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Car and Driver: Room for Squareds: 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4² Now for U.S. Sale

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2015 Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4²

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It was pretty much a given, but now it’s official: Mercedes-Benz USA, the lifted G500 4×4² is coming to America. Only the name is being changed, from G500 to G550, but the craziness remains the same. It goes on sale early next year.

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For around $200,000, the 4×4² is effectively a Unimog that can blast to 60 mph in less than six seconds. At each corner are dual shocks and portal axles, those neat, gear-laden types that let the half shafts drop down from the axles for extreme levels of clearance and articulation.

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2016-Mercedes-Benz-G500-4x4%C2%B2-232-62

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We’ve already driven the thing, and its recipe versus the already extremely robust G550 is more of everything: 7.9 inches extra clearance, 15.8 inches additional wading depth, 21.6-degree steeper approach angle, 23.4 degrees more on the breakover, and 13.8 extra degrees on departure. The front track is wider by nine inches, the rear by 10 inches.

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G500 4x4 Granada

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Three feet of water? No problem. Boulder in your path sticking up a foot and a half? The 4×4² can straddle it with an inch to spare. By comparison, the Hummer H1—the vehicle that could climb six-foot vertical walls—trails the 4×4² in almost every off-road measurement. One of the few things 4×4² can’t do better than an H1 is traverse a slope. That’s limited to 28.4 degrees, compared to the Humvee’s 30.

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G500 4x4, test drive Granada 2015

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The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque is the same as in the regular G500, as is the seven-speed automatic and triple locking differentials. The chassis is heavily modified but Mercedes did nothing to the G’s steel frame—which, we can report after a company test driver accelerated us down an Austrian mountain pass, head slamming against the Alcantara roof—is plenty strong. In the U.S., the G550 4×4² is more likely to roll up to an L.A. nightclub. But when Mercedes says “all terrain,” isn’t that what they really mean?

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