The Mercedes G500 4x4², a rolling caricature of a car built as a monument to what’s possible when engineers develop a sense of humor, will soon be for sale in the United States. Finally, a few wealthy Americans will able to express their extroversion more acutely than they ever thought possible.
The G500 4x4² will be known as the G550 4x4² stateside, because reasons. Otherwise we’re getting the same ladder-frame truck nestling a 4.0 biturbo gasoline V8 that dumps 416 horsepower through Merc’s 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic through three locking differentials and onto to all four wheels through portal axles as the rest of the world.
Those axles are the G500/G550 4x4²’s primary differentiator. They allow the entire driveline to be lifted, thus increasing ground clearance more significantly than taller shocks would on their own.
They’re lifted straight off the AMG G63 6x6, which is not available in the United States but looks just like a regular G-Wagen with six wheels and a pickup truck bed. I’ve been told the truck was originally cooked up exclusively for military applications, and only offered up to the public after Mercedes realized they had more parts laying around than the warfighters needed. But that’s just what a German who claimed to be part of a G-Wagen fan magazine told me.
At any rate, we’re now hearing the 4x4² is U.S.-bound straight from Mercedes-Benz after its availability here was a “definitely maybe” when we drove the truck earlier this year.
Pricing and exact allocation numbers are being kept secret, but we are supposed to have the truck available through regular Mercedes dealers starting in early 2017.
As it stands, the most money you can spend on a stock G-Wagen in America is $217,900, which gets you the 612 horsepower V12 AMG G65. The 4x4² actually only costs $219,000 in other markets it’s set to be available. Though don’t forget you’ll need another $20,000 for the “High-Gloss Electric Beam” (“Hochglanz-Elektrolichtstrahl”) highlighter yellow paint job.
As for how the 4x4² compares to the rest of the U.S. G-Wagen lineup, check out the convenient guide:
|-||G550||AMG G63||AMG G65||G550 4x4²|
|MSRP||$119,900 (MY16)||$139,900 (MY16)||$217,900 (MY16)||TBA|
|Length||187.56" (plus brush guard)||187.56" (plus brush guard)||187.56" (plus brush guard)||187.56" (plus brush guard)|
|Curb Weight (lbs)||5,724||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|Fuel Economy||13 / 14 / TBA (MY16)||12 / 13 / TBA (MY16)||11 / 13 / TBA (MY16)||TBA (Bad)|
|Engine||4.0L V8 Biturbo||5.5L V8 Biturbo||6.0L V12 Biturbo||4.0L V8 Biturbo|
|Displacement||3,982 cc||5,461 cc||5,980 cc||3,982 cc|
|Drive Config.||Permanent AWD (50:50)||Permanent AWD (50:50)||Permanent AWD (50:50)||Permanent AWD (50:50)|
|Performance||416 hp @ 5,250 – 5,500|
450 lb-ft @ 2,250 – 4,750
|563 hp @ 5,500 |
561 lb-ft @ 1,720 – 5,250
|621 hp @ 5,000 – 5,300|
738 lb-ft @ 2,300 – 4,300
|416 hp @ 5,250 – 5,500|
450 lb-ft @ 2,250 – 4,750
|Transmission||7G-TRONIC PLUS||AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC||AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC||7G-TRONIC PLUS|
|0-60 mph (sec)||5.8||5.3||5.2||TBA|
|Top speed (mph)||130 MPH||130 MPH||143 MPH||TBA|
Mercedes’ press release says they’ve sold more than 250,000 G-Wagens, all handmade in Graz, Austria, since they introduced the vehicle in 1979. That’s around how many Wranglers Jeep sells in a year. For reference, I’ve thrown some of the Jeep’s off-road specs in this comparison chart:
|-||G550||G550 4x4²||Jeep Wrangler JK|
|Max approach angle||30°||51.6°||42.2º|
|Max departure angle||30°||43.8°||32.3º|
|Maximum tilt angle||28.4°||28.4°||N/A|
|Ground Clearance (max load)||9.3"||17.2"||10"|
If you’re planning on putting in an order, make sure you spec it with the real military-spec remotely-inflating wheels. You’re going to need more than all-season sport tires to get the most out of this monster drivetrain.