Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4-2 Going Into Production Immediately
Portal Axles Trickle Down from 6x6
First shown as a concept in February, the Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4-2 (read that “4x4 squared”) brought Unimog and G-Class 6x6 technology down to a more affordable, user-friendly level. Featuring a formidable 17.7 inches of ground clearance and 39 inches of wading depth, the 4x4-2 is equipped with in-hub portal axles, dual springs and shocks in each wheel, and a new-for-the-model 4.0L twin-turbocharged gasoline V-8. All that should combine for some excellent performance both on- and off-road, and the 4x4-2 could be the most capable Mercedes-Benz ever, except for the otherworldly G63 AMG 6x6 or the medium-duty Unimog.
Well, we now have official word that the company will be putting the capable G500 into production, at least for certain markets. Starting at more than double the price of a standard G500 (or G550, in the American market), the 4x4-2 likely won’t see too much duty off-road, instead relegated to the valet parking in front of department stores and Michelin-rated restaurants. Twenty-two–inch wheels will help it blend in with those locales, as will huge 325/55R22 tires. Estimated starting price for Germany will be 226,100 euros ($256,748, at current exchange rates), while the standard G500 runs for 105,035.35 euros, which is about the same as a G550 in our market.
In typical PR-hyperbole fashion, Mercedes-Benz promises that the G500 4x4-2 will be a jack-of-all-trades. Four of the eight shocks (one on each wheel) are adjustable via a dash-mounted selector. Sport mode guarantees that the G will fool its occupants into thinking they’re in a sports car when attacking paved corners, while snow and gravel will reveal the “performance of a high-powered rally car.” Uh huh.
Regardless of how stretched that truth may be, there will be no denying the G-wagen’s popularity or luxury. A refreshed, more luxurious interior will come standard on all 2016 G-Class SUVs, and the 4x4-2 will offer its buyers a completely unique stylistic statement with its hidden axles, wider track, and unique exterior proportions. Still no word on its potential for the American market, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.