It’s the G63 AMG 6x6 without the extra axle

We’ve know Mercedes-Benz has been testing a two-axle version of its massive G63 AMG 6x6 since last November when the high-riding SUV was spotted covered in lime green camo. Now the first official image has landed on the internet and is promising good things for the upcoming 2015 Geneva Motor Show.

Mercedes has also released the beast’s official name as well – the G500 4x4². Yep, the four-by-four-squared. While math nerds everywhere will cry, “The G500 doesn’t have 64 wheels,” the name is admittedly unique and should help draw attention to this already eye-catching monster.

So what’s the G500 4x4² all about? Well basically it shares the same underpinnings as the triple-axled G63 AMG 6x6, including the massive wheel and tire combination, the portal axles, and the larger fender flares. Unfortunately, the G500 4x4² doesn’t share the same 5.5-liter biturbo V-8 front the G63 AMG 6x6, but rather resorts to an all-new engine: a 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 that’s good for 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Thankfully for our European friends, that engine meets the Euro 6 emissions standard slated to take hold in 2016.

Regardless, the 4x4² should still be a beastly machine that looks right at home in Dubai or on the streets of Rodeo Drive.

Update 06/10/2016: Mercedes-Benz has officially announced the G550 4x4² will arrive in the United States for the 2017 model year. It also comes with a name change. Gone is the G500 nomenclature, replaced by the G550 name. The drivetrain specs remain unchanged. The lifted G-Wagen should arrive at dealerships in early 2017. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Click ’Continue Reading’ for more about the Mercedes-Benz G 500 4x4².

  • 2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4²
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    seven-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    382
  • Torque @ RPM:
    391
  • Displacement:
    5.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.0 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    135 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, 4WD
  • Price:
    175000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • body style:

Mercedes G500 4x4² In Action


Exterior

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 618421
2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 617677

In comparison to the gargantuan G63 6x6, the G500 4x4² looks almost unaltered. It’s when the 4x4² and a conventional G-Wagen are side by side that the differences are blatant. The portal axles keep the suspension lift to a minimum while pushing the tires further towards the ground. This gives the 4x4² an insanely tall stance without making it unstable.

Most of the body remains the same as a conventional G-Wagen, save for the larger fender fares and the light bar across the top of the windshield. Those two pieces are crafted from carbon fiber – you know, to save weight.

As you can see by the difference in exterior dimensions below, the G500 4x4² is much taller and capable off road. Its ground clearance grows from 8.26 inches to a whopping 17.71 inches while its approach and departure angles increase from 36 and 27 degrees respectively to a trail-busting 52 and 54 degrees. Amazingly, the G500 4x4²’s tipping angle only increases by two degrees over the long-wheelbase G500 thanks to its portal axles and wider stance.

Mercedes will offer two wheel and tire packages with the G500 4x4². The more street-ready pair includes a 22-inch wheel with more all-terrain based tires sized at 325/55, while the more capable off-road set comes with 18-inch beadlock wheels wrapped in 37 x 12.5 mud terrain tires.

Beadlocks are certainly the preferred wheel for serious terrain thanks to the outer ring that clamps the tire bead onto the inner portion of the wheel. When bolted down, the wheel literally grabs the tire, keeping it from slipping or becoming unseated. This allows the G500 4x4² to run incredibly low tire pressures for added off-road traction.

Exterior Dimensions

G 500 4x4² Long-wheelbase G 500
Ground clearance 450 MM (17.71 Inches) 210 MM (8.26 Inches)
Angle of approach/departure f/r 52° / 54° 36° /27°
Breakover angle 47° 21°
Tipping angle 30° 28°
Fording depth 1,000 MM (39.37 Inches) 600 MM (23.62 Inches)
Slope climbing ability 100% 100%
Wheelbase 2,850 MM (112.20 Inches) 2,850 MM (112.20 Inches)
Track, front/rear 1,774 MM (69.84 Inches) 1,475 MM (58.07 Inches)
Wheel/tyre combination 9.5 J x 22
325/55 R 22
7.5 J x 18
265/60 R 18

Interior

2015 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Edition 35 High Resolution Interior
- image 572596

Standard G-Wagen Shown
The interior of the G500 4x4² takes after its big brother, the G63 AMG 6x6. Fitted with the desingo Exclusive package, the seat bolsters, head rests, dashboard, center console, and door-mounted armrests are all trimmed in black leather with contrasting stitching. The seats and door panels are covered in microfiber and feature the diamond-quilted pattern. Of course items like heated seats, navigation, and power everything is standard.

As the G63 AMG 6x6, the G500 4x4² will feature the same overhead control panel for the central tire inflation system. With a push of some buttons, the tires will deflate or inflate to a desired psi, allowing the driver to tailor the air pressure for changing terrains.

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² Exterior
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Mercedes is bringing a new engine to the G-Wagen. The new 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 makes its debut here, putting out a respectable 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The new engine produces considerably more horsepower than the naturally aspirated 5.5-liter V-8’s 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. This will most assuredly help with turning those big tires.

The new twin-turbocharged V-8 not only produces more power, but is also compliant to the upcoming Euro 6 emissions regulations set to take effect in 2016. The engine is constructed from aluminum alloy and has cylinder walls with Daimler’s friction-reducing NANOSLIDE coating. The cylinder walls with its coating are said to be twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinder liners, adding strength to the engine block.

Though Mercedes hasn’t published a prediction for the G500 4x4²’s time to 60 mph, it’s suspected to be less than seven seconds, despite the huge tires and added weight. That on-road speed is an easy sacrifice when considering just how capable the 4x4² will be off the beaten path. Its portal axles give it a respectable amount of lift without increasing the suspension’s height. This allows for a more stable platform yet still provides all the ground clearance anyone would need.

Locking differentials front and back, along with the center diff, allow all four wheels to turn at the same rotational speed, regardless of traction. Such capability means the G500 4x4² will be able to scramble up nearly any slippery slope.

Backing up that V-8 is Mercedes’ seven-speed automatic transmission and the permanent 4WD system.

Prices

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 618420

The Mercedes G500 4x4² isn’t cheap. In Europe and other places its sold around the world, prices average around $245,000. That’s a pretty penny for suspension lift, portal axles, and wider fenders. That might be a simplified way of looking at the G500 4x4², but this Benz is by no means an inexpensive toy. Expect prices to remain roughly the same when the G550 4x4² arrives in the U.S. for 2017.

Competition

Land Rover Defender

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition High Resolution Exterior
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This comparison is a stretch in every sense of the word. The Defender might be one of the best off-road vehicles in existence, but it doesn’t come with such modifications as the G500 4x4². The Land Rover maintains a very agricultural feel to it as its interior is spartan and devoid of modern electronic wizardry, despite the abundance of special editions and range-topping trim levels.

The Defender comes powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that makes 120 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The sprint – err laborious shuffle – to 60 mph takes roughly 14.7 seconds. Obviously the Mercedes out-guns the Land Rover in this department.

Despite the Defender’s height disadvantage to the G500 4x4², the Land Rover offers stellar off-road performance and usability. In fact, the Defender is offered in several body configurations, including with a truck bed. This gives folks like farmers the ability to haul more than just people.

Thankfully pricing of the Defender is more obtainable for the average Joe. Defenders start at £23,100, or $35,600 at the current exchange rates.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 617677

The Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² is the perfect next step for the German automaker and its crazy lineup of off-road ready machines. The G63 6x6 set the stage, but the 4x4² is likely going to be a better seller. After all, how many people live somewhere that a tipple-axle, six-wheeled beast with the height of a cargo van is able to drive? The more compact dimensions and the lower price of the 4x4² are sure to bring excited buyers its way.

  • Leave it
    • Not overly practical
    • Still extremely ungainly

Update History

UPDATED 02/24/2015: Mercedes has released a short theatrical trailer for the G500 4x4² showing its awesome capabilities. Click ’Continue Reading’ for the embed.

UPDATED 02/23/2015: Mercedes dropped a series of official details on its new G500 4x4². Continue reading to learn what’s new on the G500 4x4².

Press Release

Only a G-Class can be better than a G-Class. This is the credo followed by the developers with the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6x6, and they are now stepping up a gear with the G 500 4x4². The basic recipe for this overcomer of everything is simple: take the superior all-wheel-drive powertrain including portal axles from the 6x6 – take away one axle – and blend it all with a newly-developed variable chassis and the series-production G-Class body. A large pinch of V8 power with 310 kW (422 hp), a set of 22-inch 325/55 R 22-sized wheels, carbon-fibre body parts and then just gourmet ingredients from the seductive designo Exclusive range for the interior – and the 5-star menu for all off-road enthusiasts is ready.

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
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A new addition to the extreme G-Class model family: the G 63 AMG 6x6 has a model brother in the form of the G 500 4x4². The near-series show car is a new highlight in the superlative-rich history of the G-Class and blends all the advantages of the model series. The series-production models of the G-Class supply the unshakeable foundations in the form of the body and ladder-type frame, which compensate for the considerably increased performance of the G 500 4x4² without any problem and also without any type of reinforcements. The G 63 AMG 6x6 donates an amended version of the ruggedly determined permanent all-wheel-drive powertrain with portal axles. The engine compartment houses a completely new V8 engine with a displacement of four litres, direct injection and biturbocharging. Also new is the chassis with dual spring/damper struts and adjustable damping. Finally, in the interior, the G 500 4x4² occupants enjoy comfort and an ambience on a par with a luxury saloon.

New engine offers V8 biturbo power

The 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine in the G 500 4x4² stands out for its sublime power delivery, the targeted lightweight construction, as well as its high efficiency. The newly developed eight-cylinder features twin turbochargers which are not mounted on the outside of the cylinder banks but rather inside the V configuration – what is known as the ’hot inside V’. The advantages lie in the compact engine design, the optimum response and the low exhaust gas emissions. The piezo direct petrol injection used exclusively at Mercedes-Benz is responsible for the mixture formation. The spray-guided combustion process has been enhanced in the third generation to meet all future statutory requirements. In series production, the highly efficient and economical 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine would meet the Euro 6 emission standard, including the maximum particulate emissions level that will not take effect until 2016.

The V8 crankcase consists of an aluminium alloy and ensures maximum strength with the lowest possible weight. The cylinder walls in NANOSLIDE® technology are twice as hard as conventional cast-iron cylinder liners, minimise the inner friction and thus the fuel required and facilitate maximum mileages. NANOSLIDE® was developed by Daimler starting in the year 2000 and has so far been used successfully and reliably in over 200,000 engines since 2006.

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 618421

Twin sidepipes on both sides in front of the rear wheels modulate the G-typical sound of the G 500 4x4² and master the entire repertoire of potent sports cars - from soft mumbling in neutral through sonorous humming in the partial-load range to emphatic booming when accelerating under full load. A welcome side effect of the sidepipes: there is improved off-road capability, because in the rear area there are none of the usual rear silencers, which could otherwise restrict the angle of departure.

Things are really looking up both on and off-road

In view of the key data for the chassis and powertrain it seems more than logical that the off-road world starts for the G 500 4x4² where other vehicles capitulate. But it is surprising that the new "G" puts in an absolutely convincing performance on the asphalt. Due to the considerably wider track of the portal axles compared with the series-production car (+299 mm), the large 22-inch 325/55 R 22-sized wheels and the adjustable damping with its Sport mode, the enhanced G-Class drives through bends so dynamically that the occupants feel as though they are in a sports car rather than a cross-country vehicle. This also applies to tours on unsurfaced slopes or snow-bound roads, in which case the performance of a high-powered rally car kicks in.

For anyone preferring to use the G 500 4x4² off the beaten track, the optional off-road size 37 x 12.5 x 18-inch MT tyres are recommended. Permanent all-wheel drive, an off-road reduction in the transfer case, portal axles and three differentials lockable whilst on the move will not be found on conventional cross-country vehicles. This results in merciless driving dynamics in all conditions. Even the highest sand dunes are stormed by the show car with ease, whilst rocky terrain is scaled like a chamois, and water is driven through without any problems.

The portal axles developed for versatile applications supplement the off-road portfolio of Mercedes-Benz and are the technical highlight of the G 500 4x4² show car. As opposed to conventional rigid axles, here the wheels are not at the height of the centre of the axle, instead they are situated much further below on the axle heads due to the portal transmission. Therefore, on the G 500 4x4² the ground clearance rises to 450 millimetres and the fording depth – or rather the diving depth – to 1000 millimetres.

At the highest level: the portal axles’ tricks

But the portal axle design has yet more decisive advantages which render complex adjustments superfluous: through the unchanged position of the rigid axles in relation to the chassis, the anchorage points of the suspension, the steering connection and the position of the cardan shafts all remain identical. In addition, the reduction in the portal transmissions balances the huge rolling circumferences in both the off-road and the on-road tyres. The gear ratios, speedometer drive and ABS sensor system also remain unchanged. This reduction in the hub drives also has the effect that the drive torque is first set at the wheel and thus the mechanical loads in the entire powertrain, in particular for the drive shafts, are reduced.

Mobile declaration of independence – the chassis

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 618422

The chassis is fundamentally based on the series-production G model and offers a perfect symbiosis of sporty dynamism and relaxed comfort, both on the road and off it. The new damper adjustment, derived from rally sport, has a decisive effect here. Two spring/damper struts running in parallel are used per wheel. One spring/damper strut works conventionally with set damper characteristics. The second spring strut has electronically controlled adjustable damping, which thus varies the entire damping behaviour depending on the current driving situation. With this set-up, considerable kingpin inclination is possible between the settings SPORT and COMFORT, which the driver can select using a button in the centre console. The switching times between the two modes are record-breakingly low, at 15 milliseconds.

During dynamic cornering the sporty setting performs sterling work, because the significantly tauter connection of the chassis allows higher cornering speeds. If the driver is more in the mood for pleasurable cruising, the COMFORT setting effortlessly dampens all the unevenness in the ground. In extreme situations such as abrupt evasive manoeuvres, the system automatically switches over to the firm setting for the sake of maximum possible handling safety. The comfortable setting also helps during off-road sessions, because the wheels retain better surface contact. Even on heavily contoured off-road terrain, every surface traction possibility can be utilised effectively.

Company with unlimited liability: beadlock wheels with MT tyres

Optimised tyres are available for the G 500 4x4², especially for punishing off-road trips: mud/terrain tyres (M/T) in size 37 x 12.5 x 18 inches on special beadlock wheels. Normally the usual wheel/tyre combinations refuse a traction-promoting lowering of the air pressure for journeys on sand, for example, to 0.5 bar. Here 1.0 bar is the lowest limit, because beneath this low pressure the tyres can come off during steering manoeuvres or ingression of sand can infiltrate the sealing surface between the tyre and wheel rim and thus leads to a slow puncture. Not so with the G 500 4x4². Here special two-piece 18-inch beadlock wheels are used. With this type of design, during assembly the tyre is pinched in so tightly between the two wheel halves and an inner beadlock ring that it cannot slip off the rim and no sand can enter, even in the case of total loss of air.

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² High Resolution Exterior
- image 618423

Should the chassis ever still come into harsh ground contact in spite of an anticipatory driving style and the excellent ground clearance, the developers have displayed far-sightedness here, too, and integrated a robust, two-piece underguard in stainless steel. These means that the most important assemblies in the front and rear area are well protected against impact and more severe shocks.

Sporty luxury squared

In visual terms the G 500 4x4² raises no doubts as to its passion. The voluminous tyres, the huge distance to the ground, the height of nearly 2.25 metres with a width of virtually 2.10 metres and the clear, straight design command respect right from the first glance. Further highlights: the trim with the integral LED light strips above the windscreen and the elaborate partially painted wheel-arch flarings - both in fine carbon fibre - plus the front bumper on the G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG models.
The interior appointments make a sportily luxurious impression. The G 500 4x4² offers an exclusive ambience with the designo Exclusive package. The seat bolsters and head restraints as well as the dashboard, centre console and armrests in the doors are styled in black designo leather with white contrasting topstitching. The seat surfaces and door panels are covered in DINAMICA microfibre and impress with their attractive diamond-design quilting. In addition to this there is DINAMICA trim for the roof liner and the body pillars.

The hub of the "G" world is in Graz

2016 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² Exterior
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The Mercedes-Benz G-Class development department located in Graz is the centre of competence where all things "G" are concerned and is responsible for the development and series support of the legendary cross-country vehicle. Furthermore, Graz in Austria has been the production location for all civilian and commercial G-Class vehicles since 1979. Whether and when the decision on series production of the Mercedes-Benz G 500 4x4² will be made depends on the reaction which the near-series show car receives.

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