Buyers' advice, Mercedes-Benz, Motoring News, new models, off-road

Exclusive interior: Merc G-Class re-interpreted for today

  • Four decades on comes the latest G-Wagon
  • Unlikely that any two will have same features
  • Still king of the hill – but with more choices
2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress
2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress

CHANGING THE boxy, rugged, angular, look of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon would be a disaster for the automaker – which is why the 2019 version of the now almost four decades-old all-terrain wagon still looks much like its predecessors instead of the rounded, sucked-lozenge profile of the wannabees.

As the automaker says in its media release about the new vehicle: “It’s an off-road legend and the benchmark for so many fans of cross-country driving. Since 1979 more than 300 000 units have taken their owners (and renters – Ed) to places simply inaccessible to any other vehicle.”

Looks, however, can deceive. Though the armoured-car look has changed very little, Mercedes says, “this very special off-roader has constantly reinvented itself”.

2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress
2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress

It adds: “With its completely updated cabin and many new features the 2019 G-Class will have undergone the most significant transformation in technical and styling – while remaining true to itself.”

‘DEFINING LINES’

The distinctive door releases (and the doors’ thud on closing),  the robust exterior protective strip, the exposed spare wheel on the rear door (where any respectable 4×4 should have one),  and the prominent indicators, M-B says, “are extraordinary features that combine with the off-roader’s angular lines to define its special look”.

That this is a contemporary interpretation of a legend, M-B says, is also evident, for example, from the car’s clear geometric lines: climbing aboard the G-Class reveals styling elements from the exterior transposed into the interior. “The round headlights, for instance, are copied into the air vents on either side… the shape of the  iconic indicators is repeated with the speakers.”

The new G-Class will have its model launch at the 2018 Detroit auto show.

WATCH winter-testing of the 2018 Mercedes G-Class

Other hallmarks: the grab handle for the front passenger; the chromed switches for the differential locks – each has been optimised and retained as a character feature. Sometimes, our Editor says, he wonders if Merc and the Toyota Land Cruiser guys share secrets…

2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress
2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress

The coming wave of G-Class drivers will control their wagon’s infotainment system with hands on steering-wheel using touch-sensitive controls that respond to swipes. Haptic impulses allow the driver to keep eyes on the road. The input options are rounded off by shortcut keys for frequent tasks.

SO WHAT’S THE SCHöCKL?

M-B says its G-Class has always managed to combine off-road ability with luxury “in a particularly harmonious way”. “Even in its standard specification,” the automaker adds, “the G-Class’s timeless and authentic open-pore wood trim gives it classical elegance; stylish details include high-quality metal or carbon-fibre trim, and leather upholstery.

Then every G-Class has to conquer the Schöckl. The what?… it’s the Graz plant’s local mountain whose gradients and gravel are used by M-B for its hard – some say merciless – testing. Which is why every G bears a Schöckl badge at the base of its B-pillar.

Didn’t know that, did you…?

READ MORE Mercedes-Benz features on Carman’s Corner

Cabin storage cubbies and hidey-holes abound. “The concept has been thoroughly overhauled, N-B says, “with many new storage areas to give everything a home. Under the armrest, for example, is an illuminated compartment for small items such as chewing-gum, tissues, perhaps sunglasses. A wireless charging socket can be specified.”

Specified? Aw, c’mon M-B, your competitors have the bloody things everywhere… efvery passenger needs one.

2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress
2019 MERCEDES-BENZ G-WAGON: Image: Mercedes-Benz / Newspress

Each rear door can house one-litre water bottle; the rear bench seat has a freestanding backrest, for maximum variability and better visibility through the rear side-windows.

The standard audio system has seven speakers – though a Burmester ‘surround-sound’ system will be an option with 16 speakers and a 590W amplifier.

The rear seats can be folded down to 60, 40 or 100%; each has heating, the fronts have large neck-saving head restraints. Front-seat options include multicontour with  massage functions and hearers. This variant also has power lumbar support up front with air balloons which inflate/deflate according to body load and driving situations.

Two extra-equipment packages

There are so many variants that it is rare for any two to be the same. Standard seats use black, brown or macchiato beige leather upholstery.

COOL CABIN: BMW has always been a leader in high-tech cabin design - seems to have stretched things with the X7. Image: BMW
COOL CABIN: BMW has always been a leader in high-tech cabin design – seems to have stretched things with the X7. Image: BMW

Then there are Exclusive and Exclusive interior packages: the former with a range of seven colours and mixes of . Three of  nappa leather in black and one of the designer colours – white, blue or red – and the latter nappa leather on the door trim, centre console, instrument panel and upholstery.

The sporty AMG Line can be combined with all three variants but involving a lot of red stitching.

An off-road legend since 1979

The G-Class claims to be the top model among luxury off-roaders and has the oldest  production run in the history of Mercedes-Benz: the daddy of all SUVs bearing the three-pointed star–  ít’s why all Mercedes off-road units bear the capital G in their name.

What began in 1972 with a collaboration between the then Daimler-Benz AG and Steyr-Daimler-Puch in the Austrian city of Graz is now a story peppered with superlatives and significant milestones. As back then, the G-Class is still built, largely by hand, in Graz.

Right from the very first, M-B says, product planners, designers and engineers designed a robust vehicle with a combination of reliability and superb off-road performance which, nevertheless, appealed to customers as a fully-fledged, comfortable – and above all safe – exclusive automobile for recreation.

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