The big, bulky alter-ego of the Mercedes G-Class that created a ruckus few years back, was spotted recently, thus indicating a comeback

The Mercedes G-Class is arguably one of the best off-roaders to have graced our planet. Over the years, the company has equipped it with a premium interior and an exorbitant price tag, but it is still regarded as a hardcore off-roader and has a strong footing in the segment despite heavy competition. To further cement this perception, Mercedes created a hardcore version of the already-competent G-Class called the G-Class 4x4. The previous model’s production ended in 2017, but it looks like the monster is back.

The new G-Class 4x4 was spied undergoing high-altitude testing in the Alps and it looked a lot bulkier and monstrous than its normal self – especially the wheel arches – thus reigniting the news of the 4x4 making a comeback. Are we excited? Hell yeah!

This Is A Comeback We Were Waiting For Since The New-Gen G-Class Debuted

2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4X4 Exterior Spyshots
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The G Class 4x4 looks at home here. The SUV is riding on some pretty big tires which are accommodated well in those wide wheel arches. Since the 4x4 rides quite high off the ground, Mercedes has even equipped it with side steps. There is a large spare wheel mounted on the tailgate too. There is a spoiler on the roof at the front that seems to be hiding an LED bar. and we can also see some big brakes with drilled discs inside those wheels.

The previous-gen G-Class 4x4 came with a lot of fascinating specs. For starters, the SUV was equipped with 22-inch wheels wrapped in 325/55 tires. The ground clearance was rated at 17.7 inches, which enabled a wading depth rating of 39.3 inches. The track width was increased by 11.7 inches when compared to the standard G-Class. The highlight, however, was the set of portal axles.

What Are Portal Axles?

2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4X4 Exterior Spyshots
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Since portal axles aren’t very common, here’s a simple understanding of it for the uninitiated.
When you upgrade the size of the tires on your vehicle the gear ratios tend to get messed up. This also leads to a loss of power. However, with the portal axles, there are a couple of advantages.

The axle doesn’t drive the wheels directly. A small gearbox of sorts is attached at the end of each wheel that transfers moves the wheels without the loss of power as the gear ratios remain close to the factory configuration.

This helps you capitalize on all the power available at your disposal to move the vehicle effortlessly.

When the vehicle is equipped with a lift kit, the body that is lifted but the differential below stays at the same height (same as the standard G-Class, in this case). With portal axles, the differential itself is raised off the ground. You are benefited with extra ground clearance without worrying about the obstacles hitting and damaging the differential. It is partly because of portal axles that the Mercedes G-Class 4x4 came with a ground clearance of 17.7 inches. This also helps increase off-road stability immensely. If you are into hardcore, technical off-roading, portal axles are the way to go, but they are super expensive and thus don’t feature often in production vehicles.

Final Thoughts

2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4X4 Exterior Spyshots
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The previous-gen G-Class 4x4 was powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that 422 horses at 5,250 rpm and 450 pound-feet of twist at 2,250 rpm. This time around, we could see the same mill with similar outputs, but Mercedes could make it even wilder by offering an AMG version of this bulky SUV. Although the prices will shoot through the roof, there will be a demand for it given the response of the previous-gen 4x4.

Engine 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8
Horsepower 422 HP @ 5,250 RPM
Torque 450 LB-FT@ 2,250 RPM
2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 4X4 Exterior Spyshots
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There is no word on the debut since Mercedes hasn’t even officially announced it yet, but expect it to be revealed by the end of 2020 or early 2021. The previous-gen 4x4’s production ended in October 2017 and at that time, the company put a price tag of €231,693 on it, which is approximately $275,000 as per current conversion rates. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the upcoming G-Class 4x4 goes north of $300,000. An AMG version could make it even dearer.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Mercedes G-Class 4x4? Share them with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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