It may be old, but the Mercedes-Benz G-Class shows no sign of fading away. Mercedes continues to update the venerable Gelandewagen with new versions, the latest of which has just been teased in the form of a thinly-veiled concept version starring this week at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
The new G500 4x4² concept emphasizes the G-Class' off-road ability with jacked-up suspension, portal axles, and massive 22-inch wheels and tires, all borrowed from the hulking G63 AMG 6x6, which incidentally is being phased out after a hundred-unit production run. Of course, the concept is badged G500, not G63, but the two appear similar. Either way, it appears Mercedes is serious about a G-Class variant for buyers who want the 6x6's off-road capability, but can't fit one in their garages.
Mercedes also boasts a newly-developed chassis with dual spring/damper struts and adjustable damping for the concept, all of which is wrapped by the familiar G-Class body. And its radioactive green paint, side exhaust tips, and pumped fenders should also help this concept stand out on an auto show floor.
Also new for the G-Class is what’s lying under the hood. Power in the G500 4x4² concept comes from the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 developed by Mercedes-AMG for its performance lineup. For the concept, the engine has been tuned to deliver 422 horsepower, but more importantly it meets planned Euro 6 emission standards coming into effect next year, meaning the G-Class won’t be going anywhere soon. The same can’t be said for its Land Rover rival, the Defender, which is being discontinued this year because of emissions and fuel economy requirements.
Mercedes-Benz G500 4x4² conceptEnlarge Photo
With all of its modifications, the G-Class concept has a height of nearly 7.4 feet and a width of almost 7 feet. The ground clearance, meanwhile, is almost 18 inches, which compares to just 8.3 inches for the standard G. This is made possible because of the portal axles. As opposed to conventional rigid axles, here the wheels are not at the height of the center of the axle, instead they are situated much further below on the axle heads due to the portal transmission.
Inside the cabin of the G500 4x4² concept, the designers have combined sportiness with luxury. The seat bolsters and head restraints as well as the dashboard, center console and armrests are lined in black designo leather with white contrasting stitching. The seat surfaces and door panels, meanwhile, are covered in microfiber and get a diamond-quilt pattern for the stitching.
According to Mercedes, the decision on a production version of the G500 4x4² will depend on the reaction the concept receives in Geneva. However, it should be noted that we spotted just such a vehicle testing a few months back, suggesting that much of the development work for the production version is already complete.
To see what else is at the Geneva Motor Show, head to our dedicated hub.