Though its moniker has changed, thankfully its technical bits haven’t. Under its tough ladder frame chassis you’ll still find the DNA that makes this special G-Class unique from all the rest, it’s high-riding portal axles. Move over, average person.
Billed as the most capable G-Class SUV ever, the G550 4×4²’s portal axles allow for vastly improved performance off-road, due to their relocation of the axle above the wheel centers, via a series of reduction gears located in the wheel hub.
Over the standard G550, the G550 4×4² offers drastically improved approach and departure angles (51.6 and 43.8 degrees, versus 30 degrees before at both ends), as well as a huge 17 inches of ground clearance and the ability to safely wade through 3.3 feet of water.
The engine charged with providing this colossal SUV with oomph is Mercedes’ big 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8, which offers comparable performance to the standard model, 416 horsepower and a torquey 450 lb.-ft. of torque.
Beginning in 2017, its contemporaries in the G-Class lineup will include the standard Mercedes G550 (starts at $119,900), the 563 horsepower AMG G63 ($139,900), and the V12-powered AMG G65 ($217,900).
Originally developed solely for military use in 1972, the G-Class SUV has since become a favorite of both adventurers and luxury car buyers alike. Since its inception, Mercedes has hand built over 250,000 G-Class SUVs at its factory in Graz, Austria.
The price of the new-to-the-USA G550 4×4²? Mercedes says that’s to be determined, though it will likely sit atop the model range ($200,000-plus). Mercedes has said these brutal SUVs will arrive at US dealerships by early 2017.
Pictured: 2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4² (European model)