The Mercedes G-Class has always been a robust climber from Graz, one of the brand’s most successful and lucrative models. The subtle refresh of the new model is one thing; however, by mid-year, the long-awaited electric version will finally be available.

Off-road, it’s not just ground clearance and overhangs that determine whether a trail can be conquered, but also the mass involved. The new G-Class with electric drive tips the scales at almost 3.1 tonnes. Visually, compared to the previous combustion engine model, almost nothing has changed. The aerodynamic fine-tuning of the electrified version includes a new A-pillar, a revised front mask, and modified headlights. While the combustion models receive minor drive enhancements and the robust base package of a ladder frame, three mechanical differential locks, and a terrain reduction gear with a rigid rear axle and independent front suspension, the G 580 EQ shines with a battery pack exceeding 100 kWh. This battery is securely housed within the ladder frame to ensure electric ranges of over 400 kilometres.

However, the electric version, dubbed the G 580 EQ, does not feature the roaring 585 PS V8 twin-turbo of the AMG G63, nor the 449 PS inline-six of the G500, or any efficient diesel technology. Instead, it employs an electric motor at each of the four wheels, aimed at ensuring maximum traction, particularly in tough off-road conditions.

The four electric motors produce a combined output of 432 kW / 588 PS, matching the new AMG version’s power levels. The electric drive offers a significant increase in maximum torque, providing the driver of the Mercedes G 580 EQ access to a staggering 1,164 Nm, compared to the already generous 850 Nm. This power propels the vehicle from a standstill to 100 km/h in under five seconds. However, the top speed is disappointingly limited to 180 km/h, whereas the combustion engine top model reaches up to 240 km/h.

Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology, Exterior: MANUFAKTUR desert sand non-metallic, Interior: Leather black
(Energieverbrauch kombiniert: 27,7-30,3 kWh/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km | CO2-Klasse: A)

In combustion models, the engine power is transmitted to both axles through a nine-speed automatic transmission, and a transfer case ensures the drive torque is distributed 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the rear axle. This elaborate and rugged off-road technology is redundant in the electric model. Even without the intelligent multi-disc clutch, the 4.62-meter long electric G-Class remains highly manoeuvrable, as each of the four electric motors is controlled separately, receiving exactly the power needed to grip the surface. Thus, the corresponding differential locks are also unnecessary.

Yet, it can still tackle gradients of up to 100 percent and manage lateral slopes of up to 35 degrees with ease, as well as wade through water up to 85 centimeters deep. “Thanks to the individually controllable electric motors and the lower center of gravity, we view the electric G-Class as even more capable off-road than the combustion models,” says G-Class chief developer Fabian Schossau.

Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology, Exterior: MANUFAKTUR desert sand non-metallic, Interior: Leather black
(Energieverbrauch kombiniert: 27,7-30,3 kWh/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km | CO2-Klasse: A)

For relaxation during tough off-road driving, features include a virtually transparent bonnet, terrain reduction gearing, and a special climbing mode. Those who love show effects will likely be intrigued by the so-called G-Turn, which allows the electric G-Class to rotate on the spot because the left and right drive wheels rotate in opposite directions. This reduces the turning circle from 13.6 meters to almost zero. The substantial battery pack in the underbody has its technical price, as the Mercedes G 580 EQ weighs 3,085 kilograms, limiting the payload to a mere 415 kilograms, because the total weight must not climb over the 3.5-tonne mark.

The boot, with its capacity of 555 to 1,990 liters, could handle much more – also because the charging cables can optionally be housed in a box on the rear door, which at first glance appears like a mounted spare wheel. Also new are the first-time available heated armrests, keyless entry, and the overdue MBUX operating system. Mercedes is still holding back on the price; however, it is unlikely to be under 180,000 euros for this earthbound plug-in.

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