If the mental AMG G 63 6x6 was a little too wild for your tastes, Mercedes-Benz has another trick it would like to show you.
This is the G 500 4x4². It’s closely related to the 6x6 under the flesh, but you’ll notice an obvious difference: it’s ‘missing’ an axle.
And if you’re not an aficionado of all things G-wagen, you might also figure it as just another tarted-up version of Merc’s diehard off-roader.
You’d be wrong, because this thing is as far removed from the regular G-Class range as it is from the G 63 6x6. Further even.
Despite the reduced axle count, the G 500 4x4² sits on most of the same gear you’ll find under the 6x6. (That’s if you find one at all, as Mercedes intends to stop production of the 6x6 at 100 units.)
Starting with a standard G 500, the 4x4² then adds the 6x6’s special portal axles and its three mechanical differential locks - yes, three.
The trick axles see the transverse tube positioned above the centre of the wheel hub, giving the 4x4² a huge 450mm of ground clearance and a fording depth rating of 1 metre - up from the already capable G 500’s 600mm rating.
Even Australia’s military-grade G-wagens are rated to ‘just’ 800mm.
The 4x4² also boasts increased approach and departure angles - up from 36 and 27 to 52 and 54 degrees respectively - and breakover angle has also more than doubled from 21 to 47 degrees.
The tracks have been increased a huge 300mm at both ends, up from 1475 to 1774mm. The space is filled by new 22-inch wheels wrapped in 265/60 rubber, and there’s new extended carbon-fibre guards to cover it all.
Another of the G 500 4x4²’s tricks is its engine, believed to be the first appearance of Merc’s new 4.0 litre biturbo V8 in its ‘regular’ form.
Mercedes plans to replace a number of engines with the new 4.0 litre unit, including the 5.5 litre V8 that powers the 6x6 and a host of other models, so we can likely expect this 310kW unit to appear in a production model soon.
As for the 4x4², Mercedes says it’s a concept, but it specifies ‘near-production’ in describing the big fluorescent mean-machine.
You can bet that there’s already a number of well-heeled would-be owners pushing Mercedes to put the G 500 4x4² into limited production, and the carmaker is unlikely to shy away.
MORE: G-Class News & Reviews