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New Mercedes-Benz G-Class to carry on styling tradition

Teaser images show thoroughly modern interpretation of classic interior

Mercedes-Benz G-Class cockpit

Mercedes-Benz is teasing the new-generation G-Class ahead of its planned world debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and it’s an inside job.

The company released images of the new G-Class interior, being careful to not reveal too much of the exterior. But when you think about it, the G-Class has retained its high, boxy shape since it went into development in 1972, and spy photos of the new model indicate that’s not going to change.

So, it’s going to look like the 300,000-plus G-wagens we’ve seen over the past 40 years — large, fender-mounted front indicator lights, round headlights in square bezels, distinctive door handles, large rub strip character line that runs the length of the sport-utility at door-handle height, hatchdoor mounted spare. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at the interior.

Though the big changes happen inside, the interior is, like the exterior, more evolutionary than revolutionary, with new interpretations of traditional cues like the round vents to mirror the headlights, and the speakers meant to mirror the indicator light pods. Hallmark cues like the grab handle in front of the front passenger, and chrome switches for the differential locks are again carried over.

Unlike most modern vehicles that control infotainment system items through a touchscreen or console-mounted control pad, the G-Class has touch sensitive control buttons on the steering wheel that react to swipes much in the same way a touchscreen does. Touch feedback and auditory feedback through the speakers, allows the driver to know his desired actions are being processed.

Although the modern touchscreen is available in the totally redesigned instrument panel (including twin 12.3-inch screens that blend into a wide-screen cockpit), the standard fitment features classic tube-look analogue dials.

Natural and manufactured materials, such as wood and leather, and metal and carbon-fibre, blend together to provide an interior to suit all tastes. A 7-speaker sound system is standard, but can be swapped out for a Burmester 16-speaker surround sound system with a digital sound processing 590-watt amp.

The front seats are multi-way adjustable, climate controlled, and can be optioned up to respond to vehicle dynamics and include a massage feature. The rear seats go down in a 60/40 split, and are also heated.

And just like many performance cars prove their mettle on the Nürburgring, so all G-Class offerings must earn their “Schöckl proved” badge, indicating it has conquered the testing ground on the merciless slopes of the 1,445-metre mountain near Graz, Austria, where the SUVs are manufactured.

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