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New Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: luxury off-roader gets electric power

All-electric version keeps iconic G-Class profile but gains the latest Mercedes EV technology

Back in 2021, we saw Mercedes preview an all-electric G-Class with the EQG Concept. Fast forward three years and the German firm has finally taken the covers off the production car: the Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology. 

Not much has changed on the outside, with the finished car retaining the distinctive boxy design of the newly-facelifted, combustion-engined G-Class that this electric car will be sold alongside.

Speaking from the reveal event, Mercedes’ Chief Technology Officer, Markus Schäfer, was keen to emphasise that the electric G-Class’s had lost none of the standard car’s off-road prowess. “Throughout its more than 45-year history, the G-Class has always used the most modern drive technology available,” he told us. “So, it's entirely fitting that the innovative drive concept with four individually controlled electric motors once again raises the legendary performance of our off-road icon to a new level.” 

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The electric G-Class actually outperforms its petrol and diesel siblings in some off-road areas, sitting on the same ladder-frame chassis rather than a bespoke pure-electric platform. Auto Express has already experienced the G 580 with EQ Technology from the passenger seat twice before, where it impressed us both on-road and off it.

New Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: powertrains and range

The electric G-Class has one of the largest batteries available on any production EV. The 116kWh battery is the same as found the updated EQS, although the casing has been specially tweaked to fit in the G-Class’ chassis.

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Four electric motors are incorporated into the ladder-frame chassis for a combined 579bhp and 1,164Nm of torque. This allows for a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds and a 112mph top speed. 

As for range, the boxy shape of the G 580 means it can’t come close to the 511-mile range of the recently facelifted and super-aerodynamic EQS. The 4x4 gets a 293-mile maximum range, achieved by making subtle aerodynamic changes to the existing ICE version. Charging speeds are more impressive however, with a 200kW capacity able to recharge the battery from 10-80 per cent in 32 minutes. 

G-Class fans may notice the rear wheel housing looks a little small and thin. That’s not because Mercedes has skimped and started offering space saver tyres, but because it houses the 11kW onboard charging cables. You can, of course, spec a more traditional spare wheel here if you wish. 

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The pre-facelift Mercedes G-Class had a drag coefficient of 0.53Cd, but learnings during the EV’s development slashed that to 0.48Cd. The EV improves on things further with a blanked-off grille, new A-pillar covers, wheel arches and a higher bonnet, cutting the figure to just 0.44Cd.

Toni Mantele, Product Manager for the electric G-Class, told us, “We didn’t want a different vehicle in the eyes of the customers.” This explains the visual similarities to the petrol and diesel models. Although the EV might be more aerodynamically efficient, at 3.1 tonnes it’s significantly heavier than the regular 2.5-tonne G-Class. 

New Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: technology and specifications

Helping to ensure the electric G-Class is as robust as the ICE model, is a protective plate under the battery which can cope with five times the weight of the car. The battery is also waterproof, helping contribute to an 850mm wading depth – 150mm more than the regular car. Overall ground clearance is also better (250mm compared to 241mm) and the side angle matches the petrol G-Class at 35 degrees. 

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To help off-road ability, there are ‘virtual differential locks’ found in the torque vectoring system for each motor. Mercedes says these act like the diff locks in the standard G-Class, stating “the all-new electric G-Class holds a clean, confident line up and downhill, even on the toughest terrain.” 

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With the four motors, the G 580 can send power to individual wheels, giving the car the ability to swivel on its axles. Mercedes calls this the ‘G-Turn’; at an electric G-Class preview event in Las Vegas, Mercedes shut off a section of the city’s famous strip to showcase the feat. Aside from its eye-catching ability, it does have a practical use, as Mercedes says this function can come in handy on tight off-road trails. ‘G-Steering’ works on a similar basis, targeting a smaller turning circle in certain environments.

Then there’s the ‘off-road cockpit’, which displays data such as an artificial horizon, a compass, plus altitude, steering angle, tyre pressures and torque loads. Mercedes has also given the electric G-Class a ‘transparent bonnet’. We saw this feature in the latest GLC SUV where it works in conjunction with the car’s exterior camera to provide a virtual view beneath the front of the car. This should prove useful when approaching steep embankments or when traversing big boulders – as well as in urban environments avoiding things like high kerbs or bollards. 

New Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: design and interior

The all-electric G-Class looks almost identical to the combustion-engined versions, although there are a few key tweaks that set the EV apart. There’s a blanked-off grille, more aero-optimised vents in the front bumper, bespoke alloy wheels and silver ‘EQ’ badges on the wings. Like the facelifted G-Class, the rear camera has been moved to the bumper. 

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UK specifications have yet to be announced but entry-level cars are likely to come in AMG Line trim as standard. This will add 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, wheelarch flares, running boards, brake callipers with “Mercedes-Benz” lettering, and illuminated door sills. 

Inside, the EV looks familiar to the regular G-Class too. The square-edged air vents and grab handle are a “typical G-Class” signatures, according to Mercedes. Natural walnut wood trim, a Nappa leather steering wheel, ambient lighting and leather seats all feature as standard. 

There are twin 12.3-inch screens on the dash with Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system fitted, allowing for the voice assistant to ‘learn’ frequent functions and make suggestions based on the habits of the driver. Augmented reality for the sat-nav is displayed on the central screen and uses the front camera for low-visibility situations. 

New Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology: pricing and rivals

Mercedes will launch the G 580 with EQ Technology later this year and will initially arrive in ‘Edition One’ trim, with further variants scheduled thereafter. Edition One will come with the option of five ‘Manufaktur’ paint finishes, blue accents for the exterior, ‘G’ logos on the doors, black wing mirrors and silver running boards. The car will also feature Edition One interior badging with blue carbon fibre inserts and the ‘Comfort package’, which adds an uprated sound system, sunroof, temperature-controlled cupholders and keyless go. 

The Edition One is expected to cost around £190,000, with lesser models starting around £140,000 when they arrive later. At the electric G-Class’ perceived price point there aren’t many direct rivals, with the likes of the BMW iX, Lotus Eletre and Audi Q8 e-tron undercutting the Mercedes significantly. Aston Martin’s first all-electric car will be an SUV and will surely sit closer to the G-Class’ price as will the upcoming Range Rover EV.

Click here for our list of the best luxury SUVs...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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