Mercedes-Benz has redefined the G-Wagen. On Sunday, it revealed the 2019 G550 during the Detroit Auto Show. While the exterior looks much the same as the big, boxy icon, it’s finally a remade vehicle with more modern technology. Like your remodeled Palm Springs midcentury house, you can option for the model that’s up-to-date inside. That’s important, given that Mercedes’ most upmarket customers pick this car over any other SUV in their lineup. It’s a retro-looking unapologetic car that actually works in the modern-tech world.
We are told that G will incorporate voice assistance, a system that actually works. We tried out the MBUX voice assistant at CES in the A-Class prototype. It works as logically as Alexa. Its voice assistant has two TFT screens, and makes it feel like a modern car on the inside. As a standard system, the instrument cluster is as analog as something can get in 2018, which was all that was shown in the Detroit preview. But we were told you can option for the MBUX system.
The G-Wagen is still a style statement, and it is incredibly impractical if you live in the real world. This launch is an attempt to bring it more in line with its sedan, like the S-Class, the flagship vehicle, but mostly to retain the rugged DNA of its past.
It’s worth mentioning the G-Wagen, has off-road skill that most owners won’t use. It’s a system called G-Mode. When you enable the locking differentials or low-range mode, it changes the steering throttle and shocks. Its skills reinforce the invincible image of the original G-Wagen, introduced nearly 40 years ago.
There’s more to come, in the AMG form, the high-performance marque of Mercedes. But here you have the ideal luxury SUV, to drive on your ski resort holiday.