Many thanks to Cars with Luke for the opportunity to experience this car
Launched as a show car for the 2015 IAA, the Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4 Squared was never meant to go into production. Good thing peer-pressure exists as due of the very positive reactions, the world can now enjoy something that is quite hard to understand: German humor.
So what is German humor? Well, I’d say this car but that statement does need some explaining. A fair amount of explaining. Even summing up the features this ‘G Squared’ offers doesn’t do it justice, its identity stretches beyond common logic, beyond the vast array of emotions us humans can feel. But for the sake of being informative, here’s a list: power comes from a 4-liter, “hot” V8 that pushes out 422hp and 610 Nm of torque, the G500 4×4 enjoys 450mm of ground clearance and can crawl through 1000mm of water. It doesn’t end there, no not by far. But I’ll weave other facts through the article as we go, else I’ll lose you readers in this endless list of technical data. Which I presume is also a form of German humor.
Labeled “High Gloss Electric Beam” in the Benz brochure, the yellow paint does more than attract attention where ever you go, as it will empty your wallet costing around 20-thousand euros. And somehow, even with that paint being around 10% of the car’s total sum, it all fits perfectly into the madness the Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4 Squared so perfectly balances. It also means you’ll never, ever lose the car in a parking lot, or the urban jungle for that matter. But losing it is pretty damn hard in the first place, normally the press cars I drive are low, very low. This? This thing comes in at just under 2.3 meters due to its 4×4 portal axles setup. It’s all dimensions in which it stretches beyond what’s normal, as it also measures a massive 2.1 meters in width.
So how does it drive?
It drives like nothing I’ve ever driven before. Nothing. No mini-van, no truck, no car, no bike (whut?). As with any statement above, it’s the mixture this car offers that dictates the way it feels while you drive it. I refuse to benchmark this car against anything else out there, it really is that unique. The whole experience starts when you have to get in, your mind will have a hard time dealing with the concept of literally having to jump into the car to do so (I’m 1.9 meters). Once seated, which is horribly upright, you are treated by a mixture of old and new. Yup, the contrast pile up here as well. On your left you have an ashtray, below and above you look at diamond-stitching of the upholstery, and in your hands you’ll find a proper sport steering-wheel. And then you turn the key.
A soft rumble sounds in stereo as the side pipes burble away while gases rush through them at idle speed, making me pleasantly confused yet again. How can a 422hp V8 sound so, so friendly and grumpy at the same time? Set the transmission into D and the Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4 Squared gracefully rolls forward. Yes, this 3 metric ton car feels graceful while being powered by a V8 that uses F1 technology. But it is once you get underway that the full assault on your sane mind and senses begins.
You’re seated higher than the average bus driver, your headlights blind people while they shine into their cars, you see cyclist dodging the adopted 6×6 wheel arches. And yet again the emotions it gives add up beyond this. Drop the car down a gear or two and you’ll suddenly be enjoying the sound of a proper V8 revving away, only to fool you with a bigger feeling of acceleration than is actually happening. Press the brakes and you’re again confronted with an alien sensation of a wobbling mastodon, perhaps the reason they gave it the venomous color? After which you can enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride due its 4 fixed, and 4 adjustable dampers.
Yes, those stomach muscles sure get a workout in this car. Humor is what the G500 4×4 has mastered and you’ll feel it every mile you drive it. From the interaction with the people whilst you drive by, all the way up to how easy it is to drive around in. There’s sadly only one facet of the G’s personality which it didn’t show me: the genuine off-road stuff. Sure I drove it over things I normally wouldn’t, but I could not come close to using the chassis for what it can really do. And somehow I don’t feel like I missed out on it, it made me see everything from a new perspective. A very high one that is.
Mercedes-Benz is closing the 1979 G Wagon’s history with a worthy line of special editions, this being one of them. The Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4 Squared is a car that knows no equal and never will. It is the finest embodiment of German humor out there.