More Than You Need to Know About the Craziest, Yellowest G of Them All
A picture is worth a thousand words, but we’re still going to expend some pixels telling you about the luminous yellow monster that showed up in our parking lot the other week. Drop shipped in all the way in from Graz, Austria, the Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4 Squared is the most awesome and preposterous vehicle most of the staff has ever laid eyes on (but they probably haven’t seen AMG’s G63 6×6 up close and in person). The 4×4 Squared is indeed very closely related to AMG’s wicked pickup, and this particular example was dipped in a vat of retina-searing fluorescent paint. It’s also the only one in the United States of America for the time being.
Join us for a closer look at what makes the 4×4 Squared tick.
Just look at it.
Have you ever? You may think the G-wagen is too boxy. You might not care about SUVs. You might even think such a vehicle is an incredible waste of resources. But you have to admit this thing sliding around in the dirt is pretty damn spectacular.
The G500 4×4 is HILARIOUS to drive.
I drove some colleagues down the block, and we couldn’t stop giggling. Here’s what photographer William Walker had to say after driving it from our office to a dry lakebed near Death Valley: “The G500 4×4 Squared is a mechanical monstrosity and without a doubt is one of the most ridiculous, amazing, impractical, unbelievable vehicles that I have ever driven during my five and a half years at Motor Trend.”
So how does the giant G drive? “Better than a normal-sized one in my opinion,” he said. “The enlargement of everything, including the track, means that it doesn’t feel so narrow. The ride is comfortable, it’s fairly quiet inside, and you get all the luxury and quilted leather that you would expect from a modern, lux Mercedes. It’s quick—not crazy quick, but really you would never drive the Squared like you would a G63 or G65. The driving height does take a little getting used to; sitting almost eye-to-eye with big-rig drivers is an experience that only small-statured rednecks are accustomed to. Overall, the driving experience is a lot closer to driving a normal SUV than you would think it would be by looking at it.”
It’s super wide.
More than 7 feet wide, in fact. The track has been increased by nearly a foot (59.6 inches wide for the regular G, 71.4 inches for the big dog). A problem on narrow roads? Kinda. But really, who cares? The G Squared goes where it wants to go.
It’s super tall.
The G500 4×4 Squared clocks in at 7 feet 9 inches. Yao Ming is 7-foot-6.
It’s got extended carbon-fiber fenders, just like the 6×6.
They are there to accommodate the much wider track.
The G500 4×4 Squared has nearly 18 inches of ground clearance, just like its big brother, the 6×6.
The Ford Raptor has 9.3 inches. How is it off-road? “Full disclosure, we didn’t do anything really that hard-core,” William said. “We didn’t have a support vehicle; recovery equipment and shoveling sand isn’t my kind of fun. Drifting it and doing doughnuts among the dunes was as adventurous as I wanted to get, and the G never skipped a beat.”
That impressive ground clearance comes mostly from the 4×4 Squared’s portal axles.
These are lifted straight off the 6×6—of course, there’s only two of them, not three—and are where most of the price comes from, as these are actually and literally pieces of military hardware. For those who don’t know, a portal axle is an axle where instead of the two shafts going into the center of the wheel, they actually feed into the top of the wheel and are then geared to the hub. Think Unimog or Hummer H1.
The G500 4×4 Squared has a totally unique suspension.
The G500 4×4 Squared has eight dampers and eight springs. Here’s one key way the 4×4 Squared differs from not only the 6×6 but also all other G-wagens: Mercedes claims they learned this trick from “rally sport.” Sure, why not? All eight dampers are gas bypass struts.
What’s interesting about the dual-damper setup
is that one damper per corner is fixed, and one features variable damping rates, Comfort and Sport. We suppose that with such a heavy vehicle it was determined that leaving one fixed was a necessity. Mercedes claims that the variable dampers can switch between modes in 15 milliseconds. Pretty quick!
It’s a Mercedes-Benz, not an AMG.
Even though the 4×4 Squared seems like the type of insane product that would pour straight outta Affalterbach, its engine is the 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that isn’t hand-built. Obviously, the 4×4 Squared comes from the same well of depravity that birthed the 6×6, AMG badge or not.
It’s called High Gloss Electric Beam. Personally, I would’ve gone with Day-Glo Toxic Waste. Either way, the paint costs $19,500 USD.
The tires are gargantuan.
Biggest we’ve ever seen? Near the top, for sure. Each corner sits on Pirelli Scorpion ATR 325/55R22. Well, the rear meats on the Lamborghini Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce are 355/25ZR21, so pretty flippin’ close. Here’s an interesting observation from our photographer: “The tires are so big and the overall length so short that it was incredibly difficult to photograph the G and not have it look fake.”
The rear bumper is lifted directly off the 6×6.
Even though the 4×4 Squared is not an AMG, the front bumper is the same one used on the G63 and G65.
The LED lights on the bar up top don’t work.
We spent 30 minutes looking for the switch, but it’s just not there. They appear to be the same LEDs found on the 6×6, but M-B forgot to plug them in.
The interior is unchanged.
Looks just like every other G-wagen, though I do wonder if you could order High Gloss Electric Beam cross-stitching. Actually, I don’t wonder. If you have a large enough pocketbook, Mercedes will accommodate your desires. Anyhow, seems like something of a missed opportunity not to do something whacky inside this beast.
Well, it’s the same one found in the G550. Four liters, two turbos, eight pistons, 416 horsepower, and 450 lb-ft of torque. More than adequate, but you’ve got to wonder if the big boy 5.5-liter, twin-turbo M157 V-8 wouldn’t suit the character of this beastie better?
Let’s just go with $200,000 USD. Officially, the price is €190,000, which at this moment’s exchange rate is $216,182 USD. But A) car prices are rarely if ever determined by a straight euros to dollars conversion, and B) the 4×4 Squared isn’t on sale here. Yet. But there’s a reason this yellow monster is in the country and a reason that Mercedes-Benz let us horse around with it. They’re thinking long and hard about selling it right here in America. I’d say check back in about 18 months.