Curious vehicle, though. Driving one now really is like stepping back in time, at least from a Mercedes perspective. Sure, the interior has modern gizmos. But the weight of the doors, the clack of the latch when they shut, the thickness of the sheet metal and the very obvious lack of the multi-height air suspension, off-road modes, and the other gimmickry in the modern Merc SUVs we were also driving is telling. Never mind the look of the thing.
It's always been the case, though. The G-Wagen has been around since 1979 and in that time it's carried dashboards and other fixtures and fittings from generations of mainstream Mercedes, right up to the modern day. It's a Merc-spotter's delight - keen eyes will recognise W220 S-Class instrument binnacles from the early 2000s, W124 E-Class ones from a generation or two back and so on. Same goes for the engines and gearboxes, which trace a path through three decades of Mercedes powertrain development.
What I love about the G-Wagen most of all is, for all these attempts at gentrification and modernisation, it's fundamentally still the vehicle it always was. Which is to say an industrially built body-on-frame 4x4 with live axles, locking diffs and a reputation for Defender-beating off-road performance. Don't make 'em like they used to? Mercedes still does!