Last year, Mercedes-Benz thrilled preppers everywhere when it unveiled the G500 4×4², the most hardcore off-road version of its already-capable G-Class yet. Sadly for those eagerly awaiting the zombie apocalypse, Mercedes decided not to sell the 4×4² in the U.S. But the bosses have changed their minds.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4² goes on sale here next year, and it’s just as capable as ever. The 4×4² is actually a four-wheeled version of the insane Mercedes G63 AMG 6×6 six-wheeler, which isn’t sold in the U.S. Mercedes removed the extra set of wheels, but kept the 6×6’s advanced off-road hardware.
That means that under that bulked-up bodywork are portal axles. These allows the centerline of the wheel to be below the centerline of the axle, increasing ground clearance. The result is over 17.0 inches of clearance, and the ability to ford up to 39.4 inches of water. Because they uses their own gears to transfer power to the wheels, portal axles also has the effect of gearing the truck down, making it easier to crawl along at low speeds on rough terrain.
For power, the G550 4×4² uses Mercedes’ 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8. It produces 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, and is connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The four-wheel drive system can split torque 50/50 front to rear, and features three locking differentials (front, center, and rear). With all three diffs locked, all four wheels turn at the same speed, ensuring power is sent to the ones that have traction. Mercedes says any G-Class can move forward even if only one wheel has traction.
It may be designed for the apocalypse, but the G550 4×4² is still a Mercedes. Expect it to have a well-appointed cabin and all of the luxury features of any other model wearing the three-pointed star. Mercedes’ Comand infotainment system with 8.0-inch touchscreen and navigation will be standard.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4² goes on sale in early 2017, so hopefully the apocalypse doesn’t happen before then. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but we can assume this latest G-Class model will start at well over the $119,000 base price of a standard G550.