It looks like one of the biggest, baddest SUVs in production, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, is about to get a whole lot tougher with the arrival of a new 4×4 Squared variant.
Offered on the previous-generation G-Class in G550 guise, the 4×4 Squared option saw the iconic SUV fitted with some serious off-road gear, including portal axles that lent it its now-famous stance. The setup was derived from a 6×6 version of the G-Class originally developed for military use and offered in civilian guise for a limited time.
Our spy shots and video show a current-generation G550 with the same fender flares and portal axles as the previous G550 4×4 Squared. There’s also a roof rack with a new front section that’s camouflaged.
In the case of the previous G550 4×4 Squared, the ride height was over 17 inches and it looks like the same will be true for the new generation. The previous G550 4×4 Squared also came with permanent four-wheel drive, a reduction transfer case, three differential locks, and of course the portal axles. The latter is what contributed to the raised height: unlike conventional axles, portal axles don’t have the wheels mounted at the axle but lower via individual portal transmissions.
Mercedes hasn’t even said it’s working on a new G550 4×4 Squared, though given the almost production-ready look of this prototype, the debut can’t be far. Look for it to launch later this as a 2023 model, possibly alongside a mildly updated version of the regular G-Class. There’s a good chance Mercedes-Benz AMG will offer its own version based on the G63 this time around.
The current G550 sports a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 with 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, while the G63 features the same engine but with output dialed up to 577 hp and 627 lb-ft. In both cases a 9-speed automatic is standard.
You’d best start saving if you’re interested in parking a new G550 4×4 Squared on your driveway. The last one cost a steep $225,925 and we suspect any new one will cost even more.
Mercedes has much more in store for the G-Class. Also in the works is a battery-electric version that’s due around 2024 and may have a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system separate to the setup on the regular G-Class. Recall, Mercedes last year unveiled an EQC-based prototype that’s being used to develop an electrified all-wheel-drive system for off-roading.