It's not a V8 - or anything even close to that.
Some engines just fit a particular type of vehicle like a glove and nothing else will do. For muscle cars like the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang, anything less than a V8 feels out of place. All these years later, a BMW 3 Series still feels like it deserves an inline-six under the hood, and it's no secret how most enthusiasts feel about the latest generation of Porsche Boxsters with their small turbocharged four-pots.
With all that in mind, what powerplant comes to mind when you think of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class? Surely a V8 with a couple of turbos strapped on, right? Well, not in China, where a new G350 with a tiny 2.0-liter four-pot has been announced.
Yes, even the bruiser that is the G-Class has not been untouched by the scourge of downsizing. Known as the G350, it's fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine developing 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, enabling a 0-62 mph run in a reasonable 8.1 seconds.
By comparison, the base G-Class in the US is the G550 with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 developing 416 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. It needs just 5.6 seconds to reach 60 mph. The base G350 maintains the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and the brand's nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Of course, the G350's appeal lies in its lower price. At 1,429,800 Chinese Yuan, that works out to about $210,732 at current exchange rates. That's expensive, but it comes in at quite a bit lower than China's next most expensive G-Class model - the G500 goes for a whopping $240,062, which is over $60,000 more expensive than the range-topping AMG G63 available in the US market.
In that regard, the cheaper G350 makes sense in China, but don't expect a four-cylinder G-Class stateside anytime soon. Like the long-wheelbase Mercedes C-Class shown a few years back, the world's leading brands aren't afraid to ditch conventional thinking to suit the thoroughly unique Chinese market.