6 key details about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The boxy Benz gets serious interior updates and enhanced off-road capability.

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an ultra-luxurious and extremely capable SUV.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an ultra-luxurious and extremely capable SUV. –Mercedes-Benz

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class was originally conceived as a military vehicle in 1972, and then it became available to consumers in 1979. Like the Jeep Wrangler or Porsche 911, the “G-Wagen,” as it’s often called, has evolved over the years.

For 2019, the vehicle sees some serious updates. Here are six things to know about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class:

The interior of the 2019 G-Class is a welcome update. —Mercedes-Benz

1. The G-Class gets a welcome interior update.

Considering its price point, the interior has always been surprisingly spartan. For 2019, the cabin gets a serious upgrade and now features a new fully digital widescreen cockpit. A digital instrument panel flows seamlessly into a massive COMAND central screen, each measuring 12.3 inches wide.

Elsewhere, the new interior features Mercedes-Benz’s latest three-spoke steering wheel design and an updated center console with attractive spindle climate control vents. It also features the latest version of the COMAND controller in the center console. It has a touch-sensitive pad on top that operates like a track pad, and even lets you “draw” letters and numbers to enter an address or contact.

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The revised interior also gains leg, shoulder, and elbow room in the first and second rows, with an impressive 5.9-inch bump in rear-seat legroom.

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For all its changes, the G-Class continues on with its iconic boxy silhouette. —Mercedes-Benz

2. The old box design has a few new tricks.

Visually, the box outline remains the same, but it features a revised grille and headlight design. Beneath the skin, the G-Class features some structural elements from the outgoing model, but don’t let the boxy silhouette fool you — there are a lot of new parts.

As a result, the new G-Class is 154 pounds lighter and features a frame that’s 34 percent stiffer. But the G-Wagen already had a stiff ride, so to smooth it out, the vehicle now features an independent suspension with a double wishbone front architecture.

3. It has a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The G-Class will debut with the G550, featuring a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that puts out 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to four-wheel drive through a new nine-speed automatic transmission, which should make for smoother shifts.

A drive-mode selector allows the driver to choose from Comfort, Sport, Individual, or Eco modes. Each one has a unique tuning setup for the throttle response, transmission shift mapping, and revised steering setup. It also tunes the optional Adaptive Damping System, which can be optimized for on-road or off-road driving.

The Mercedes-AMG G36 has a more powerful engine and street-savvy manners. —Mercedes-Benz

4. It’s one powerful machine.

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An AMG version of the G-Class will debut following the G550, dubbed the Mercedes-AMG G63. It will feature a grille inspired by the Mercedes-AMG GT R supercar. It will boast a version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, but tuned to put out 577 horsepower and 621 pound-feet of torque.

Mercedes claims a 0-60 time of just 4.4 seconds — 0.9 seconds faster than the previous model — en route to a top speed of 137 miles per hour, which can be raised to 149 miles per hour with the optional Driver’s Package.

For all its luxury, the G-Class can venture places other SUVs not dare. —Mercedes-Benz

5. It offers a namesake ‘G-Mode,’ too.

In addition to the previously mentioned drive modes, the G-Class offers “G-Mode,” which can be activated any time one of the three differentials or low range is engaged. In this mode, the accelerator, gearing, and steering are all tuned to optimize off-road driving. It also re-tunes the Adaptive Damping system for off-road driving, and is denoted by a “G-Mode” light in the instrument panel.

The G-Class can ford through 27.6 inches of water. —Mercedes-Benz

6. It has increased capability.

To help optimize G-Mode, the break-over angle (the angle of cresting a hill) and approach angle (crawling from flat to steep incline) are both improved. Oh, and in case you leave the G-Class on the beach down the Cape and the tide comes in, the G-Class now has the ability to ford through 27.6 inches of water, a 3.9-inch increase over the previous model.

Pricing has not yet been announced. The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G550 will go on sale later this year.