Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mercedes May Bring Bonkers G500 Squared to SUV-Crazy America

Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² prototype

The Mercedes-Benz G-wagen is pretty nuts. A nearly forty-year-old ex-military vehicle, the box-shaped off-roader has become an unlikely status symbol, one that Mercedes-Benz intends to keep around for the long term. To that end, Daimler has been playing variations on the funky G: Consider the G65 AMG, packing an absurd, 621-hp V-12. And let’s not forget the ultimate absurdi-G, the three-axled G63 AMG 6×6, which was sold in limited quantities. Slightly less insane, but still pretty far out there, is the G500 4×4², an ultra-hardcore off-road G-wagen that expands the definition of “all-terrain”; it’s been sold in other markets since last year, and now the website reports that it may be coming to the States.

Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² prototype

Motor1 quotes Bart Herring, head of product planning for Mercedes-Benz in the United States, as saying that MBUSA is “very close to a good decision” on whether to bring the G500 4×4² here. Should that “good decision” come to pass, we’ve further been told to expect the G500 4×4² to rumble into U.S. showrooms in the latter half of 2017.

Unlike the 6×6, the 4×4² is based on the G500, which means it’s powered by that model’s new 416-hp, 4.0-liter V-8—that engine, it should be pointed out, is potent enough to send the brick-shaped 4×4² from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds (5.7, to be exact), and it blasts its rorty exhaust note through dual side pipes that exit just ahead of the rear wheels.

What’s most notable about the 4×4², however, is it’s massive suspension lift; combined with portal axles—which use gears in the hubs to allow the axle to sit higher than the wheel centers—that gives the vehicle a massive 17.7 inches of ground clearance. The front and rear tracks also are almost a foot wider, and the 4×4² rolls on your choice of 37-by-12.5-inch mud-terrain tires on 18-inch beadlock wheels for offroad duty, or 325/55 rubber on 22-inch wheels when simply pounding pavement.

Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² prototype

Sounds pretty bonkers, right? MBUSA would be nuts not to offer in in the SUV-crazy U.S. market.2016-Mercedes-Benz-G500-4x4²-REEL

from Car and Driver Blog

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