Brabus has revealed one of the wildest evolutions of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class that we’ve ever seen. Called Crawler, the limited-edition off-roader was largely developed in-house by the German firm and it shares very little with the SUV that it borrows styling cues from.
While the Crawler might look like a chopped-up G, there’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye. Brabus proudly explains that this is the first car it has built on a chassis designed in-house. Poke your head under it and you’ll spot a tubular frame made with high-strength steel. Brabus also added front and rear portal axles, which the G-Class
Some of the remaining body panels look like they come from the G-Wagon’s parts bin but none carry a Mercedes-Benz part number. Brabus made the tub out of carbon fiber to keep weight in check and left out the doors, windows, and roof pillars. Instead, a carbon fiber body panel attached to a tubular safety cell protects the occupants from the sun. The roof-mounted spoiler adds a finishing touch to the look.
Climb inside (it’s a long way up, by the look of it) to find four individual carbon fiber seats with harnesses and red marine-grade Silvertex upholstery, a digital instrument cluster, and a separate screen that displays the navigation system. Rather than asking buyers to shout over the V8’s growl, Brabus added a two-way communication system that lets the passengers talk via an intercom integrated into each helmet.
Power comes from a 4.5-liter V8 that’s twin-turbocharged to develop 900 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, figures that easily eclipse the regular-production G’s. The engine exhales through a high-performance exhaust system that ends in a pair of tips on each side, and it spins the four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Brabus pegs the Crawler’s 0-60-mph time at 3.4 seconds. Its top speed checks in at 100 mph, which is surprisingly low considering the engine’s output but that’s all the off-road-rated tires can handle.
More importantly, the Crawler offers over 20 inches of ground clearance thanks in part to 20-inch wheels. Beefy skid plates help prevent expensive encounters between the various underbody components and the long list of obstacles drivers can encounter in the desert.
Production of the Brabus Crawler is limited to 15 units worldwide. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet, but nothing suggests it will be cheap. And, buyers will ultimately end up paying a lot for what’s essentially a toy: Brabus stresses that the Crawler is not street-legal.