Mercedes Malaysia Launches G350d G-Class Diesel Variant

The latest G-Class now has an oil burning option in Malaysia.

Diesel has always been the fuel of choice for workhorses in Malaysia. Looking at all the pickup trucks on the local market today, all of them will have an oil-burner under their hood. However while the G-Class first started life in 1979 as a utilitarian vehicle, the current iteration has undoubtedly strayed far from its roots. 

The G-Wagen that was once an off-road machine has been transformed to a leather lined lifestyle status symbol for the rich and famous. Seeing that the only variant of the G-Class offered here too is the RM 1.4 million G63 AMG, why then did Mercedes Malaysia decide to introduce a diesel engine into its king of the hill SUV? Especially considering that try as European manufacturers might to entice Malaysians into the way of diesel, locals still mainly associate the tar-like substance with commercial vehicles?

To see if this question can be answered, let’s first look into the powertrain of this G350d. This new diesel-powered G-class has a 3.0 litre straight-six OM 656 diesel engine under its blocky hood. This diesel engine features a host of clever technology, including stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage turbocharging, Camtronic variable valve timing and Nanoslide cylinder wall coating. Mated to a 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, it makes 286 hp and 600 Nm of torque. Enabling this boxy off-roader to speed to 100 km/h from a stand still in 7.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 199 km/h. 

A new flange-mounted transfer case that sends a 40/60 power split to the front and rear wheels respectively also means that the G350d will also hold its own off the beaten path, like any G could. Where the new G350d shines though is perhaps on the road, as Mercedes claims that the active engine mounts makes for a more refined driving experience at lower speeds.

It is also when the G is on the road that onlookers will notice the standard AMG Night Package and Stainless Steel Package on offer with the G350d. Already an imposing monster of a car on the road, these packages add 20 inch AMG rims, smoked lights both front and rear, obsidian black trim pieces and some stainless steel trim to cap the look off. 

On the inside, the Exclusive interior package brings to the table a black DINAMICA microfibre headlining and a frameless rear view mirror, in addition to the already plush and well-appointed interior of the standard G-Wagen. In terms of safety features, the G350d comes standard with Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Blind Spot Assist.

Priced at RM 999,888, this million ringgit SUV handily returns us to the question as to why anyone would pay that much money for a diesel? Fuel economy would highly unlikely be on the minds of anyone with that kind of spending power. The healthy torque figure may pique the interest of some, but when spending that kind of money already what is an extra RM 400k for the full-fat G63 AMG? Or perhaps even consider the Brabus-tuned 6×6? Because that one really does make one hell of a statement wherever it pulls up to. 

PRESS RELEASE: With the new OM 656 diesel engine, the goal for the new Mercedes-Benz G 350 d is to increase the performance while reducing the consumption and improving the noise characteristics at the same time. The characteristics of the top-notch engine include the stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage exhaust turbocharging as well as the use of CAMTRONIC variable valve timing. This heats up the exhaust system without driving up fuel consumption. The further advanced NANOSLIDE® cylinder wall coating also reduces friction losses in the piston/cylinder wall system and reduces fuel consumption.

The powerful and efficient 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line diesel engine makes the Mercedes-Benz G 350 d ready for any adventure. The engine powered by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission allows faster bursts of acceleration, enabling the car to go from 0-100 km/h in 7.4 seconds at a top speed of 199 km/h.

For the transmission of power, the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission with torque converter was specifically adapted to meet the needs of the off-road icon. The developers used a dedicated software application to shorten the shift and response times of the 9-speed transmission and make the G-Class seem even livelier. 

The new transfer case is flange-mounted directly to the 9G-TRONIC. It is designed to send 40 percent of the drive torque to the front axle and 60 percent to the rear axle. This configuration particularly benefits the handling characteristics on the road. The permanent all-wheel drive ensures maximum traction. However, the “G” would not be a “G” if it did not have even more in store. The low-range off-road reduction gear considerably increases torque at the drive wheels, which e.g. makes very difficult terrain negotiable.

Partly due to the new quiet and harmonious diesel engine, the G-Class proves to be extremely comfortable, even on long distances. When driving, the exhaust system and the engine, which is also willing to rev at higher engine speeds, produce much less noise and vibrations in the interior. To reduce engine noise, the engine mounts of the diesel engine are actively controlled for the first time. At speeds below 5 km/h, they are set to soft to optimally dampen the transfer of torsional vibrations to the ladder-type frame at low engine speeds. At higher engine speeds, the two engine mounts are automatically made stiffer, which has positive effects on the vibrational comfort and the driving dynamics.

The exterior of the G 350 d is equipped in the AMG Night Package that features the 20-inch AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels, darkened indicators, reversing lamps and headlamps. It is also donned with an exterior protective strip with trim insert in black pinstripe look. Part of the AMG Night Package is also the radiator grille louvres and spare wheel ring and the trim elements in the bumper painted in obsidian black.

The new “G” is also equipped with the Stainless Steel Package which comprises high-quality running boards along the sides, the spare wheel cover in stainless steel with 3D Mercedes star painted in obsidian black, door sills, load sills guard at rear in stainless steel and the exterior protective strip with trim insert in black with stripe effect.

Those who aim for heady heights will be keen to go one better on the design front, too. The Exclusive interior offers something special for discerning customers. The carefully selected combinations of high-quality equipment items, such as the leather-covered instrument panel or exclusive colors, cater to the most refined tastes. The Exclusive interior package includes the roof lining in black DINAMICA microfiber and frameless inside rearview mirror.

While the G-Class may be stronger than time, it is still equipped with the Driving Assistance Package which includes the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Blind Spot Assist. These ease the driver’s workload both in urban traffic and on country roads and provide for added safety by monitoring the vehicle’s blind spot. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC increases driving comfort in tailbacks on motorways, highways and stop-and-go traffic and is active up to a speed of 200 km/h. Blind Spot Assist indicates vehicles in the “blind spot” to the driver by means of a yellow or red triangle which lights up in the corresponding outside mirror and a warning tone. The system is available in the speed range from 30 km/h to 250 km/h and is activated via the instrument cluster.

Blind Spot Assist employs two dedicated radar sensors which are installed on the sides of the rear bumper and scan the area of the so-called blind spot. The system is activated via the instrument cluster and operates in the speed range from 30 km/h to the top speed. Starting roughly at the B-pillar, the warning area (“blind spot”) extends approximately 3.5 metres down the right and left-hand sides of the vehicle and 3 metres beyond the vehicle’s rear end. The warning is issued by means of a triangular indicator integrated into the exterior mirrors, which lights up in yellow or red. In addition to the visual indicator, a warning tone also sounds.

Detected vehicles that are overtaking are indicated immediately on entering the warning area. Vehicles which have just been overtaken are indicated around 1.5 seconds after entering the zone. This helps to avoid permanent indication when overtaking a queue of traffic and suppresses an audible warning when indicating to pull back in again.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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