Snapshot: Only a G-Class can be better than a G-Class. The near-series show car G 500 4×4² is a new highlight in the history of Mercedes-Benz's G-Class and blends all the advantages of the model series.
This is the credo followed by the developers with the Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6, and they are now stepping up a gear with the G 500 4×4². The basic recipe for this overcomer of everything is simple: take the superior all-wheel-drive powertrain including portal axles from the 6×6 – take away one axle – and blend it all with a newly-developed variable chassis and the series-production G-Class body.
The 4.0 liter V8 biturbo engine in the G 500 4×4² 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 V8 crankcase consists of an aluminum 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, minimize the inner friction and thus the fuel required and facilitate maximum mileages.
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.
In view of the key data for the chassis and powertrain it seems logical that the off-road world starts for the G 500 4×4² where other vehicles capitulate. But it is surprising that the new “G” puts in an absolutely convincing performance on the asphalt. 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 in 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.
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. Even the highest sand dunes are stormed by the show car with ease, whilst rocky terrain and water is driven through without any problems. The portal axles developed for versatile applications are the technical highlight of the G 500 4×4² show car. Therefore, on the G 500 4×4² the ground clearance rises to 450 millimeters and the fording depth to 1000 millimeters.
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.
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 center console. The switching times between the two modes are record-breakingly low, at 15 milliseconds.
Optimized tires are available for the G 500 4×4², especially for punishing off-road trips: mud/terrain tires (M/T) in size 37 x 12.5 x 18 inches on special beadlock wheels. Not so with the G 500 4×4². Here special two-piece 18-inch beadlock wheels are used. With this type of design, during assembly the tire 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.
In visual terms the G 500 4×4² raises no doubts as to its passion. The voluminous tires, the huge distance to the ground, the height of nearly 2.25 meters with a width of virtually 2.10 meters 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 fiber – plus the front bumper on the G 63 AMG and G 65 AMG models.
Photography courtesy of Mercedes-Benz