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Mercedes G580 electrifies an off-road icon

Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology front quarter.

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is Germany’s answer to Jeep, Hummer, and Land Rover. Combining traditional Mercedes luxury with serious off-road capability, the G-Class, or Geländewagen, as it’s formally known, is right at home on the trail or the valet stand. And now it’s going electric.

Mercedes has been teasing an electric G-Class since 2021, and now it’s finally arrived in the form of the G580 with EQ Technology. Expected to go on sale in the a 2025 model alongside refreshed gasoline G-Class variants, it uses electric powertrain tech to update a classic design and enhance off-road capability.

Unlike Mercedes’ EQ line of EVs, the G580 sticks with the styling of its gasoline counterparts. The only identifiable differences are a raised hood, flared wheel arches that incorporate air curtains, and a charge port. That’s because the G580 uses a modified version of the ladder frame from other G-Class models that’s been modified to house a battery pack and electric motors.

A quad-motor powertrain generates 579 horsepower and 859 pound-feet of torque, which will get the electric G-Class from zero to 60 mph in a Mercedes-estimated 4.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph.

Because it has an electric motor for each wheel, this G-Class doesn’t need the mechanical locking front, center, and rear differentials that help give gasoline G-Classes maximum traction on slippery surfaces. Instead, the electric G-Class simulates locked differentials by automatically metering the amount of torque for each wheel. Each motor also has its own transmission with a low-range reduction gear, providing the same effect as the transfer cases found in internal-combustion off-roaders.

Despite having a 116-kilowatt-hour battery pack slung under its floor (and protected by its own lightweight mixed-material skid plate), the electric G-Class has a claimed 9.8 inches of ground clearance. Mercedes also claims it can ford up to 33.5 inches of water — more than the gasoline G-Class models. Other important off-road numbers include a 32.0-degree approach angle, 30.7-degree departure angle, and 20.3-degree breakover angle.

The quad-motor powertrain also enables some trick features. G-Turn lets the G-Class turn in place like a tank (albeit only for two rotations at a time), G-Steering applies torque to individual wheels to help the G-Class turn more tightly off-road, and the intelligent crawl function maintains a preset speed over loose surfaces. An electric powertrain can’t match the sound of an internal-combustion engine, though, so Mercedes gave the G580 an artificial soundtrack dubbed G-Roar.

Mercedes isn’t discussing range, but 200-kilowatt DC fast charging allows for a 10% to 80% charge in a claimed 32 minutes. An 11-kWAC onboard charger capable of fully recharging the pack in 13.5 hours is included as well, along with the same variable regenerative braking system previously seen in other Mercedes EVs and plug-in hybrids. This lets the driver select the amount of regeneration via steering wheel paddles.

Inside, the G580 offers the same luxurious accommodations as other G-Class models, so you can enjoy Nappa leather upholstery while you bound through the muck. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system carries over from other Mercedes models and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen. A 360-degree camera system also enables a “transparent hood” function, showing what’s directly under the front of the vehicle so drivers can properly asses the terrain.

The G580 with EQ Technology launches in the U.S. in Edition One form, with special paint options and exterior and interior trim details. Mercedes isn’t discussing pricing, but the G-Class has never been cheap. Then again, neither are the rival GMC Hummer EV SUV and Rivian R1S. Electric Jeep and Land Rover models should join this growing niche soon as well, accelerating the electrification of off-roading.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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