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 Leisure

Inside the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class

30th December, 2017

By ASWAN YAP

Although an uncommon sight in Malaysia, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (originally known as the G-Wagen) is an off-road legend in some countries, and the ultimate benchmark for cross-country driving. Since 1979, more than 300,000 examples of it have allowed their owners to experience adventures that would have been unachievable with any other vehicle.

Outwardly, the ‘G’ may have changed very little since it was first introduced but, in fact, this vehicle has constantly reinvented itself. Just as 4×4 vehicles of the 1970s evolved from basic machines that served as workhorses to comfortable yet capable alternatives to passenger cars today, the G-Class has also gone through a similar change.

2018 will see the model undergoing its most significant transformation in almost 40 years, in technical as well as stylistic terms – while still managing to stay true to itself. Iconic elements continue to serve very specific purposes, and to give the G-Class its unique appearance.

Some examples: the distinctive door handles and the characteristic closing sound; the robust exterior protective strip; the exposed spare wheel on the rear door; and the prominent indicator lights. It is features like these that combine with the off-roader’s angular lines to define its special look.

Mercedes-Benz isn’t showing what the new vehicle looks like on the outside but is showing off the interior first. It hints that styling elements from the exterior are transposed into the cabin and one of these is the headlamps. Their round shape is reflected in the air vents on either end of the dashboard. Likewise, the design of the iconic indicators are also the basis of the shape of the loudspeakers.

Hallmarks of the G-Class include the grab handle in front of the front passenger and the chrome-highlighted switches for the differential locks, positioned in clear view. Both have been meticulously optimised and retained as characteristic features.

G-Class drivers are able to control the full infotainment system without taking their hands off the steering wheel. The Touch Controls on the steering wheel respond to swiping motions in the same way as the surface of a smartphone. Thanks to haptic impulses and additional feedback from the onboard speakers, the driver can use the touchpad without looking away from the road. The input options are rounded off by shortcut keys in front of the Controller for frequently accessed operating tasks, and by the optional control array for the driving assistance systems above the rotary light switch.

The very clearly laid-out and completely redesigned instrument panel features timeless tube-look analogue dials as standard. In other words, fans of classic round instruments will certainly not be disappointed in the new G-Class.

As in the new E-Class and S-Class, an alternative instrument panel in the form of a large display screen showing virtual instruments in the driver’s direct field of vision and a central display above the centre console is available as an option. Two 12.3-inch displays blend visually into a wide-screen cockpit beneath a shared glass cover. Drivers can choose between three different styles for the displays – Classic, Sport and Progressive – and also configure relevant information and views according to their individual needs.

Unlike the first versions of the model, the new G-Class will have high-quality appointments. Even in standard specification, the timeless and authentic open-pore wood trim gives it an air of classical elegance. Its stylish details include the generous use of high-quality metal or carbon fibre trim, and its leather seats.

The doors are very solid, clear evidence of that hallmark ‘G’ functionality. The stowage space concept has been thoroughly overhauled, with numerous new storage areas ensuring that everything has a home.

Under the armrest, for example, is an illuminated compartment for small items such as chewing gum, handkerchiefs or sunglasses. A wireless charging point here can be specified as an optional extra. In front of the touchpad in the centre console are two removable cupholders and an oddments tray.

The rear doors are each capable of accommodating a 1-litre water bottle. The rear bench seat has a freestanding backrest, so allowing maximum variability and better visibility through the rear side windows.

The rear seats can be folded down to 60, 40 or 100 percent. The seats in the G-Class are equipped as standard with numerous convenience functions such as the Memory function for the driver’s seat, seat heating front and rear, and luxury head restraints in the front.

There will be many variants for the new G-Class that it is extremely rare for any two cars to be exactly alike. At this time, the powertrains are not being revealed but they will be muscular units that can power the G-Class over any sort of terrain.

   
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