Why Would You Ruin a Perfectly Good G-Wagen Like This?
New or old, Mercedes-Benz’ G-Wagen is an impressive off-roader. The SUV’s climbed 100% grades, even without extra axles. Classic G-Wagens still have multiple locking differentials and all-wheel drive, making them valuable and highly-capable. And because Mercedes didn’t need to update the G-Class much over the years, the SUV retains value better than other SUVs or luxury vehicles.
But it’s not immune to flights of insanity. Mercedes engineers made production six-wheeled pickup versions, and tuners boosted the G-Wagen to almost 900 hp. Some of these mods have been helpful, others not. Personally, we think Lumma Design’s latest G-Wagen body kit belongs in the latter category.
Lumma Design’s initial G-Wagen kit
German tuners Lumma Design has been evolving its CLR G770 over time. Initially, it was actually fairly subdued.
The first CLR G770 was essentially a carbon-fiber trim kit for the AMG G 63 G-Wagen. The trim was applied to the grille, headlight surrounds, bumper, door handles, mirrors, even the spare wheel cover. Lumma then installed 23” Lumma CLR Racing 2 wheels with Yokohama Advan Sport tires. The tuner also added 68 hp and 70 lb-ft to the engine, letting the SUV’s twin-turbo V8 develop 645 hp and 697 lb-ft. Considering Brabus tuned the engine to 888 hp, this was a fairly restrained first effort.
But Lumma Design wasn’t done. When the tuner launched the CLR G700 ‘conversion program’ in full, it went further. In addition to all the carbon trim and engine tune, Lumma installed a body kit. The G-Wagen gained new front and rear bumpers; the front had daytime running lights, the rear came with a diffuser. Lumma also added a third pair of exhaust pipes, side skirts, and a hood scoop vaguely like the Lamborghini LM002’s. And, of course, there were fender flares.
Motor1 reported the flares alone added 1.57” to the G-Wagen’s width. Doesn’t sound like much, but based on Autotrader’s report, that’s almost wide enough to push the G-Class into commercial-vehicle territory. That might be why Lumma also added roof-mounted, 4-piece high beam lamps—in case legislation meant the CLR G770 needed more running lights.
And now, Lumma Design has gone even further.
Lumma Design’s current CLR G770
The newest CLR G770, in addition to the wide-body kit and extra exhaust tips, adds even more carbon fiber. There’s a new carbon-fiber spare wheel cover, as well as new carbon-fiber mirror and door handle trims. Lumma also install a carbon-fiber roof spoiler. Motor1 reports that even the accelerator and brake pedals are made from carbon fiber.
Before, the CLR G770 came with 23” wheels. Those have been bumped up to 24” ones, and require custom Lumma “performance spacers.” The rear tires are literally a foot wide. However, unlike the previous CLR G770 kit, this one can allegedly be fitted to any 2018 or newer G-Wagen.
Lumma Design haven’t revealed pricing details. However, customers can also add a wide variety of additional customization options to their CLR G770. These range from two-tone exterior paint, to some vibrant interior fabric and stitching options.
Taste is one thing. Clearly, there are customers for Lumma Design’s G-Wagen kits (and the tuner’s Range Rover, BMW X7, and Audi Q8 kits). However, there is a fundamental flaw with these kinds of wide-body kits. As there is with the kind of power tunes Brabus provides.
The problem with G-Wagen body kits and high-power engine tunes
To some, luxury off-roaders like the G-Wagen and Range Rover can seem like another expensive toy. Something to parade around suburbia as a status symbol. But these vehicles are built from the start with truly amazing capabilities. It’s why it feels a shame to see them stuck with Starbucks duty—and what makes it so incredible when they finally venture off-pavement.
Most Rolls-Royce Cullinan owners, for instance, would never dream of taking their SUVs into Death Valley. But that’s exactly what two Roadshow writers did. They entered a $400,000 Cullinan in the Rebelle Rally and won it outright. The only non-standard options on it were skid plates and a tire rack. And just like the Cullinan, the G-Wagen and G-Class have always balanced luxury with serious off-road abilities.
Which is the problem with these kits and tunes. Fitting big wheels on an SUV can help increase ground clearance a bit, yes. But the CLR G770’s tires aren’t made for off-roading. They simply don’t have the sidewall or treads necessary. They’d puncture in an instant, and leave the G-Wagen to wallow in sand and mud. Not to mention all that carbon-fiber getting scratched and dented by rocks and branches.
It’s a similar problem with Brabus’ 888-hp G-Class. To put that kind of power down, even with four-wheel drive, requires special performance street tires. They’re great on pavement, but they simply don’t work off-road.
That’s the problem with Lumma Design’s kits and Brabus-style tunes. In trying to ‘improve’ the G-Wagen, they actually make it worse.