If the current G63’s driving dynamics are a revelation versus the old G-Class, the changes to its interior are something else again – like stepping off the Cutty Sark and into the latest iteration of the Starship Enterprise.
While you still sit high enough to stare down at Range Rover drivers and have a fantastic view of the long, flat bonnet, you can tell this is a new car rather than a rehash of something that was launched at the time Margaret Thatcher was coming to power.
Sit behind the flat-bottomed steering wheel and you’re greeted by a pair of 12.3in digital displays – one for infotainment and one replacing conventional dials. Both are easy to read and configurable and have pin-sharp graphics.
Although the infotainment system is controlled mainly by a rotary dial between the front seats, there’s also a touchpad that you can use for handwriting. Alternatively, there are touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel – the left one for infotainment and the right for the dials.
While that sounds confusing, you soon learn to operate the system with ease via a combination of the rotary dial and steering wheel touchpads. And once you’ve got past the slightly confusing menu structure and occasionally laggy menus, it’s a system that is beaten only by BMW’s iDrive. As you’d hope for with such a hefty purchase price, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard, as is a decent-sounding 590W Burmester surround-sound hi-fi.
Elsewhere, buttons and other controls work with pleasing precision and there are enough G-Class styling cues – the passenger grab handle and three centrally positioned diff lock buttons – to let you know what you’re sitting in.
The driving position is also a big upgrade and very hospitable. The steering wheel, seat and pedals line up well, there’s a reasonable amount of room for your left foot and you feel a lot less hemmed in than in the previous model, thanks to considerably more interior width. The unusually flat, upright windscreen and thin dashboard make it feel airy and give it a retro feel.
While the standard electric seat with memory should, in theory, allow anyone to get comfortable easily, the omission of adjustable lumbar support from the standard equipment list is rather shocking. You can choose to add it, along with a sumptuous massaging seat function.
Visibility is generally very good. The square sides and pronounced wheel arches make the car easy to place on the road and most of the windows are huge. The exception is rearward visibility; the spare wheel mounted on the tailgate limits what you can see straight out the back and makes reversing trickier. Still, you get a 360deg camera system to help make parking this massive vehicle as easy as possible.