Back in 2017, Mercedes ended production of its ultimate off-roader, the G500 4x42. A new model generation was about to debut, so it made sense to close out the 4x4's chapter. However, it appears, a new one is beginning. New spy photos appear to show Mercedes is developing a successor to the previous gen's supreme off-road offering, and it looks to be taking after its predecessor in all the right ways.
The previous-gen G-Class 4x4 made a ton of noise with off-road enthusiasts due to the upgrades Mercedes gave it. It received portal axles and a raised ride height that allowed for a whopping 450 millimetres (17.7 inches) of ground clearance, giving it a fording depth of 1,000 mm (39.9 inches). The 22-inch wheels certainly helped overcome objects, while the 297 mm (11.7 inch) increase in track width helped with stability. We expect similar upgrades on the new 4x4, too.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4x4² Spy Photos
It's hard to hide the wide wheel arches that are struggling to keep the wheels inside the body in the photos, which gives away Mercedes' intentions for the model. The funky look spoiler at the front of the roof likely hides an LED light bar. Inside, we expect the latest and greatest materials and tech. The previous-gen 4x4 sported the automaker's twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that produced 422 bhp (310 kilowatts). That's likely to remain the case in the new model, though we have hopes Mercedes will let AMG have some fun with it, too.
As of right now, we don't know when Mercedes will reveal the new G-Class variant. SUVs have only become more popular since the first-gen 4x42, and it'd seem odd not to offer it again. Mercedes redesigned the model in 2018, even if appearances stayed relatively the same, so there are likely new customers interested in the brand. Normally, we would be starting the annual auto show season now, but the coronavirus has upended that, so its up to Mercedes as to when it announces the model.