Spy snappers in Northern Europe have happened across what appears to be a ute-backed Mercedes-Benz G-Class sporting hard-core offroad modifications, raising speculation that Benz’s rugged body-on-frame offroader is set to receive a muscle-bound load-lugging "last hurrah" special edition.
Similar in concept to the dearly departed Land Rover Defender 130, the G-wagon dual-cab is also reminiscent of dual-cab chassis versions of Toyota’s own unbreakable (and similarly ancient) offroader, the 70-series Toyota LandCruiser. With full-frame doors and a canopy-like cover over the rear tub, there’s also a passing resemblance to the Jeep Wranger.
However there are a few… subtle differences with this one.
Those AMG red brake calipers are a clue, but trainspotters will scope the absence of a conventional live axle linking the left and right wheels.
Instead, this camo-clad beast rides on beefy portal axles, similar to those used on the heavy-duty Unimog range (another Mercedes-Benz product). Incredible ground clearance is the result – or at least it would be, were it not for those twin side pipes running under the front and rear doors.
And then there’s the extreme track width and fatter-than-Pavarotti fender flares. This ute is w-i-d-e, and looks to equal the girth of the mega-excessive Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6 – which coincidentally also rode atop Unimog-style portal axles and sported a dual-cab ute bodystyle – and the AMG G550 4x4 which never came to Australia.
Twin intercoolers visible through the front bumper betray a twin-turbo powerplant, which we expect to be the familiar 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 as used by the G63 wagon. Power? Bank on it at least equalling the G63’s 420kW and 760Nm at the very least.
All signs point to this car being a hybrid of the G63 6x6 and G550 4x4, merging with a four-wheel layout with a truncated version of the 6x6’s four-door ute bodystyle. With an all-new G-wagen expected to be not far around the corner, what you see here could be the swansong for Benz’s long-toothed four-by-four.