The story of the Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen is relatively well known: Mercedes parent company Daimler and Steyr-Daimler-Puch (now known as Magna Steyr) joined forces and started to develop the G in the early 1970s. Introduced in 1979, the production version was essentially a rugged, no-frills off-roader that could best be described as a German Land Rover.
The G’s target audience started to shift in the early 1990s and many buyers saw it as an alternative to the original Range Rover, which was also becoming more opulent by the minute. Eager to capitalize on the off-roader’s new positioning, Mercedes consequently added luxury features like leather upholstery, fitted more powerful gasoline- and diesel-burning engines and, of course, raised the price. AMG versions pushed the SUV even further upmarket, and by 2010 a vast majority of the Gs built by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, were ultra-posh machines.
Mercedes has just announced that it will travel to the Geneva Motor Show to present a new concept called G500 4×4², which is essentially a four-wheeled version of the G63 AMG 6×6 that was introduced a couple of years ago. Based on the standard G500, the 4×4² gains a long list of off-road-focused modifications such as portal axles that significantly raise its ground clearance, stainless steel skid plates on both ends and 22-inch beadlock wheels. Surprisingly, the 4×4² sits on a stock G500 ladder frame that has not been modified or reinforced.
The G500 4×4² is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that is tuned to generate 422 horsepower – 350 more than the original w460 240GD. Mercedes has not confirmed the engine’s origins but we suspect that it is derived from the unit that powers the 911-fighting AMG GT. On the other hand, the 240GD’s 2.4-liter oil-burning straight-four was lifted straight from the 240D parts bin, though it should be mentioned that bigger engines sourced from the w123 and, later, the w124 were offered over the course of the 1980s.
Thanks to the upgrades, the G500 4×4² can drive through up to 39 inches (a meter) of water and it boasts approach and departure angles of 52 and 54 degrees, respectively. It stretches no less than 82 inches (210 centimeters) wide and nearly 88 inches (225 centimeters) tall, meaning there’s no chance it’ll fit in your average parking garage.
Think it’s just a concept? Think again, Mercedes has hinted the G500 4×4² is a close-to-production concept, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the production version of it bow as a limited-edition model at next fall’s Frankfurt Motor Show with a price tag well into the triple digits.
What do you think, will we admire the G500 4×4² in 30 years the way we drool over older Gs today or will time not be kind to it?