Brabus has revealed one of the wildest evolution of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class we have ever seen. Known as Crawler, the limited-edition off-roader was originally built internally by a German firm and rarely shares the SUV from which it borrows styling signals.
While the crawler may look like a cut-up G, there’s a lot more going on here than just eye contact Brabas proudly explains that this is the first car to be built in a chassis that has been designed in-house. Plunge your head under it and you’ll see a tubular frame made of high-strength steel. Brabas has also added front and rear portal axles, which the G-Class no longer offers, as well as adjustable shock and aluminum struts.
The rest of the body panels look like they came from a G-Wagon parts bin but none have a Mercedes-Benz part number. Brabas made tubs out of carbon fiber to control weight and left door, window and roof pillars. Instead, a carbon fiber body panel attached to a tubular protective cell protects the occupants from the sun. The roof-mounted spoiler adds a finishing touch to the look.
Climb inside (it’s a lot longer to see) with four separate carbon fiber seats and red marine-grade Silvertex upholstery, a digital instrument cluster and a separate screen that displays the navigation system. Instead of telling shoppers to shout at the roar of the V8, Brabas has added a two-way communication system that allows passengers to speak through an intercom integrated into each helmet.
Power comes from a 4.5-liter V8 that is twin-turbocharged to produce 900 horsepower and 774 lb-ft of torque, which easily absorbs the regular-production G’. The engine exhales through a high-performance exhaust system that ends with a pair of tips on each side and rotates four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. Brabus pegs the crawler’s 0-60-mph time in 3.4 seconds. Its maximum speed checks in at 100 miles per hour, which can handle surprisingly low but off-road-rated tires considering the engine’s output.
More importantly, the crawler offers more than 20 inches of ground clearance on 20-inch wheel parts. Biffy skid plates help prevent the costly confrontation between the various underbody components and the long list of obstacles that drivers may encounter in the desert.
Production of Brabas crawlers is limited to 15 units worldwide. Price information has not yet been announced, but nothing suggests it will be cheaper. And, buyers will eventually pay a lot for a toy: Brabas insists the crawler is not street-legal.