An all-aluminum 5.0L engine, the same that you'll find in the S-Class and SL Roadster, pumps out 292 hp, and that's not all. The V-8 uses a twin-spark plus three-valve-per-cylinder (two intake and one exhaust) design, which allows the dual-path intake to boost torque at low speeds for a quicker throttle response. Attached to the V-8 is a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with driver-adaptive shift logic, and Touchshift selectable manual control. If climbing steep grades is a concern, the G can handle grades up to 36 degrees and is stable on lateral slopes of up to 24 degrees.
Move over, Julie Andrews. The G500 is the only U.S. vehicle with three mechanically locking differentials (switches on the dash). Mechanically locking differentials reduce wheelspin in extremely low traction situations and can be engaged anytime the G is off road.
To join Janet Jackson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and other G-wagen owners, all you need is dough re mi-$73,165 to be exact. More information is available at www.mbusa.com or by phoning 800/FOR-MERCEDES.
Calendar of EventsWant us to come to your event? Send info and an invitation, including who's putting it together and a contact phone number, to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to 4-Wheel & Off-Road-Calendar, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. Keep in mind that we work four months ahead of the issue date, so give us adequate notice. Tell us where and when it will be, what kind of event it is (trail ride, mud run, show, or anything else about wheeling), and a name/number of a person who can give us more info.
Feb. 4-6 MDA Off-Road for Hope, Ocotillo Wells, CA. Information: 619/492-9792
Feb. 11-13 Best in the Desert Race, Laughlin, NV. Information: 702/457-5775Feb. 14-16 UROC, St. George, UT. Information: 435/864-3199, www.uroc.rockcrawler.com
Feb. 16-18 CA4WDC 41st Annual Convention, Woodland, CA. Information: 800/494-3866
Feb. 18-20 Sea of Cortez Jeep Jamboree, San Felipe, Mexico. Information: 530/333-4777
Feb. 23-27 SW4WDA Chili Challenge, Las Cruces, NM. Information: 505/524-8569
Political & Environmental Beat*The Transportation Recall Enhancement Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act passed by the U.S. Congress last year requires that automakers install a tire pressure monitoring system that warns drivers when their tires are underinflated. In addition to the annoying computer flash warning and beeping, tire pressure monitoring systems place smaller aftermarket tire and wheel businesses at risk because of the additional compliance issues. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is working to ensure that the rule have the least economic impact as possible and that servicing information is shared with the independent repair industry. The rule could take effect as early as October 2003.
*A National Research Council (NRC) study recommends that smog tests be aimed at vehicles that are the worst polluting and then verify the repairs to ensure that the vehicle is in compliance with state emissions laws. The report found that older, malfunctioning vehicles make up 10 percent of the nation's fleet but emit approximately 50 percent of vehicular pollutants. The only problem? Fairness. The report suggested that targeting these vehicles is unfair because these vehicles are more likely to be owned by low-income people.
*Iowa's bill to set a maximum frame and body height failed to pass in this year's state legislative session. Sources say that the bill will be reintroduced next year.
*France has seen dramatic growth in 4x4 sales. In 1995 the number of registered 4x4s was 30,000; by 2000 that number had more than doubled, to 68,000. Popular models include Toyota, Lexus, Mitsubishi, and Land Rover.