Mercedes-Benz's timeless G-Class returns to its roots in Australia

Mercedes-Benz will introduce a body-on-frame pickup truck named X-Class next year. For those who can’t wait that long, the company’s Australian division has just launched a cab-chassis variant of the indestructible G-Class that can be fitted with a pickup bed.

The model is called G300 CDI, and all it takes is one look to tell it was designed to work hard. It eschews the eye-catching chrome trim of the high-performance G sold here and instead adopts a more functional look characterized by a black grille, black trim on the sides, and 16-inch alloys wrapped by meaty all-terrain tires.

It comes ready to tackle even the most challenging terrain thanks to a bull bar — a necessity out in the Australian bush –, a skid plate that protects the oil pan, and a snorkel that allows it to safely drive through nearly 25 inches of water.

Motorists who drove a G-Class 30 years ago will feel right at home in the 300 CDI model. A perfect illustration of form-over-function design, it offers a simple cabin with durable vinyl upholstery on the seats, rubber floor mats, two drain plugs, and a basic panel on the center console with switches that let the driver choose which of the three differentials is locked, among other functions. The no-nonsense, utilitarian design is precisely what its target audience is looking for.

Don’t expect to find a powerful, AMG-built engine under the hood. The G300 CDI is powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine rated at 181 horsepower and a 295 pound-feet of torque. The six-cylinder sends its power to all four wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission, and a full-time all-wheel drive system with a 50:50 front-rear split as well as a dual-speed transfer case.

The G300 boasts approach and departure angles of 38 and 35 degrees, respectively. It can carry 4,596 pounds, and it can tow 4,872 pounds when it’s properly equipped.

Built by hand in Austria, the Mercedes-Benz G300 CDI is on sale now across Australia. Pricing starts at $119,900 Australian dollars, a sum which converts to nearly $90,000. Down under, it faces competition from the immensely popular Toyota 70-Series Land Cruiser, another highly-capable off-roader that has been in production for decades.

The newest addition to the G-Class lineup might be sold in a handful of other markets around the globe, but it stands virtually no chance of ever seeing the inside of a Mercedes showroom in the United States.

Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Product Review

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a do-it-all Swedish army knife

Volvo laced up its smallest station wagon in hiking clothes to create the V60 Cross Country. It's a lifted, all-wheel drive wagon that laughs at icy roads while coddling its occupants. We travel to Sweden to try it out.
Cars

BMW’s X3 M and X4 M pack 503 horsepower in nontraditional form

BMW is starting even further from its heritage with the 2020 X3 M and X4 M performance crossovers. But with up to 503 horsepower available in each vehicle, does that really matter?
Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Psychedelic Volkswagen Microbus from Woodstock returns for an encore

With its trippy paint scheme, the Volkswagen "Light" bus became a symbol of the 1969 Woodstock music festival. VW teamed up with the artist who created this rolling mural to stage a comeback in time for Woodstock's 50th anniversary.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.