For German automakers, we'd typically see a facelifted model from them within three to four years of a vehicle's life cycle. So it's a bit of a surprise when Mercedes-Benz updated the current G-Class just two years after it was launched.

The thing is, we can't see anything different on the outside. As it turns out, all the changes are under the skin. Think of it then as a “technical update” of sorts, and it does have a lot to offer.

All changes in 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class are under the skin image

The main highlight here is the availability of a new engine. Dubbed the G 400 d, the G-Class gets one of the newest turbodiesel engines from Mercedes-Benz. It's a 3.0-liter, inline-six unit that's good for 330 PS and 700 Nm of torque. That makes it the most powerful diesel engine available in the G-Class. And while the G-Class weighs well over two tons, this engine is strong enough to propel this heavyweight to 100 km/h from a standstill in 6.4 seconds. The top speed is restricted to 210 km/h.

As the G-Class is renowned for its off-road abilities, Mercedes-Benz also tweaked the software that helps it take on the trails. The 2021 edition gains what the automaker calls the Desert Drive Mode which allows the SUV to traverse soft sand more effectively. Selecting that mode reprograms the transmission for later shifting and also sharpens the throttle response. Desert mode also adjusts the stability control to keep the vehicle in motion.

All changes in 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class are under the skin image

Mercedes-Benz did some interior and tech upgrades inside as well. From now on, all variants of the G-Class will come with the widescreen display that houses both infotainment and instrumentation all in one panel. The only other notable cosmetic change inside is its rear-view mirror, which is now frameless.

Beefed-up security options have been added to the G-Class. No, it doesn't make it bulletproof but it does make it harder for would-be thieves to steal it. Dubbed the Urban Guard package, it has an anti-theft alarm and siren, interior motion detector, theft and parking collision detection, and tow-away protection.

As the G-Class is assembled in just one factory (Magna Styer in Graz, Austria), these updates will likely be seen in the locally-offered models soon.