As demand grows for crossovers and SUVs, so does the need for the well-heeled buyer to stand out from the crowd as some of the most startling concepts at this year's Geneva Motor Show demonstrate.
Mansory Sahara Edition
Subtlety is not a word associated with Mansory, a tuning company that takes cars that are already expensive, exclusive and exotic and dials everything up to 11.
When it's not squeezing 1000bhp out of a Lamborghini or making limited edition iPhone cases, the Swiss firm focuses on SUVs. The Mansory Sahara Edition started out as a stock Mercedes G Wagon but the company has upped the engine to 838hp and lowered the ride height.
It's got a camouflage paint job and inside the leather seats carry falcon motifs including feathers. In the rear there's only room for two as the company has put a fridge between the back seats.
Kahn Design Flying Huntsman 110WB 6x6
British company Kahn Design also started with a venerable modern-day off-road classic, the Land Rover Defender 110 but has binned the car's original powerplant in favor of a 6.2-liter GM-sourced V8.
To make room for the bigger engine, the company had to make the front end of the car 400mm longer, but that's nothing compared to the trickery at the rear. The Flying Huntsman 110 WB has three wheels, not two, on either side, and is a true 6x6, with power going to every wheel individually. Other changes over the stock Land Rover include a beautiful leather interior, a panoramic glass roof and the option of full armour plating.
Mercedes-Benz G500 4x42 Concept
But perhaps the most outrageous custom SUV is one that comes directly from the manufacturer. The Mercedes G500 4x42 could be the ultimate in off-road performance and on-road ostentation. Under its hood it has the same twin-turbo V8 that powers Mercedes' current flagship supercar the AMG GT.
At each corner it has a 22-inch wheel wrapped in a proper off-road tire, meaning it has ground clearance of nearly half a meter. It's wider too -- 299mm across because of the wheels and suspension setup. It stands so high that even Shaquille O'Neal, would need a ladder in order to clean its roof. And while it might look like a road-legal monster truck, the form is all about function. The way the car's set up it should be able to tackle potentially any type of terrain. Mercedes likens it to driving a rally car.
Though just a concept at the moment, if the demand is there, Mercedes will give the car the green light.