Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G

Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G

The Mercedes Geländewagen appears to have been reborn as a rakish concept that debuted at the L.A. Auto Show this week. But unlike the O.G., the Energ-G-Force, as it will be known, relinquishes its predecessor's hearty thirst for gasoline to harness the power of the late Hindenburg.

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That's right, it runs on hydrogen, sporting rooftop hydro-tanks to prove it.

That Mercedes would attempt to go all green with the offspring of its formerly brutish, utilitarian offroad/valet parking-friendly gnarmonster shouldn't be a surprise. What should awaken your, or anyone's interest is that they've — gasp — decided to change body styling that had nearly become immutable after more than 30 years in service.

Ener-G-Force is, dare we say, ruggedly sexy. It looks nice, but also like it could schralp the shit out of a trail or two. Who knows if all that hydrogen hoopla actually works, but if they bail on that proposal and slap a diesel mill into this body, it's likely that people too wowed by how nice looking the rig has become will be none the wiser.

Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
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Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
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Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
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Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G
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Illustration for article titled Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept: Finally Something Worthy Of Replacing The O.G

DISCUSSION

As a general rule, concept cars are supposed to be caricatures. The question is whether or not they pull it off well. This thing... doesn't, and the reason for that is simple: there is nothing to really make a caricature of. Making a caricature of the G-class is like making a caricature of your microwave. Sure, you could screw with the form and the proportions, but you'd be a dumbass as that would leave you with a non-functional microwave.

The beautiful thing about the G-class is that it is the essence of functionality at its absolute purest. The G-class has only ever changed in ways that make it more functional at its intended role. And, quite frankly, the reason that the G-class looks almost the same after all these years is because that is simply the most functional form there is. If there were a better form than a jacked-up box with tall windows and wheels pushed out to the corners, then it would have adopted that form already. Note that it hasn't done any such thing.

So, rather than try to do something that will genuinely improve the functionality of the vehicle, M-B instead decided to throw out a pastiche of annoyingly derivative design cues. Absurdly high belt-line that dramatically reduces on- and off-road visibility? Check. "Blended" door handles placed in impossible-to-reach positions? Check. A couple of random, functionally useless vents? Check. Random hood bulges? Check. Impractical rear hatch gimmick? Check. Unfathomably complicated lighting system? Check. Turtle-waxed tires? Check. Impossibly impractical fuel concept? Double check.

The last time Mercedes-Benz tried this, we wound up with GL-class. The GL is a great vehicle in its own right, but it couldn't replace the G-class. And there's a reason for that.

Yeah, not impressed. Sorry, Mercedes-Benz.