While it will retain its signature styling cues, the new G-Class will actually be larger in likely every dimension—benefitting rear passengers the most—and it will receive substantial mechanical and electronic improvements. The new interior shots shown by Mercedes-Benz today prove that, with clearly visible added space, additional safety and convenience features, and likely the most modern, gadget-laden infotainment system ever offered on a G-Class.
Immediately upon stepping into the new G, Mercedes-Benz says customers will be greeted with styling that deliberately echoes some of the truck’s most famous exterior styling features. The circular HVAC vents, for example, ape the round headlights that persist into 2019, while the shape of the dash stereo speaker grilles recall that of the fender-mounted front turn signals, another G-Class signature.
Also plainly evident on the new G-Class is a huge new infotainment display, which seamlessly connects to the digital gauge cluster in one 24-inch–wide glass monolith. (Horizontal interior styling seems to be a new theme at Benz, if its new sedans and Sprinter van are anything to go off of.) Mercedes says touch- and swipe-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel can control the entire infotainment, with haptic and audio feedback that allow the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. There’s probably a learning curve to the thumb controls, but if it works, it’ll be worth it for the reduced driver distraction.
One of the biggest benefits, literally, to the G-Class’ redesign is enhanced interior space. The track is four inches wider, improving shoulder width up front by 1.5 inches and in the rear by 1.1 inches. Elbow room grows by more than 2 inches for both rows. Another 1.5 inches gets added to front-seat legroom, while rear passengers get a whopping 5.9 inches of added stretch-out room, leading us to believe there’s likely a wheelbase stretch for the new G as well.
However, in spite of those alterations, we expect the 2019 truck to be every inch a Geländewagen. Mercedes’ earliest press releases on the G-Class promised it would retain its unique character, right down to the satisfying bank-vault click of the door latches. Teasing the new truck’s exterior styling is a little B-pillar badge that promises the G-wagen is “Schöckl Proved,” meaning it’s been tested on the Graz, Austria, mountain that dwarfs the city where the SUV is built (think of it as a decidedly German knockoff of Jeep’s “Trail Rated”). The interior photos betray a steep, nearly flat windshield and vertical side windows, and the new G-Class retains its front, center, and rear differential locks, actuated by three metal switches on the center stack.
As expected for a Mercedes-Benz halo model, the new G-Class will be lavishly appointed. One of the interior photo models boasts authentic, gorgeously grained open-pore wood trim and another genuine carbon fiber, while both get tasteful swaths of real metal and lots of leather. Two different interior specifications will be available: Exclusive Interior and Exclusive Interior Plus. Both get leather seating and a variety of trim options, while Plus gets leather applied to the door panels, center console, and instrument panel. Diamond-stitched seats come along for the ride, too.
Benz confirmed the new G-Class would be revealed in full in one month, at the 2018 North American International Auto Show. Retail deliveries will start by about this time next year; we’ll start holding our breath now, because this is one new SUV we’re excited for.