• Ener-G-Force previews future of G-Class
  • Hydrogen powered with 500 mile range
  • Unique styling with big tires, fenders

The new Mercedes Ener-G-Force concept previews the future of the G-Class SUV. Mercedes recently showed off the concept, which has a modern look and new features.

Outside, the Ener-G-Force uses many G-Class style traits. But they all have a futuristic twist, much like the concept SUV itself. One example is the concept's fender-mounted front turn signals--a signature G-Class item. In the Ener-G-Force, they have a new shape and a green glow. The G-Class's off-center tire cover is also kept, but it houses a pull-out tool box in the concept.

While many features are retained from the G-Class, others are new. A new roof rack is actually a high-tech gadget. It's designed to collect water that the Ener-G-Force will store in tanks. The water is transferred to a hydro-tech converter, which powers the SUV's hydrogen fuel cells.

The hydrogen fuel cell is another new item in the concept. While the G-Class uses a gas-powered V8, Mercedes says the Ener-G-Force looks forward to 2025. By then, big V8s may be in the past. The concept's hydrogen fuel cell makes energy that's stored under the SUV's side skirts. That energy is transferred to four wheel hub motors, which can propel the Ener-G-Force up to 500 miles before it needs more hydrogen.

But while its green powertrain is exciting, the Ener-G-Force's wild styling is its main draw. Huge fenders, glowing side markers and knobby tires stand out. The concept also features headlights in the shape of a "G," reflecting its name.

"The Ener-G-Force is the vision of an off-roader that, while reflecting tomorrow's adventures, also invokes the genes of the Mercedes-Benz off-road icon, the G-Class," said Gorden Wagner, Mercedes' director of design. "Modern and cool, it could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz."

We'll know more about the Mercedes Ener-G-Force Concept when we see it later this month at the LA Auto Show.

What it means to you: Although it won't see production, the Ener-G-Force proves Mercedes is thinking about the future of its G-Class icon.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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