The Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet was the most noticeable rejiggered Mercedes G500 4x42 at the recently concluded Geneva Motor Show, but it wasn't the only one. Leave it to the tuning shops to take one of the most extreme vehicles on the market and make it that much more extreme. Brabus has added power, performance and accessories to create the 550 Adventure 4x42.
We're not sure that the average Mercedes G500 4x42 will encounter anything bumpier or dustier than a posh downtown strip or valet parking lot, but the truck does have some serious off-road adventure chops in the waiting, capable of soaring over obstacles well over a foot (30.5 cm) tall and diving into waters deeper than 3 feet (91 cm).
Using those capabilities as a starting point, Brabus has further prepared the big-G for serious off-road adventures of all types and lengths, adding a full accessories kit that includes a front winch, rugged front bumper and grille guards, headlight and taillight protection, a roof rack with LED light bar, branch-deflecting limb risers strung between the roof rack and grill guard, and rear, remote-controlled LED searchlights. So basically, what the stock truck can't climb over or muscle through, the Brabus kit lights up and fends off.
The firm's work gives the burliest of G-Classes some added capability and helps it look the part of a true expedition-ready 4x4. Further exterior modifications add to that serious, function-focused look. These mods include the carbon hood scoop, carbon side-view mirror covers, pivoting spare tire carrier, and new front and rear bumper and head/taillamp designs. The light slate gray paint quite effectively accentuates the black accessories and upgrades.
Brabus hasn't neglected the 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine, bolting on its own high-performance twin turbochargers to increase boost pressure and send output leaping to 542 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, up from the 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of the stock truck. We doubt many people will be sprinting or drag racing with the 550 Adventure, but if they do, Brabus says they can expect to shoot off the line to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.7 seconds. Meanwhile, the stainless sport exhaust system will let out a deep battlecry as it spits exhaust out of four side-mounted tailpipes, including a pair of visible black-chromed tips on the driver's side.
550 Adventure drivers will also benefit from an electronically-adjustable suspension system, which provides ride height adjustment at the front and rear portal axles. Drivers can choose from four different damper settings: off-road, sport, comfort and individual. The individual option allows them to set front and rear damper firmness independently.
Power-retractable steps help driver and passengers step aboard the high-riding utility vehicle. Once inside, the driver can quickly control add-ons like the adjustable suspension, winch and roof lights with the Brabus Touch Control Panel. That touchscreen also has a "black out switch" that shuts down all vehicle lights at the tap of a button.
The driver's touch panel is quite different from the Touch Control Panels in the V-Class Business Lounge, but the 4.3-in panel mounted between the 550 Adventure's rear seats offers Business Lounge-like options, including control of the power-adjustable, heated and ventilated seats, LED reading lights and infotainment functions. Like the Business Lounge, the 550 interior includes heated/cooled cupholders and a touch panel-controlled security compartment. Things are further "Brabusized" with soft, breathable Mastik leather, aluminum trim and red piping.
Brabus doesn't list pricing, but given that a base G500 4x42 cost more than €225,000 (about US$243,000 as converted today) when it launched, we know the final price is squarely in supercar territory. Buyers can get the whole vehicle in one shot or add the package to their existing G500, either all at once or in stages. Individual components of the 550 Adventure package are also designed to work with the entire current G-Class range.
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