New 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen launched in Dubai – in pictures

The latest model features smoother lines to comply with safety regulations and comes with a 'Desert' driving mode

The new Mercedes-Benz G-Class made its UAE bow in Dubai last night as the latest version of one of the Middle East's most popular off-roaders was unveiled.

From dune-bashing to transporting the Pope, the SUV – also known as the G-Wagen (short for Gelandewagen, which translates to "cross-country vehicle") – has enjoyed a decorated history since its original launch in 1979.

The new model comes with a "Desert" driving mode, which on sand makes it the most capable G-Class yet, according to the head of G-Class sales and product management, Peter Schoren.

"Our goal was to maintain the character of the G-Class and its boxy design," he said of the styling, which has smoothed out some of the SUV's angular extremes to comply with pedestrian-protection laws. "It has even better off-road capability and way improved on-road capability."

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He also addressed the urban myth that the G-Class was once set to be discontinued until a group of wealthy car buffs from the Middle East stepped in to guarantee a certain amount of orders if Mercedes kept up production. "I've heard a lot of urban myths, but yes, of course, there were some points in history of the G-Class where it was very close to stopping the production," he said.

He also revealed that the Middle East was the "most important region" for the G-Class, in terms of its sales as a percentage of Mercedes' total sales.

Last year saw the 300,000th G-Class roll off the production line, at the Mercedes factory in Graz, Austria, while next year will mark the model's 40th anniversary.

The 2019 G-Class is on sale now. The G 500 costs from Dh440,000, while the G 63's entry price is Dh600,000.

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