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You have to applaud Mercedes-Benz for its commitment to the iconic piece of badassery that is the Geländewagen. It's an old-school, off-road beast packed with the latest comfort and technology features. Beyond that, it just oozes cool, especially with AMG badges or, you know, six wheels. And the best part is, it's here to stay. Bart Herring, Mercedes' general manager of product planning in the United States says the G-Class will be sticking around "for the long term," and for the U.S. market, that could mean the addition of a new model.

We're specifically talking about the butch-to-the-max G500 4x4² that went on sale in parts of Europe last year; Herring says the company is "very close to a good decision" regarding U.S. sales of this lifted, go-anywhere G-Wagen. The 4x4² essentially uses all the same hardware as a standard G550 – including a new, 4.0-liter, biturbocharged V8 – but rides on 22-inch wheels wrapped in 325/55-series tires, and has all of the necessary suspension upgrades (lift!) to make it even more capable off-road.

For 2016, the G-Class adds a number of improvements, including an ever-so-slightly tweaked front fascia and a more expansive color palette (with some awesome, bright hues). Even better is the aforementioned 4.0-liter V8 that slots under the hood of the G550. And of course, let's not forget about the 621-horsepower AMG G65 that now joins the G63 in the U.S. market.

No, the G-Class doesn't sell in huge volumes, but it's a hand-built work of art that proudly cements itself as the core of Mercedes' whole SUV strategy – the company says there's a little bit of G in every utility vehicle it sells. In 2015, G-Class sales rose 15 percent in the U.S. market, so there's clearly healthy demand. Hopefully the 2016 model year updates only increase this momentum, and that Mercedes uses this success as leverage to add the 4x4² to the American lineup.

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Gallery: Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4²

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