It's among the elite pantheon of off-roaders that are universally recognized and respected for its capability, so any changes made to the Mercedes-Benz G-Class need to be made carefully so as to not dilute the inherent essence of the iconic vehicle. So strong was the affection for the traditional G-Class that plans to replace it with the ML-based GL were canceled to sell the two models side-by-side.

The exterior styling and basic configuration of the G-Class have barely changed since its introduction in the late '70s, although it has received powertrain and equipment updates over the years to keep it competitive with more modern rivals. However, the iconic G-Class is about to receive its most extensive makeover to date. Autocar is reporting that the new model, due in 2017, will be four inches wider than the current model, bringing overall width to around 73 inches. The width increase is being done mainly to make the cabin more accommodating and to add wider seats. The interior is also expected to get updated technology and styling to bring it in line with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup.

Despite the increase in width and content, Mercedes is targeting a weight decrease of more than 400 pounds. To achieve that goal, greater use of aluminum will be utilized, although it's unknown if the use will be as extensive as in the 2015 Ford F-150 or the Range Rover.

In terms of powertrains, it's expected to get both gas and diesel versions of Mercedes' next-generation I-6 engines, and a high-performance AMG version of the G-Class is expected after the debut of the regular models. A nine-speed automatic is expected to be paired with all powertrains.

Source: Autocar