Brabus has unveiled one of the wildest evolutions of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class we’ve ever seen. This limited-edition off-roader, called Crawler, was largely developed in-house by the German company and shares very little with the SUV from which it takes styling cues.
While the Crawler may look like a chopped G, there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye. Brabus proudly explains that this is the first car he has built on a chassis designed in-house. Put your head under it and you will see a tubular frame made of high-quality steel. Brabus also added front and rear portal axles, which the G-Class no longer offers, plus adjustable shock absorbers and aluminum struts.
Some of the rest of the body panels look like they came from the G-Wagon parts bin, but none have a Mercedes-Benz part number. Brabus made the fairing from carbon fiber to control weight and omitted the doors, windows and roof pillars. Instead, a carbon fiber body panel attached to a tubular safety cage protects occupants from the sun. The roof-mounted spoiler completes the look.
Climb inside (it’s a long way up, by the looks of it) to find four individual carbon fiber seats with marine-grade harnesses and red Silvertex upholstery, a digital instrument panel and a separate screen displaying the navigation system. Rather than asking buyers to shout over the V8’s growl, Brabus added a two-way communication system that allows passengers to talk through an intercom integrated into each helmet.
Power comes from a 4.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 to develop 900 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, numbers that easily eclipse regular production Gs. The engine exhales through a high-performance exhaust system terminating in a pair of tips on each side, and it spins the four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Brabus sets the time from 0-100 km/h of the Crawler at 3.4 seconds. Top speed is 100mph, which is surprisingly low considering the engine power, but that’s all the off-road tires can handle.
More importantly, the Crawler offers over 20 inches of ground clearance, thanks in part to 20-inch wheels. Fleshy skid plates help avoid costly encounters between the various soil components and the long list of obstacles drivers can encounter in the desert.
The production of the Brabus Crawler is limited to 15 pieces worldwide. Pricing information has not yet been released, but nothing suggests it will be cheap. And buyers will end up paying a lot for what is essentially a toy: Brabus emphasizes that the Crawler is not street legal.