Car News

Mercedes-Benz to Unleash Beastly G 550 4x4 Squared Variant

Early next year, Mercedes-Benz will begin selling its "most capable" G-Class ever when the G 550 4x4 Squared reaches North American dealerships.

If the regular versions of the G-Class -- which include two already intimidating AMG-powered versions -- are not for the faint of heart, then this latest addition to the line will be a force to be reckoned with when the going gets rough.

Key among what makes this G-Class different are its "portal" axles, which place the axles well above the wheel hub to create extra ground clearance. This is the same design that made the original, military-spec Hummer so special off-road. Mercedes seems proud of the fact that the G-Class' ladder-type frame required no modifications in the transformation into uber off-roader.

You may need a ladder to get in, however: Benz says the new axle design gives this Deutsch doorstop more than 43 cm (that's more than 17 inches) of ground clearance, creating quite a stretch from terra firma to floorboard.

Other tricks up the Squared's sleeves are locking front, rear and centre differentials and a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 that makes the same 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque as it does more pedestrian versions of the G 550. Also common with the standard G 550 is a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz Canada says the G 500 4x4 Squared will be available in Canada around the same time as it goes on the sale in the U.S. -- in early 2017 -- but pricing won't be announced until much closer to that time. Considering the G 550's starting price of $127,200, we suspect your budget might need a hand up, too.