Adventure in Style: Offroad-Ready Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG
An off-road vehicle, by its nature, usually requires compromises in daily livability. Most 4x4-capable trucks and SUVs were not designed to primarily be used off-road, rather they are engineered to have good road manners for the masses, and if needed, to not embarrass themselves when the pavement ends. Enthusiasts need to modify their on-roader with all sorts of all-terrain tires, aftermarket bumpers, lift kits, etc to really have something that will be truly capable off-road. In that process, generally any aspirations of luxury are abandoned. The two ends are, for the most part, mutually exclusive. However, there exist a few vehicles that have managed to do both. When off-road chops are part of the inherent design of the vehicle, adding luxury doesn't necessarily compete with wheeling. It's no surprise that these dual-purpose SUVs have all developed an iconic status over the years. Among its peers, the Land Cruiser and Range Rover, Mercedes' G-Wagen has military roots, but exists now as a luxury vehicle that can go anywhere.
Jordan Riegelhaupt has built on the G-Wagen's incredible roots to make his 2008 G55 something truly special. The exterior has been modified to resemble its big brother, the G63, while the steps, brush guards and trim have all been powder-coated or wrapped in satin black. The changes give the boxy SUV a sinister, all-business aesthetic.
Although Mercedes designed the G-Wagen as a go-anywhere beast, but a little extra ground clearance and custom suspension is never a bad idea. ARB OME 50mm lift springs were installed, as well as King adjustable shocks to handle any terrain Jordan throws at the big Merc.
Maintaining a good balance between comfort and performance, Jordan wrapped a set of 22" Formula Aventerra Revolution wheels in on-road and off-road excelling 325/50/22 Nitto Ridge Grapplers. This wheel and tire combo sets the tone for the whole truck. The classic lines of the G-Wagen mixed with a modern take on a classic European wheel design and aggressive tire was a smart pairing.
Moving inside the AMG, the luxury has been turned up a few notches. Custom stitched Ferrari Rosa red leather covers the seats and door panels, while contrasting suede adorns the headliner and pillars. Piano black trim echoes the sinister look of the exterior.
With nearly 500 hp on tap from the stock engine, Jordan didn't see a need to mess with the Mercedes supercharged powerplant.
With most modern cars being equipped with increasing better OEM in-car entertainment, most builds nowadays ignore the opportunity for improvement. Jordan, however, saw the need for a few changes, installing JL Audio speakers around the cab, all being commanded by a Pioneer Appradio 4. A custom sub setup has been installed in the rear that looks good enough to be designed by Mercedes themselves.
While this SUV is obviously not headed across Moab anytime soon, this modified G55 makes an excellent case for on-road luxury and off-road performance that few other non-purpose built vehicles can touch. It's is no surprise that the second generation G-Wagen was made from 1990 to 2018 with very few changes. Like many of its peers, the designs are both timeless and simple, and owners want the reliability and tradition inherent in those design choices. The G-Wagen will always be cool. That being said, Jordan has certainly found a way to make it his own, and if it turns a few more necks on and off-road, that's a great bonus.
Like luxurious 4x4s? Don't miss our coverage of Toyota's brand new Land Cruiser Heritage Edition! For more photos of this Mercedes Benz G55 AMG, see the gallery below!