Bentley focused its attention on revealing an all-new concept coupe at this year's Geneva Motor Show, so there was no Bentayga SUV as we thought there might be. That's not to say that utility vehicles didn't have any presence in Geneva, though. While they weren't as strong a fleet as sports cars or concept cars, crossovers and 4x4s had a solid presence anchored by the global debuts of some extremely rugged off-roaders.
The hard, square lines of G-Classes and Wranglers provided the perfect yin to the yang of voluptuous sports car curves so prevalent in Geneva. A few highlights:
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Mercedes-Benz released the details of the 422-hp, portal axle-vaulted G500 4x4² a couple of weeks before the start of the Geneva show, so we knew what to expect. Kind of. Nothing quite readies you for seeing such a big, mean 4x4 amidst a sea of shiny, pretty cars. It was like a ripped, hulking giant towering over top a crowd of fair, petite women and children. That's due in no small part to the 18 inches (450 mm) of ground clearance, which made getting a picture of the concept-defining portal axles a very quick task.
We loved the original G 63 AMG 6x6, but all that off-road capability packed into a smaller, nimbler 4x4 package is even better. Hopefully, Mercedes flicks the green light on.
The only vehicle that could compete with the sheer imposing presence of the G500 - not counting its big, 6x6 brother, which appeared at Brabus' booth as the Brabus 700 - was the all-new Kahn Design Flying Huntsman, the latest Land Rover Defender 6x6 conversion. Kahn stretched the Defender by just under 4 feet (1,200 mm), added a new set of driven wheels and dropped a 430-hp GM LS3 V8 into the extended engine bay. No portal axles, though.
A G-Class, a Defender ... seems like the only proper way to round things out is with a Jeep Wrangler. Jeep did debut a pair of Wrangler packages at the show, but they were rather underwhelming compared to the Renegade Trailhawk "Hard Steel". Described as a show car, the Hard Steel wore a smooth brushed steel suit shared with the teched-out trailer hitched up in back. It also featured larger tires, raised suspension, Mopar accessories and a restyled interior.
Check out our gallery for the rest of the on- and off-road utility vehicle action, including the Dakar winner, the latest plug-in hybrid production and concept SUVs, and a few more thought-provoking show cars.View gallery - 56 images