Tough as the mountains it crosses, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of those iconic off-roaders that doesn't lend itself to change or modernisation, which is why it's barely been tampered with for 33 years.

But that hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz from fantasising about its eventual replacement with this design study, dubbed Ener-G-Force.

Will the force be with this concept when the board decides whether or not to give the green light to a G-Class successor? All they're saying for now is that it "demonstrates how the genes of the classic off-roader from 1979 may still assert themselves in the far future."

The Ener-G-Force design study is based on the concept of a future police car developed for the Los Angeles Design Challenge. It envisions a future in which outdoor activities dominate leisure time to such an extent that cop cars will need to be able to reach any place off the beaten track both quickly and reliably.

SCANS THE LAND

Its gadget portfolio includes emergency lights integrated into the roof, a pull-out toolbox that can be accessed without opening the tailgate and a roof-mounted 360-degree topography scanner whose data is used to adjust the suspension to the current driving conditions.

Being a 4x4 of the future, the concept also has an emissions-free power source. Recycled water stored in roof-mounted tanks is converted into hydrogen for operating the fuel cells, which in turn power the electric motors mounted on each wheel. Mercedes claims an impressive operating range of 800km.

All of this might seem rather pie-in-the-sky right now, but a more tangible titbit is that the company has hinted that the Ener-G-Force's muscular styling could influence the future design language of Mercedes 4x4 models.