I can imagine the scene at the bar, right near where Karl Benz invented the first car in 1886. With every weizenbier, the ideas got a little bit wilder and then there was a short pause. Yep, that’s it. Let’s turn that calm, boring Australian, three-axled military Humvee into a screaming AMG monster. With shelves upon shelves of old spare parts at home, the two mad scientists chose to work from the bottom up and first attacked the portal axles of the unstoppable unimog. As the engineers later explained to me, the portal axles of the unimog are not at the same height as the center of the axle, but are somewhat lower, due to the portal gearboxes on the axle heads. Ok, I am no specialist, but the result was clear: unbelievable ground clearance.
The G 500 4x4² is an official unlimited model in the Mercedes portfolio. Currently, its price tag is around 246,000 euros and Mercedes can hardly keep up with the demand. I love this car and had always wanted to experience one close up since I had first seen pictures and videos.
Now, I am standing in front of the newest Mercedes monster. The all-terrain 4x4² is the brainchild of Jürgen Eberle. He always loved the jacked up Jeeps that he tortured on the notorious Rubicon Trail in California. So, after taking one look at the portal axles on the G 500 4x4², he decided to brutalize the soft E-Class soft roader wagon.
The Big Foot ‘E’ screams adventure. Jürgen, who looks pretty unassuming and behind his rimless glasses, seems much less adventurous. Behind the wheel though, Juergen is transformed, a true Jekyll and Hyde kind of guy. I find it refreshing that the company that invented the automobile and is spending millions of euros and sending it biggest brains to tackle electric cars and gas saving is still allowing the burning a bit of fossil fuel so it can live out their passion for cars. Jürgen’s team consists of twenty dedicated workers and with support from different group departments the project got started.
Before I can even get in, I have got to find a way to climb up there somehow. The interior features the comfort you would expect from an E-Class, but on a clearly higher level. With 420mm of ground clearance, this Benz even beats the hardcore off-road competition. It climbs over rocks and sticks like a mountain goat. The fording is 500 mm, much closer to a G (600 mm) than the series produced all-terrain (160 mm). Unbelievable how this car catches the eye. A real head-turner. Its 210 cm broad flanks make this 4x4² almost 20 cm wider than the original. The look of matt silver skins, an assist from a internal company designer, look great.
Not only sheiks can look forward to this baby, as it seems to have a good of being produced in a limited series.
I have saved the best for last. As I finally climbed in and sat behind the wheel of a car I had only known until now virtually, my favorite car felt even better than I had imagined – a mixture of Russian mafia, Mad Max and Terminator all rolled into one. If the world ended tomorrow, this is the vehicle I would want to be in. A regular G-Model was once the undercarriage of the Pope mobile. If that is the case, than this has to be the God mobile.
The wider wheel alignment (30cm more) definitely improves the street usability. The Monster-G is better in the curves than its slimmer colleague. At 210km/h, its top speed leaves all other portal axle cars in the dust. At the first stoplight, I actually am looking down over the roof of the SUV in front of me. Although I am enjoying playing on the curvy asphalt, my mind is already looking forward to the Mercedes-Benz Off-road Park near Biberach. It has everything: mud, gravel, sand, crazy inclines and deep ruts. The 4x4² flattens everything no questions asked and in spectacular fashion. A Big Boy Toy. The day ended way too early with an ice cream at the Market Square in Biberach, sorry, I cant put it any other way, it was a come down.
Photos: Dirk Weyenmeyer
Text: Dieter Losskarn
Mercedes E-Class 400 Allterrain 4x4²
Engine: 3.5-l. 6 cyl. turbo paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission
Power & torque: 245kW und 480Nm
Mercedes G 500 4x4²
Engine: 4.0-l. V8 turbo paired with 7-speed auto
Power & torque: 310kW und 610Nm
Top Speed: 210km/h
Acceleration: 0-100kmh in 7.4 seconds
Price: 246,000 euros