Mercedes G500 4x4 rumbles into view

Mercedes keeps raising the bar with the G-Class: just when you think the legendary Geländewagen couldn't get any more hardcore, it mashes the throttle and does exactly that, plowing through a bank of snow, sand, hell or high water in the process. What you see here is the latest.

It's called the G500 4x4². Aside from the various engine specs, the G-Class has been offered in a number of body-styles. Right around the same time that the two-door convertible was discontinued, Benz rolled out the indomitable G63 AMG 6x6 – a half-million-dollar, six-wheeled monster truck powered by Affalterbach's 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8. Evidently enough people liked the idea but didn't see the point in that extra set of wheels, so Mercedes has toned it down – just a little – but kept the high-riding suspension.

The result is the truck we've seen testing a couple of times now in a bright shade of Hulk green, and which is now just about ready for its debut. On the scale of extreme G-Wagens, it slots in between the standard model and the 6x6, keeping the jacked-up suspension and giant wheels, but losing the extra axle. The G500 moniker also indicates that it'll at least be available with the 382-horsepower, naturally aspirated, non-AMG version of the 5.5-liter V8 that we'd know as the G550.

Just how much of a premium Benz will charge for the beefed-up version, we don't know, as further details are set to be released next week ahead of a likely debut in Geneva. But hopefully it'll be closer to the $115k it gets for the standard version than the $500+k the 6x6 goes for.

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