Although some mod it too far, what keeps the more extreme G-Wagens from being too groan-worthy is Mercedes’ dedication to keeping the SUV a luxury off-road tank. True, a Suzuki Jimny offers bare-bones buffoonery, but there’s something about a 6-wheeled pickup that supersedes logic. And even without extra wheels, the G-Class, like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, is more capable than many would think. That includes its owners. But anything worth doing is worth overdoing. That’s why Mercedes took the lessons learned from the G 63 AMG 6×6 and made the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared.
What makes the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared different from a normal G-Class?
As YouTube team The Straight Pipes discuss in their video, the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared is based on the pre-2018 G-Class, like the G 63 AMG 6×6. Unlike the pickup, though, the G550 only has 4 wheels. But it borrows some tech from the pickup to make it even better off-road.
The most prominent feature is its height. The G550 4×4 has almost 18” of ground clearance. That’s more than twice that of the G-Class it’s based on, and almost twice the current G-Class’s. It’s so tall, one of the hosts has to jump to try and close the hood. It also has the 6×6’s low bumper bar.
A lot of that comes from the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared’s portal axles, which the 6×6 also featured. The mechanisms at each of the 4×4’s wheels allow the axles to ride above the wheels’ centers. This allows for even greater ground clearance and keeps important components like the differentials and driveshaft from getting damaged. The 4×4 Squared also comes with the 6×6’s dual-shock suspension.
That height not only increased fording depth to 39”, it also let engineers spec bigger tires and wheels. Car and Driver reported the 4×4 Squared offered 18” bead-lock wheels with 37” off-road tires, or 22” wheels with 36” tires for those not off-roading.
Being based on the previous-gen G-Class, the 4×4 doesn’t have the latest Mercedes 9-speed automatic; instead, it makes do with the 7-speed. However, Mercedes did change out the engine. Like the newest G-Class, the 4×4 Squared comes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, making 416 hp and 450 lb-ft. Although Brabus has tuned a 4×4 Squared to 493 hp and 523 lb-ft, the only Brabus bits on The Straight Pipe’s SUV are some cosmetic trim pieces.
How does the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared drive?
Although The Straight Pipes weren’t able to take the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared off-road, they did drive it extensively on pavement.
Drivers can adjust the suspension between Sport and Comfort with the push of a button. And The Straight Pipes could tell the difference. Comfort essentially irons out bumps, while Sport is practically a necessity if you live somewhere with curved roads. In fact, in Comfort mode, taking a corner in the Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared is “downright scary.”
Not that taking a corner at speed is recommended. Not with the G550’s height and off-road-spec suspension. The steering is also somewhat slow. In addition, the G550 4×4’s fender flares mean the turn signal lights on the SUV’s hood aren’t good corner markers. The 4×4 is so wide, in fact, that like the Ford SVT Raptor, it needs commercial-vehicle amber running lights. But, none of that really detracted from The Straight Pipes team enjoying the SUV.
Four-wheel disc brakes mean the SUV stops with authority. The seating position and height make for excellent visibility and sightlines. The side-exhausts help the engine sound great. And the same insane features that make it disconcerting in the bends do truly make it amazing off-road, as Car and Driver discovered. It’s a G-Wagen taken almost to the most ludicrous extreme, and The Straight Pipes guys were smiling the entire time. As was Doug Demuro when he drove one.
How can I get one?
Mercedes only offered the 4×4 Squared from 2015-2017, towards the end of the previous-gen G-Class’s life. However, unlike the 6×6 pickup, it was available for US customers.
The Mercedes G550 4×4 Squared in the video $268,500 CAD, or about $204,000 USD. However, Evan Paul Motor Cars, who loaned Doug Demuro the G 63 AMG 6×6, have one available for $279,000. So, if a 6×6 is too showy or expensive, there is a more affordable alternative.