It may not look like it on the surface, but this is the most important G-Class ever.
For the first time since 1979, Mercedes has introduced an all-new G-Class. Yes, you read the correctly. The same car that rappers and Kardashians spent six-figures on was no more than a leather-wrapped version of a military vehicle that dates back to the late '70s. The G-Class may be one of the most unnecessary and underutilized vehicles on the market, but it is a cash cow for Mercedes. The company has long since paid off the tooling for the G-Class, and has been able to sell them for over $100,000 a pop. And that's without tacking on an AMG badge.
The new 2019 model brings the G-Class into the 21st century. Even though the old G-Class had modern features such as navigation, cruise control and heated and ventilated seats with massage function, it always felt shoehorned in like a 16th century castle with central heating and flat screen TVs. This new G-Class has been thrust into the 21st century with the dual-screen layout that we first saw on the S-Class. This dash layout replaces traditional gauges with an LED screen that shares a single piece of glass with the infotainment screen. This is a luxurious new look for Mercedes that will trickle all the way down to the upcoming A-Class.
Even though we adore this dash layout on models like the S-Class and E-Class, we aren't sure whether or not it belongs on the G-Class. Part of what gave the G-Wagon its charm was the fact that it felt like an old vehicle that Mercedes made modern. We aren't sure if G-Class drivers will simply embrace the new look on the inside, or if they will be up in arms about it. G-Class customers clearly want a truck that looks different, which is why they choose it over something like a Range Rover or Bentley Bentayga. The interior could come as a welcomed change that finally fixes the G's biggest weak points, or it could go down as a huge misstep for Mercedes.
Perhaps that is why Mercedes will still offer analogue gauges on the base model G-Class, for those customers who still want to pretend that they live in 1979. Even if customers aren't fans of the interior layout, they will certainly enjoy the added space the new cabin provides. The old G-Class was a massive vehicle, but it wasn't really the most comfortable car to ride in. The 2019 model is longer and wider, which allows for six more inches of rear legroom. Aside from the interior, the biggest changes to the 2019 G-Class are hidden below the surface. Mercedes has not sacrificed off-roadability for luxury and has built the G-Class on a new ladder-type frame.
Like the model it replaces, the 2019 G-Class will still have three differential locks, which allow it to keep rolling when the going gets tough. Even though most G-Class owners will never do anything more serious than drop their kids off in a muddy soccer field, the G-Class will still be able to handle the most intense off-road situations. Despite the G-Class appearing to be one of the least "sporty" models in the Mercedes range, it didn't stop the AMG department from getting involved with the old model. So far, only the base G550 has been announced, but we have no doubt that AMG will get its hands on this new model at some point.
Even the base G550 model is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. This is the same amount of power and torque as the old model, although this new G-Class is 170 kg (374 lbs) lighter. The old G550 could hit 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which was impressive for such a heavy vehicle. Thanks to the weight savings, this new model should be even quicker. In recent years, Mercedes has taken the G-Class to an even higher extreme with models like the 4x4 Squared, 6x6, and AMG models like the G63 and G65. Even though nothing has been confirmed, we wouldn't be surprised if these models made comebacks.
The 2019 G-Class finally has an interior that justifies its massive price tag, while holding on to the looks and off-road prowess that made it special in the first place. We think that Mercedes has done the right thing with the new G-Class and didn't make the mistake that so many other companies have made by turning an off-road icon into a boring crossover. We're looking right at you Nissan Pathfinder. The 2019 G-Class should continue to do well with its target demographic, so we are sure that Los Angeles will soon be crawling with new G-Wagons.