More econo-minded Mercedes-Benz G350 d on the way

Diesel G Class offers refined grunt with fuel-sipping economy. Picture: SUPPLIED
Diesel G Class offers refined grunt with fuel-sipping economy. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new diesel derivative to its new G Class series, which will be available to order in January 2019. The G350d follows on the heels of the G63 which launched only a few weeks ago in South Africa.

According to Ola Källenius, the new Daimler boss in waiting, the targets with the new OM 656 diesel engine fitted in the G350d was to increase the performance while reducing the consumption and improving the noise characteristics at the same time.

The new engine is able to catapult the lighter new G Class to 100km/h from standstill in 7.9 seconds and run to a claimed top speed of 199km/h. The figures for fuel consumption are 9.6l/100km on a combined cycle.  

Technologies for this engine include a stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage exhaust turbocharging as well as the use of CAMTRONIC variable valve timing. This is said to heat up the exhaust system without driving up fuel consumption while advanced NANOSLIDE cylinder wall coating reduces friction losses in the piston/cylinder wall system, benefits also being reduced fuel consumption.

The vehicle that Daimler dubs as the most efficient G of all time has headline figures of 210kW and peak torque of 600 Nm between 1200 and 3200 rpm. It’s a Euro 6 rated motor which according to its maker required  an additional selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converter with an ammonia slip catalyst (ASC) in the exhaust tract. The SCR reduces NOx gasses in the exhaust stage while AdBlue, an aqueous urea solution widely used in diesel cars is also fed into the system to chemically convert nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas, thus releasing ammonia, which reduces up to 80 percent of the harmful nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water in the SCR catalytic converter.

A host of features have been deployed in the pursuit of efficiency, including in ECO drive mode. With a gliding function, when the driver's foot leaves the accelerator pedal, the 9-speed transmission's clutch disengages, reducing engine speed to idling level, and the driving resistance is reduced by compression and frictional forces of the engine while coasting. The clutch is re-engaged as soon as the driver operates the accelerator or brake pedal.

Beneath the boxy old-school exterior is a plush and modern cabin. Picture: SUPPLIED
Beneath the boxy old-school exterior is a plush and modern cabin. Picture: SUPPLIED

The gains in quietness and lowered vibrations from the new diesel engine contribute to the overall comfort of the new G350d, which for the first time boasts active control engine mounts. Ditto the 9GTRONIC automatic transmission with torque converter and transfer case fitted for added mechanical soothing. The company says dedicated software application has shortened shift and response times for a livelier experience brought upon by sending 40 percent of the drive torque to the front axle and 60 percent to the rear axle in standard form.

Like the range-topping G63, the 350d also gets the new double-wishbone front suspension setup, in place of the old live axle. This model will be sought after for  off road expeditions with its 241mm ground clearance.

Standard equipment in the diesel G class includes leather seats and an instrument panel covered in ARTICO man-made leather and open-pore wood. Optional extras include the Exclusive Interior Plus with diamond quilting on the seats. DYNAMIC SELECT with up to five selectable drive modes is now standard. Safety items include Active Braking Assist amongst the typical Mercedes-Benz safety tech. Mercedes-Benz South Africa has already confirmed local introduction of the G350.