Mercedes-Benz has updated the seriously old-school G-class SUV for 2013, but you’d never know it by looking at the rig’s exterior. That’s because almost nothing changes outside; this is a good thing. The rest of the G-class’s upgrades reside under its hood and behind its bank-vault-solid doors: A new interior, more modern amenities, and a new engine for the AMG model. Last year Mercedes sold only the standard G550 model, but this year the beastly AMG version of the G-class is back after a yearlong vacation. Along with the new engine, the AMG’s badge changes from G55 to G63. It should remain one of the most bad-ass things on four wheels.
To save you the effort, here’s a list of the three significant exterior changes. First, the G gets LED running lights; second, there are turn indicators in its side mirrors; and third, the AMG gets a new bumper and grille. Mercedes-Benz’s brochure for the 2012 G550 describes the truck as “crafted by hand, untouched by time.” Untouched by time, indeed: The G’s styling has changed little since it was introduced as a spartan military vehicle some 33 years ago.
Relative to the nearly untouched exterior, the 2013 G-class’s interior was bitch-slapped by time. Mercedes re-sculpted the dashboard and center console to bring its appearance into this century, and added a color multifunction screen to the gauge cluster. The 2012 G-class had a central COMAND infotainment screen buried low on the center stack; that screen moves up to the top of the stack in the new G, and there’s now a COMAND controller just behind the shifter on the center console. The latest mbrace2 telematics system also is on board.
For those concerned that the G has gone soft, worry not: Mercedes kept the row of differential-lock switches right up near the top of the center stack where they can be easily, er, looked at. (For some reason we doubt many G-class owners actually operate the front, rear, and center differential locks—but the buttons sure do look cool.) The meaty passenger grab handle survived the refresh, as did the pinched-leather door-panel coverings. The steering wheel and gauges, however, are new.
Thanks to: Car and Driver