Updated 2017 Mercedes G-Class caught in AMG form

Overhauled version of Merc's tough old G-Class off-roader revealed in spy shots, with new Mercedes-AMG model on the way too

The iconic Mercedes G-Class looks set for a major update in 2017, with some of the most significant revisions to the boxy, utilitarian off-road stalwart since its introduction in 1979.

Affectionately known as the G-Wagen by its fans, the new Mercedes G-Class is seen here in spy shots that confirm it will not adopt an all-new design language. Instead, the traditional, boxy form remains intact. Old-school details such as the spare wheel on the boot, squared off wheel-arches, and the plastic strip running the length of the car linking the door handles are also still in place. Loyal fans and customers didn’t want that iconic look to change, so it’s the under-the-skin improvements that are more important.

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After 37 years in production and numerous facelifts, the Mercedes G-Class' target market has shifted significantly. Jointly developed with military vehicle manufacturer Steyr-Daimler-Puch, It’s now more of a Chelsea tractor than a fixture on the battlefield. The upcoming version should address that shift when it is unveiled, with more focus on improving on-road performance, comfort and practicality.

It’s reported that the new G-Class will be a wider car by as much as 100mm, thanks to a heavily revised platform under the skin. The extra width should mean improved handling and stability, and vitally passengers will get a little extra interior space in a refreshed cabin with new equipment. The current G-Class' narrow interior space is a sign of its aged design. 

It should have a reduced kerbweight, too, thanks to the use of lighter materials in its construction. In combination with the reduction in mass, refreshed engine options and the addition of Mercedes’ 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox should make the G-Class both more efficient and better to drive, although it won’t be rivalling a Prius for economy any time soon.

New G63 undergoing testing too

Despite the planned efficiency gains, an AMG version using the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo 'hot-vee' V8 as found in many of Merc's fastest cars should also appear in due course.The engine's newest home is in the recently revealed Mercedes-AMG E63, where it produces 604bhp, but it’s unclear if that output will reduce for the 4x4.

The latest round of new G-Class spy shots reveal the Mercedes-AMG fettled off-roader in action. Compared to spies of other new G-Wagens, this one sports big AMG five spoke alloy wheels, a larger front bumper, plus slightly wider wheelarches, but most of its distinctive design tweaks are still hidden under masking. 

Rumours suggest that the updated Mercedes G-Class will launch in the second half of 2017, and it's likely that the Frankfurt Motor Show in September will be the unveil location. Customers won't be able to buy one until at least the end of 2017, however.

Should the 'new' G-Class become a more modern off-roader? Let us know below...

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