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GMC’s 2019 Sierra is heading off-road with Monday’s premiere of the first-ever Sierra AT4. The AT4 is the first in a new GMC off-roading sub-brand, which will be available for every vehicle in the lineup in the next two years.

The first Sierra built to leave the pavement is fitted with a 2-inch factory-installed suspension lift, off-road tuned Rancho monotube shock absorbers and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. The AT4 comes standard with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine, with options for new versions of the 6.2-liter V-8 and the Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel engine.

Coupled with the suspension lift and four-wheel drive with two-speed transfer case, the AT4 also has hill-descent control and a traction-select system that allows drivers to choose from preset drive modes for different terrain and weather conditions. The Sierra AT4 also comes with a multi-color head-up display, surround-vision that provides a bird’s-eye view for tight maneuvering, and a rear-camera mirror.

The AT4 that debuted ahead of the New York International Auto Show on Monday is a darker, more domineering cousin of the 2019 Sierra Denali that was unveiled in Detroit earlier this month. The off-roading trim includes accent details like LED fog-lamp bezels and black-chrome fender trim, highlighted by red tow-hooks.

The interior of the Sierra AT4 is also darker with tinted and textured aluminum finishes on the steering wheel, center stack and sill plates. The black leather seats are offset by brown highlights and stitching.

“The 2019 Sierra is the boldest expression ever for GMC’s full-size pickup, and the new AT4 reinforces its essence of capability with distinctive, athletic cues,” GMC design director Matt Noone said in a statement.

The off-road Sierra comes standard with an industry-first mini-tailgate that’s inset in the larger tailgate for easier access and loading. Optional is the lightweight carbon-fiber bed that will first debut on the 2019 Sierra and its premium Denali trim will also be available on the all-terrain Sierra.

The AT4 goes on sale this fall, as do the standard 2019 Sierra and its higher-end Denali trim. The new GMC pickups follow mainstream sibling Chevrolet Silverado’s debut January at the Detroit auto show.

The standard Sierra echoes the Silverado’s commitment to a rolled-steel bed, in defiance of the best-selling Ford F-150’s much-publicized move to aluminum. Together with Chevy, GMC offers the biggest box in segment — increasing width by 7 inches and length by 1 inch over the current truck.

The AT4 package echos Chevrolet’s off-road offering on the Colorado with the ZR2, which debuted at the Los Angeles auto show in 2016. But the Colorado is also built to impress on the road, developed by Chevy’s performance team.

NNaughton@detroitnews.com

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