The interior of the original Mercedes G-Class has been nipped and tucked more frequently and thoroughly than almost any other part of the vehicle, yet this second-generation version's interior is unmistakably all-new and vastly improved.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class' high, wide instrument binnacle brow links this dash design with those of most Mercedes sedans-especially on AMG Line models that upgrade the mechanical speedometer and tach to virtual gauges on a second thin-film transistor screen.
The multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift switches is shared with the revised S-Class. But the new G shares its electrical architecture, including the bank of silver organ-key switches that control the heating and air conditioning, the analog clock below them, and the buttons that direct the infotainment system to the navigation, radio, media, telephone, or car screens, with the E-Class.
Does that mean the Gel?ndewagen's look has gone all futuristic? Hardly. All the other design cues hark back to G-wagen's strictly utilitarian roots. The round air vents are meant to echo the (still) round headlights. The stereo tweeters on the upper corners of the dash are designed to look like the iconic turn-signal indicator lights that still mount to the front fender tops. Opt for Burmester sound, and the total speaker count hits 16.
Two more G-Class icons remain. The three differential lock switches are prominently centered between the middle air vents, and a robust grab handle gives passengers something to hang onto when the terrain introduces extreme pitch and roll angles. The low-range selector switch is on the center console near the user-interface rotary push knob. Speaking of the console, switching to a standard Mercedes-Benz column shifter and an electronic parking brake freed up sufficient center console space for cupholders and a 390-cubic-inch stowage bin (adding to the 317 cubes available in the glove box).
Rear-seat passengers are treated to considerably better accommodation that's much easier to access, thanks to a wheelbase stretched by 1.6 inches. Foot clearance from the seat support structure to the B-pillar is greatly improved, and legroom improves by a claimed 5.9 inches. Shoulder and elbow width also grow by 1.1 and 2.3 inches in back, three-position seat heating is provided, air vents are now offered on the B-pillars, and the backrest offers nine recline positions from vertical. An elevated rear-seat hip point and narrow-back front seats promise great outward visibility, and rear cargo capacity is said to be roughly unchanged.
Naturally, Mercedes will offer abundant opportunity for individualization. At the G's interior launch event, 10 two- and three-tone interior upholstery color schemes were presented alongside seven trim choices-carbon fiber, metal, piano black, and four types of wood-at least a few of which could perfectly coordinate with any of the 11 standard and 13 Designo exterior paint colors.
- The windshield and side glass are now curved, but barely enough to notice. Probably enough so that they don't reflect like mirrors, though.
- The doors had to get thicker to accommodate the stronger reinforcement needed to pass FMVSS 214 side-impact pole testing.
- Two elements customers deemed absolutely crucial to the G-wagen were the sound that the doors make when they close and the rifle-bolt sound the power locks make when they actuate. These both seemed authentic on the demo vehicle I saw.
- Aerodynamics: The design team knew better than to set ambitious targets for improving aero on this brick, but the mandate was to be no worse than the original. No Cd numbers were shared, but we were told the more critical CdA (drag area) remains the same despite the frontal area growing, so the coefficient is at least slightly better.