In case a truck that was created as a military machine and improved for 45 years isn't already awesome enough, Mercedes-Benz has increased the off-road awesomeness of its iconic G-Wagen for 2017 with innovative axles that raise its ground clearance higher than ever before.
The 2017 G550 4x4² uses "portal axles" that have gearsets on their ends that drop the spinning force down to lower-mounted wheel hubs. This jacks up the G550 to new heights and also spaces the wheels wider apart for a wider track and increased stability.
The portal axles increase the G550's approach and departure angles, letting it attack slopes as steep as 51.6 degrees without scraping on the approach and to drive off of 43.8 degree slopes without dragging its bumper or hitch. Previously, 30 degrees was the maximum for the G-Wagen.
Ground clearance is now 17.2 inches, compared to 9.3 inches before, and the G550 4x4² can now wade through water up to 39.4 inches deep rather than just 23.6 inches.
As before, the G-Wagen continues to offer locking front, center and rear differentials, which means that all four wheels turn at the same speed. In this configuration it is nearly impossible to steer, but the Mercedes can practically climb a tree.
The 2017 model gets a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine producing 416 horsepower and 450 lb.-ft. torque, so it has the muscle to do that kind of climbing too.
Pricing and other final details haven't been set yet, because the G550 4x4² doesn't reach US showrooms until early 2017.