The Mercedes-Benz Gelaendewagen
(also known as the G-Wagen, or the G Class
) is renown both for its go-absolutely-anywhere capability and for its stratospheric price. In the United States, the least expensive 2013 G-Wagen you can buy, the G550, still has a starting price around $113,000.
Opt for the range-topping, performance-oriented G63 AMG
and that price climbs to $134,300, meaning that the natural habitat for most G-Wagens in the United States is Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, or perhaps New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Ironically, the one place you aren’t likely to find them is off-road.
Now comes word from Car Magazine
that Mercedes-Benz is considering a smaller and less expensive G-Wagen, meant to take on the upcoming Land Rover Defender. Likely called the Mercedes-Benz GLG, the compact SUV will get a modern interpretation of the G-Wagen’s box-on-box styling.
In other words, it will probably resemble the current GLK more than the current G-Class. The GLG will reportedly be built on the MFA platform, shared with both the new A-Class and the SUV’s road-focused crossover equivalent, the GLA
While Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive will be an available option, base models will come in front-wheel-drive. Before you cry “blasphemy,” we should probably point out that the next Land Rover Defender will also start its range with front-wheel drive, meaning that Mercedes is merely keeping up with Land Rover here.
While most GLGs will be powered by 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines (making as much as 211 horsepower), a range of diesels will also reportedly be offered. If we see a diesel on this side of the pond, it will likely be the 2.1-liter version, good for an estimated 204 horsepower.
There’s also said to be an GLG45 AMG version in the works, which should come packing some 350 horsepower, along with a sport-tuned suspension and bigger brakes.
We should also tell you that Mercedes-Benz hasn’t signed off on the GLG project just yet, meaning that the compact SUV won’t be in dealer showrooms any time soon. In fact, even a best-case scenario doesn’t have the GLG hitting the market before 2015.
Although Mercedes-Benz has promised ten new models by 202, we’re not sure if a Land Rover Defender-fighter takes the company in the right direction. What’s your take: does Mercedes-Benz need both a GLA crossover
and a GLG SUV in its upcoming lineup?