Spies capture the next-generation testing in Spain!

It’s no secret Mercedes is preparing its next generation of G-Class – the go-anywhere luxury SUV that started life nearly 40 years ago as a military truck. Spy shots and rumors have surfaces regarding the upcoming Geländewagen, or G-Wagen, but no news has surfaced about Mercedes’ sportier version built under the AMG badge. That has all changed now thanks to our lucky spy photographer who captured a camouflaged test mule running around the hills of Spain.

The new generation of G-Wagen, even sans-AMG badge, is visibly larger than the outgoing model. Its track is wider, its wheelbase is slightly longer, and the overall height seems to be slightly increased. All this in the name of interior comfort and on-road driving dynamics, rumors suggest. The current G-Wagen is notorious for its cramped, outdated interior. Mercedes is undoubtedly ready to update its most iconic and longest-lived platform.

Concerning the AMG version seen here, it’s wearing a taller bumper with larger air scoops, AMG-specific wheels, and wider fenders that accommodate the wider tires. We’ve compiled all the rumored into a speculative review, so keep reading for the all the info.

Continue reading for the full review.

Exterior

2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
- image 697064

The upcoming G-Class will have an all-new body with plenty of updates and new details while still retaining that classic SUV stance. The new model is undoubtedly wider than the outgoing G-Class. Just take a look at the front grille and headlight area. The grille appears to be roughly the same width as before, but the area surrounding the headlights and the space between the lights and the grille is much wider. The angle of the hood in relation to the fenders seems to be the same, which should help it keep its image intact. This minor detail is a dead give-away as to the new G-Wagen’s added width.

"The new model is undoubtedly wider than the outgoing G-Class."

As for the AMG aspects of the G-Wagen, the front bumper is unmistakably taller than the bumper seen on the last G-Wagen test mule. The air intakes are larger, helping feed the high-strung V-8 with extra cooling and air flow. Of course, AMG-spec wheels are present and likely wrapped with supper performance tires sized in a road-hugging wide size. They will help the G-Wagen with cornering, especially when combined with the extra width including in new architecture.

The one thing we do see missing is the dual exhaust tips protruding just ahead of the rear tires. Perhaps Mercedes is dumping the idea. Perhaps this test mule simply isn’t wearing them. Only time will tell.

The Competition

Two of the G-Class’ biggest competitors hail from Land Rover and Lexus. From Land Rover comes the Range Rover. It offers a more modern take on the luxury SUV idea, offering rounded corners, high-end wheels with skinny tires, and a reserved yet refined overall appearance. Still, the Range Rover is fully capable off the beaten path thanks to its air ride suspension and outstanding 4WD system. The Range Rover can even ford water up to its fenders. The Range Rover is for the person who wants a luxury SUV, but isn’t interested in being overly ostentatious.

From Lexus comes the LX570. It’s the brand’s most expensive product and is based on the well-loved Toyota Land Cruiser. In fact, most of its underpinnings are shared with the Land Cruiser. Looks wise, the LX570 gets Lexus’ Spindle grille, which on this application, is rather large. Squinty LED headlights and vertical fog lights flank the massive grille. The rest of the SUV is rather conventional, helping it appeal to the typical Lexus buyers.

Exterior Comparison: Land Rover Range Rover (left) - Lexus LX570 (right)

2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover - image 697230
2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640410

Interior

We’re still in the dark about the upcoming G-Wagen’s interior. No spy shots or leaked insider information gives us a clear picture of what Mercedes has planned. However, rumors suggest the G-Class will use a similar layout and even share parts with the E-Class sedan. We certainly expect Mercedes to move the G-Class up market in terms of fit, finish, materials, and design.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class - image 661162

Note: E-Class interior shown here.

"Rumors suggest the G-Class will use a similar layout and even share parts with the E-Class sedan."

Selecting the AMG G63 option box will surely bring a bespoke interior worthy of the AMG logo. Expect heavily bolstered seats, a sports steering wheel, carbon fiber accents, and perhaps red contrast stitching throughout the cabin. Alcantara and leather will likely be very prevalent.

The G-Class will come with Mercedes’ latest infotainment system from the E-Class. That means the small, outdated screen on the outgoing G-Wagen will be no more. We’re also hoping Mercedes redesigns the center console in a effort to incorporate better cup holders. The rear seats will likely have better legroom thanks to the slightly stretched wheelbase.

The Competition

The Range Rover certainly has one of the most luxurious interiors available in any modern SUV. It’s simple yet refined and, of course, well appointed. Leather and real wood combine with real aluminum for a high-end cabin that’s worthy of the Range Rover’s six-digit price tag. Things get even more luxurious with the Autobiography edition. If its sport you’re looking for, the Range Rover isn’t really the right Land Rover to choose. That would be the Range Rover Sport SVR, It features high-back leather racing seats, and a generally more athletic design.

As for the Lexus, sport isn’t really its thing. Lexus doesn’t offer the LX with an F Sport package, so it’s left being more luxury than racer. Nevertheless, the LX offers a well-refined cabin with plenty of leather coverings and wood accents. A large infotainment screen resides on the center console wheel the analog gauges offer a more traditional look than the Range Rover’s digital dials. The LX is the only SUV of this trio that offers three rows of seating. Its third row splits in the middle and folds flush against each wall in the cargo hold. This allows for a flat load surface between the seats. The second row tumbles forward as well, making the LX the roomiest of the three.

Interior Comparison: Land Rover Range Rover (left) - Lexus LX570 (right)

2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover - image 697231
2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640393

Drivetrain & Suspension

Rumors suggest the next-generation Mercedes-AMG G63 will come powered by the familiar 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8. In this application, it could produce between 571 to 612 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic is said to be accompanying the all-aluminum engine. We fully expect Mercedes to continue the G-Wagen’s long tradition of having a full-time 4WD system with a front, rear, and center locking differentials.

2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
- image 697067
"Rumors suggest the next-generation Mercedes-AMG G63 will come powered by the familiar 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8."

It’s currently a toss-up on whether the new G-Wagen will continue using a solid front axle or whether Mercedes will introduce an independent front end. We’re still betting on the solid axle, though an independent front end would help with ride comfort and steering feel, not to mention high-speed handling.

We’ll bring you all the official information once Mercedes makes the announcement.

The Competition

The Range Rover might not be meant for track day, but its supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 is no slouch. It kicks out 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. A ZF eight-speed automatic does the shifting and it comes mated to Land Rover’s full-time 4WD system with low range gears. The Range Rover also has the class-leading off-road system, Terrain Response 2. It allows the driver to select between different modes for on- and off-road driving. The SUV’s air suspension, ABS system, traction control, down hill descent control, and 4WD system then coordinate for the most optimal settings.

The Lexus also uses a big V-8, though it comes naturally aspirated and far less tuned. In fact, the Lexus only makes 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. That’s rather low in this company, plus it’s a bit low for the LX’s 6,200-pound curb weight. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic that routs power to all four wheels via Lexus’ full-time 4WD system. The Lexus doe offer some trick off-road gadgets though, including a locking rear and center differential, air suspension, and Toyota’s CRAWL control. That last bit is basically a low-speed cruise control that helps the driver manage technical terrain by maintaining a set speed by modulating the throttle and brake, letting the driver concentrate on steering.

Land Rover Range Rover Sport Lexus LX570 Mercedes-AMG G63
Type 5.0-Liter supercharged V-8 engine 5.7-liter V8 TBA
Output 510 HP 383 HP TBA
Torque 461 LB-FT 403 LB-FT TBA
0-60mph 5.0 seconds 7.3 seconds TBA
Top Speed 140 MPH 15.5 seconds TBA

Pricing

Obviously pricing won’t be available until much closer to the G-Wagen’s on-sale date. Mercedes hasn’t even announced what model year the next-gen G will be, so this is pure speculation. We’re betting, though, that Mercedes will stick close to its current G-Class pricing. For the 2017 model year, the AMG G63 carries a base starting price of $141,400. That’s a hefty price for sure, but it won’t stop Mercedes loyalists from buying in. Oh, and those Los Angelinos and rap stars who want the flashiest SUV available.

Competition

Land Rover Range Rover

2013 - 2015 Land Rover Range Rover - image 472230

The Range Rover is Land Rover’s most luxurious and expensive model. It is also one of the brand’s most capable vehicles thanks to its truck 4WD system and adjustable air suspension. The Range Rover offers seating for four or five, depending on the model, and has a decent amount of cargo room. If you want the second row to fold flat, stick with the rear bench option; the rear bucket chairs don’t fold flat.

Though several engines are available, the most powerful is JLR’s ubiquitous 5.0-liter supercharged V-8. In this application, it makes 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough grunt to move the Rover to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. An eight-speed automatic and full-time 4WD system send power to all four wheels. When the going gets tough, an available low range gives extra torque, and automatically locking center and rear differentials ensure torque is used properly.

The Range Rover is certainly not cheap. In its “base” form, it carries a price of $84,950. If you want the V-8, it pushes the vehicle price to $103,195. If ultra luxury is on the menu, the long wheelbase version starts at $108,195 and can be optioned just past the $200,000 mark.

Read the full review here.

Lexus LX570

2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640410

The LX570 is Lexus’ most posh and expensive model yet is very capable when the pavement ends thanks to its underpinnings shared with the Toyota Land Cruiser. When it comes to hauling people, the LX can haul more than the G-Wagen and Range Rover thanks to its third row seat. Combined, it can haul a maximum of eight. Cargo room is also leading of the three, thanks to the folding and tumbling second and third rows.

The only engine choice is Toyota’s 5.7-liter V-8. Here, it makes 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 is undoubtedly the slowest of the bunch, taking 7.3 seconds. The LX does have a top speed of 137 mph, however. An eight-speed automatic is paired with the LX’s full-time 4WD system with a Torsen limited slip center differential that can be locked when things get really slippery.

The 2017 Lexus LX570 carries a starting price of $89,380. Loaded out, the LX can cost around $97,000.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2018 Mercedes-AMG G63
- image 697062

At this point, it is still hard to speculate on the Mercedes-AMG G63. Mercedes will undoubtedly make the SUV more comfortable, more powerful, better handling, more aesthetically pleasing, and more competitive with “modern” SUVS that haven’t been holding onto a thee-decade legacy. We are definitely looking forward to seeing just how good the G-Wagen’s revamp really is. Both the G-Wagen and its AMG variant will certainly be hot items in Mercedes showrooms.

We will continue to monitor the rumors and chatter surrounding the AMG G63 and will report here with more information as it becomes available.

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