Mercedes is Bringing the Epic G550 4x4² to the U.S. in 2017
Until recently, Mercedes-Benz has kept its most knife-edged and hardcore off-road models from U.S. shores. Both the jaw-dropping G63 AMG 6x6 pickup truck, of which only 100 were built, and the rugged 4x4 it spawned—the G500 4x4² (4x4 squared). Now, however, the latter of the two will make its on-sale debut on American shores for the 2017 model year, and it’s no less shouty than before. Meet the renamed 2017 Mercedes G550 4x4². 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. RELATED: See More of the Giant Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 Pickup
Billed as the most capable G-Class SUV ever, the G550 4x4²’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 4x4² 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).
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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 4x4²? 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 4x4² (European model)
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