM was going for a G-Class that looked like it was “cast from a single piece.”
Mercedes, Jan. 15, 2018
“The rigid body shell is now made of a variety of steel grades,” Mercedes wrote of the 2019 G-Class, describing the A- and B-pillars as made of “high-strength steel due to their load-bearing function,” which is probably actually a reference to ultra-high-strength steel. (Provided by Mercedes)
The 2019 Mercedes G-Class G500 was on display Jan. 15, 2018, at the North American International Auto Show. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)
The frame of the 2019 Mercedes G-Class is shown. (Provided by Mercedes)
The suspension of the 2019 Mercedes G-Class is shown. (Provided by Mercedes)