The Mercedes-Benz G-Class – also known as the Geländewagen or G-Wagen for short – has had an interesting history, particularly in the U.S. market. The go-anywhere para-military SUV has been in production for over 30 years, but was only available in North America for much of its history as a gray-market import. Public demand eventually prompted Mercedes to officially offer the G-Wagen on American shores, where it proved a popular niche vehicle. In fact, its popularity prompted Mercedes to produce the GL-Class, which was originally envisioned as a replacement for the aging Geländewagen. The G was slated to cease production in 2006, but true to its rugged style and nary-unstopable capabilities, it's still here.
Over the past few years the G-Class has undergone a series of (largely cosmetic) updates, and reports now indicate that Mercedes has another one in store for the big dinosaur. While the boxy exterior is expected to carry over as the G's calling card, a few minor tweaks are in those cards, likely centered around the lights, bumpers and such. The cabin is slated for a thorough update, while updates under the hood will see the entire range Euro 5 emissions certified... no mean feat for such a behemoth.
At the top of the range, the old supercharged 5.4-liter V8 will continue to carry the G55 moniker – the last AMG model to do so – until the new direct-injection, twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 comes along, oddly bearing the G63 AMG nameplate. Expect the new-but-still-recognizable G to bow at the Paris Motor Show this fall, with market roll-out to begin commensurately.