Loved by reality TV stars and sold the moment its wheels hit New Zealand, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is due for a major facelift when it's relaunched in 2017.

British motoring publication Autocar says that for the first time in 35 years, the bulky off-roader G-Class SUV will be widened by about 100mm and it will lose 200kg off its current weight of 2570kg.

There are reports it will lose its famous box-like shape and instead Mercedes-Benz may be taking styling cues from the German company's Ener-G-Force concept car that made its debut at the 2012 Los Angeles motor show.

Mercedes-Benz SUV boss Andreas Zygan told Autocar: "We offer something really special. Last year - the 34th - was the best ever for G-class sales. It's amazing, and one of our idols."


The SUV, also known as the G wagon, is still hand-built out of the original Austrian factory using the panel press machines from 1979.

Each year only 11,000 are produced with 50 per cent AMG badged. In New Zealand every time a model arrives it's immediately snapped up by a buyer while in the Middle East there is such demand there is an auction for them.

The G wagon is also used as a military vehicle.

Famous owners of the G wagon include reality stars the Kardashians - who find the large SUV ideal to outrun lurking paparazzi - plus New Zealand's most famous German, Kim Dotcom.

Autocar also reports the 2017 G-Class will inherit two new 3-litre six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines that are also earmarked for the next-generation E-Class, and will feature the brand's new nine-speed automatic transmission.

The interior overhaul will focus not only on increasing space but also comfort and quality, and is likely to have similar interior fittings as the recently launched C-Class that's due in New Zealand in September.