2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared Review: First Impressions

17_17Mercedes-Benz_G550_4x4Squared_AS_ES_17.jpg 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared | photo by Evan Sears

CARS.COM — When is too much of a good thing simply, well, too much? When it’s describing the monster you see before you here from the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4×4 Squared. Apparently, there is someone out there who thinks that their normal G-wagen just isn’t capable enough off-road, which is kind of nuts when you think about it, as it features three locking differentials, a massively powerful V-8 engine, huge ground clearance and construction techniques that make closing any door on the truck feel like locking a bank vault. But if the normal G550 is only kind of nuts, this one is full-on bonkers.

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04_17Mercedes-Benz_G550_4x4Squared_AS_ES_04.jpg 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 4x4 Squared | photo by Evan Sears

Let’s start by getting into the 4×4 Squared — if you can. The truck has more than 17 inches of ground clearance, meaning you literally have to climb up into it. The only grab handle for the driver is on the roof, which is totally out of reach, so you have to haul yourself up into it by hanging onto the steering wheel. A stepladder or Cadillac Escalade-style folding side step would be a smart addition here, but it’s nowhere to be found.

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Once situated in the carbon-fiber-and-leather trimmed cabin, your view out is commanding. This is the view that truck drivers have from the cab of their tractor-trailer rigs. There’s no problem seeing what’s around you thanks to the G-wagen’s slab-sided boxy styling and big windows that obscure nothing.

The track is wider in this particular model, so there are more aggressive fender flares to accommodate the wider spacing. Those fenders are apparently carbon fiber, as is the roof rack, light bar and other exterior trim bits. I personally would be afraid to drive the thing through any serious off-road rock crawling situations -carbon-fiber fenders aren’t known for their flexibility or impact resistance, and I can only imagine what the replacement costs will be.

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No, despite the ability of the G550 4×4 Squared to handle high-speed desert running or deep-water fording, you’re far more likely to see one navigating the wilds of Beverly Hills than summiting any actual hills.

This is a $225,925 monster-truck toy for rich folks to look like they’re ready for heading off-road but who are exceedingly unlikely to actually go there — unless you’re an oil sheik. They really do take these kinds of rigs through the desert on a regular basis.

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