When Mercedes introduced the bold, imposing G500 4x4 Squared at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, it said it would consider production based upon the reaction it received. Well, the reaction was good, and Mercedes is pressing ahead with production. The company announced last week that the jacked-up G-Class will join the ranks of the other 2016 G-Class members at Mercedes dealerships ... priced at well over double the standard G500.
With the help of a few other off-roaders, the G500 4x4 Squared dirtied up the otherwise sparkling clean halls of the Geneva Motor Show, adding some serious 4WD (and 6WD) beef. Thanks to its portal-axle propped ride height, the G500 made a bigger first impression than virtually any other vehicle at the show.
Now, the G500 4x4 Squared will bring that indelible first impression to a forest road or 4x4 track near you, though we don't expect the G500 on 'roids to become quite as ubiquitous as the average Wrangler or Defender. Mercedes is putting the 4x4 into series production, and German customers can place their orders now. "Extreme-G" buyers will have to be willing to cough up some dough; the G500 Squared starts at €226,100 (approx. US$254,500), which is more than double the price of the standard €105K G500.
The G500 4x4 Squared owes its towering presence to the genes it gets from the even more extreme G63 AMG 6x6, which was newly tuned by Mansory just a few weeks ago. The six-wheeler passed down its portal axles, which raise the body of the G500 up, giving it 1.5 ft (450 mm) of ground clearance and a fording depth that damn near clears 3.3 ft (1,000 mm).
The G500 4x4 comes equipped with permanent all-wheel drive, an off-road reduction and three differential locks. Power comes from Mercedes' new 416-hp 4.0-liter V8 biturbo first revealed on the G500 4x4 Geneva show car and also added to the new standard-spec G500. That engine has 450 lb.ft (610 Nm).
We can't imagine any G500 4x4 Squared driver spending much more time on the street than it takes to travel between trailheads, but Mercedes promises they'll be pleasantly surprised by the utility vehicle's pleasant road manners. The specially designed G-Class includes an upgraded dual spring/damper strut suspension system with adjustable damping, giving it nimble cornering through the twists and surefooted stability over slick and uneven terrain. We'll dismiss Mercedes' suggestion that a driver sitting up near the sky atop the portal axle-secured 22s might actually mistake the G500 for a sports car, but the vehicle should manage some Mercedes-level comfort and agility while traveling anywhere one's heart desires.
Mercedes hasn't listed all of the production G500 4x4 Squared's hard specs, but the "near series" G500 4x4 concept had approach and departure angles of 52 and 54 degrees, respectively, with a breakover of 47 degrees. The 9.35-ft (2,850-mm) wheelbase was identical to the mini-by-comparison standard long-wheelbase G500, but the tracks were spread by 11.8 in (299 mm) to 5.82 ft (1,774 mm).
Mercedes' production announcement does not include any mention of the 18-in beadlock wheel/35-in mud terrain tire combination that it detailed when introducing the concept car. We can't imagine that the potential buyers that convinced Mercedes to build the model will let the firm off the hook on that option, though.
The 2016 G-Class lineup will start hitting German dealerships in September, and the G500 4x4 Squared will join the pack in December. Mercedes does not mention if or when the model might be availabile in other markets, but it sure would look nice venturing through places like Moab and the Outback.