New G-Wagen looks understated compared to 2017 G550 4×4 Squared with highlighter paint job and portal axles.
The newest version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen is more refined and technologically advanced than the model it replaced, but it can’t match the last G-Class when it comes to outright wow factor—yet. Toward the end of the run of the last-generation G-Wagen, Mercedes went absolutely nuts making special versions of it. The G 63 AMG 6×6 was the ultimate super-lux pickup. Mercedes-AMG created the G 650 Landaulet, a combination of a G-Class and a Maybach uber-convertible. And we can’t forget the (four-wheeled) G-Wagen on steroids, the Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4 Squared. The hosts of the popular YouTube channel TheStraightPipes, Jakub and Yuri, sure didn’t. They tracked one of them down and took it out for a tag team test drive.
Fundamentally, the G is an unmistakable design. Even though it’s basically a square on wheels, no other vehicle out on the road looks like it. It’s immediately recognizable. The G550 4×4 Squared makes it look common by comparison, especially when it’s covered in the eye-searing Electric Beam paint that Jakub’s and Yuri’s test vehicle wears. As if that weren’t enough of an attention-getter, the G550 4×4 Squared also has wide fender flares that are half painted and half exposed carbon fiber.
Those arch over a set of massive 22-inch wheels wrapped in 325/55 R22 rubber, according to Mercedes.
As impressive as those look, it’s what’s in between them that’s even more remarkable. The G550 4×4 Squared rides on eight shock absorbers – two for each wheel.
Like the G 63 AMG 6×6, the G550 4×4 Squared has portal axles that keep its differentials nice and high and further away from rocks. They also contribute to its towering stature. Yuri says, “So the ground clearance numbers for this is 18 inches.” Jakub adds, “Which is actually approximately double my (first-generation) Ford Raptor’s ground clearance.”
Unfortunately, since the G550 4×4 Squared is on loan from a dealership, Jakub and Yuri can’t take it off-road. The good news is they have plenty of paved road ahead of them that they can unleash the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 on. Output is 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. After flooring it from a dead stop, Jakub tells Yuri, “That pulls pretty hard for the size of this thing,” which is 6,694 pounds of steel, glass and right angles.
Given that it’s a 2017 model, the G550 4×4 Squared’s cabin is largely the same as it is in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles of the time – excluding the switches for locking the front, center and rear differentials. An abundance of quilted microfiber and gleaming carbon fiber trim dress it up, but don’t distract Jakub from the fact that the rear seat doesn’t provide enough legroom for someone his height.
We love the way the new G-Wagen looks inside and out. We can’t to drive one on- and off-road. As of right now, the 577-horsepower G 63 model is as nuts as the modern G gets. That’s OK, though. The last generation of the G-Class ran for nearly 30 years. The newest model has plenty of time to get bigger and bolder.