Mercedes-Benz is set to unveil the slightly improved version of the G-class at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show but then it very cleverly displayed it at its Web site at the background of an official photograph of the facelifted GLK. This modified version of Mercedes’ iconic military-grade SUV, which has been around for 33 years, will go on sale in Europe this June and will be available in North America by the end of 2012.
The revisions include a restyled grille for the G-class's classic square exterior. And instead of seven, it will now have three prominent slats. It also gets new headlamp inserts with horizontally mounted LED running lights and redesigned mirror housings.
The picture on the Web site didn’t show it but the prototypes recently spotted in public come with altered tail lamp graphics and new alloy wheels. No official details have been released yet but sources said that both of the G-class's standard engines will be offered for the 2013 model year -- the 383-hp naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V8 and the 208-hp, 3.0-liter V6 diesel. It’s only now that the diesel powerplant will be available in North America.
While moving up the lineup, we see that the 12-year-old G55 AMG's 500-hp supercharged 5.4-liter V8 is replaced by a 536-hp version of Mercedes-Benz performance division AMG's twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 in a new G63 AMG.
The big surprise is the addition of a new G65 AMG top-of-the-line model. It gets the same twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12 that was newly confirmed for the SL65 AMG. It boasts an output of 621 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque, enabling the 5,500-pound-plus G65 AMG to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds. It has a limited top speed of 155 mph.
Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class has once again gained momentum after more than three decades, as sales figures between 2009 and 2011 show a rise of more than 50%. So, a comprehensive facelift was done in order to make this classic cross-country vehicle even more attractive.
The award-winning Mercedes-Benz G-Class was further upgraded with a luxurious new interior, several discreet exterior modifications, a new infotainment system, and new safety features. In some cases, new G-Class models also have new engines. All these show that the G-Class’ remarkable evolution continues.
Originally, the G-Class was conceived – then launched in 1979 – primarily as a vehicle that’s perfect for tough, off-road terrain. Over the years, this specification has been modified so as to reflect the evolving needs of car owners. However, its essential character remains unchanged.
State-of-the-art electronics has, over the years, been applied to further improve the G-Class’ already exceptional off-road capability. At the same time, the carmaker has continued to bring the vehicle’s road-going qualities and interior appointments up to a similar high standard as those of the premium saloons coming from the Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart plant.
This classic model’s unbeatable performance in tough terrain, its towing ability, and its luxurious overall presence combined to ensure that the G-Class lineup is still going strong even after 33 years. After over three decades of existence, the G-Class is still considered to be one of the top cross-country vehicles around, and, just recently, it has been voted once again as the "off-roader of the year."