No sooner than we talked about the new Mercedes-Benz G350d Professional off-road version of the G-Class that wont be available here in North America did they announce something even juicier that will.
Arriving early next year will be a new top-end off-road version of the G-Glass, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4². It brings all the butch rock crawling character that I was excited about with the G350d Professional last week, but adds something well beyond that in terms of hardware.
The G550 4×4² has a massive lift, a full dual unit adjustable coil-over suspension at all four corners, three locking differentials, and portal axles. All of this gives it 17-inches of ground clearance. Yeah…17-inches of ground clearance, that’s what I said.
It’s all about the portal axles, they make all of this possible. It’s a design most seen on purpose built military vehicles, the axles featuring gear drive hubs at each end that locate the drive wheel well below the axle’s axis.
This allows the front and rear solid axles to remain mounted to the stock ladder frame and all of the linkages and steering to retain their stock geometry. Furthermore, the drivelines retain their proper angles and it all just works better for durability and wear.
The design results in an undercarriage free of low hanging fruit that can be damaged in the most severe of off-roading. It also changes the game for its capability, giving it a damn right astounding 51.6 degree approach angle, a departure angle of 43.6 degrees and a breakover of 47.4.
The 11-inch net lift allows the G550 4×4² to ford water 16-inches deeper than the stock G550, now over 39-inches deep. Getting the picture here? Now these numbers aren’t quite up there with the Hummer H1, but they’re far beyond about anything else you can buy today at a dealership showroom.
While the G350d was sexy with its diesel engine, the 4×4² will be powered by the same 416 horsepower 4.0-liter twin turbocharged V8 found in the garden variety G550. A 7-speed automatic takes power to a permanent all-wheel-drive system that has a native 50:50 torque split.
You can however lock any one of the three differentials for a 100% lock wherever you need it such that should only one wheel have traction you’re still moving. And the low range knocks the drive ratio down to 1:2 for easy control and crawling.
It looks the part too. Exterior design is beefed up with wider fenders and flares. You’ll also notice dual side exhaust pipes on both sides. Wheels in the photos we see here are either a designer alloy or a bead-lock style alloy.
The interior will be stock G550 with a full infotainment and navigation system. But while it will still be posh inside, there are some tradeoffs for its 11-inch overall lift.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4² (European model shown)The first is that the rear fuel tank is now exposed such that a not so pretty guard had to be fashioned. This is a Euro-Spec model here, what we get for U.S. crash standards might be even more substantial. The second is that at 88-inches tall, it’s not going to fit in some standard garages unless you have a taller than normal door. It’s also wider by about 10-inches overall, so well you get the idea.
Chances are if you can afford this thing, you have a big garage or you can build an extra one because it’s gonna be expensive. The Mercedes-Benz materials we have show it as the top model in a range that currently starts at $119,900 and goes up to $217,900.
So when they price the Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4² to go on sale early in 2017 my friends, don’t be surprised if its price tag starts with a two, and it comes with a sizable gas guzzler tax. I still want one though, as I miss my Hummer H2 dearly. I will announce my GoFundMe page soon!