2016 Mercedes G-Class Could Be Much Wider and More Efficient

G63 AMG 1 photo
Photo: original image by autoevolution
Despite many rumors of its demise, Mercedes' G-Monster is a 4x4… or 6x6 that isn't easily domesticated. It probably has more famous owners than Lamborghini, including Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Kanye and Megan Fox. Not surprisingly, the Germans are doing everything they can to keep their offroading flagship, their square-shaped crown jewel.
Despite its celebrity status, the G-Wagon faces an almost insurmountable combo of tough opponents from other luxury car companies and strict regulations from European watchdogs.

Automotive News Europe
recently published a really long story about the G-Class, calling it a legend and basically explaining why the company sold 12,000 of these thirsty, heavy SUVs in 2013 alone, almost double compated to Ferrari's total sales. Most of it proved only light reading, but a few tantalizing details were also added towards the end.

2016 G-Class could be 10 centimeters wider

After the comprehensive changes introduced in 2013, the G-Class is getting another refresh in 2016. Many reports have confirmed development is taking place, but no prototypes have yet been spotted. The latest report does, however, shed further light on Mercedes' probable brainstorming sessions.

In an effort to make the G-Class handle a little better, engineers are considering a slightly lower roof and a body that's widened by another 10 centimeters, which is almost 4 inches. That's huge news, since it will seriously improve cabin space.

So will the G-Wagon start to look like a Hummer? We don't think so. We started off with one of the pictures we took during our G63 AMG review and widened it by a massive 20%, which is more than what Mercedes has to do. As you can see, it still looks like a Mercedes, not a GM truck.

Handling is perhaps the G-Class' biggest Achilles heel and a wider track, perhaps couple with a few light components should do wonders around the bends. We could also see changes to the design of the front bumper, enforced by new Euro NCAP pedestrian protection regulations. Hopefully, engineers can find a way to make the grille both soft to the tough and sharp for the eye.

Speaking of regulations…

New or updated engines will also have to be installed in order to comply with emissions regulations. Mercedes has yet to give us a clue as to what they might be, but recent reports suggest a 2.9-liter twin-turbo diesel could be developed and launched with the all-new E-Class. Whether or not they can fit the inline-six into the G-Class… or even want to, is up for speculation.

Another great idea the Germans might want to look into is adding their twin-turbo V6 engine. This 3-liter unit making 333 horsepower has been installed on just about every model from the C-Class to the SL-Class roadster. A performance version with roughly 370 horsepower is also in the pipeline. This could prove a popular choice with buyers who want a petrol engine, but not a V8 one.

Fans and owners of the G-Wagon are understandably apprehensive about changes to a car that's stayed the same since 1979. Here's what Roland Kempf, who belongs to a Mercedes off-roader club in Stuttgart and owns two G-class vehicles, said: "They shouldn't change anything on any account, otherwise the legend would get lost immediately. Nobody needs such a vehicle, and it's a legend nonetheless."

In short, the 2016 model needs to change while staying the same or risk alienating fans. Sounds like Mercedes has a tough balancing act on its hands.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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