Mercedes-Benz G 580: Meet the All-Electric G-Wagon

Since it’s launch in 1979, the Gelandewagen has evolved from an all-terrain SUV to a luxury status symbol. Of course, it maintained its rugged off-roader sensibilities that entire time, making it as viable for overlanding as it is for cruising down the wealthiest luxury neighborhoods. This time, it’s turning into a modern EV in the form of the Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology.

That’s right, the G-Wagon is going electric, swapping out the combustion engine in favor of four electric motors. Other than the motors and the battery array, though, it stays largely true to the G-Class badge, giving you an EV that feels right at home in Mojave Road and Rodeo Drive alike.

The Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology retains the familiar styling of the luxury off-roader, from the boxy lines and long hood to the large wheel arches and the overall muscular stance. It gets the same ladder frame setup from the revised G-Class they unveiled last month, as well as a similar independent front suspension with a solid live axle at the rear. Power is produced by a quartet of motors, one for each wheel, all combining for 579 horsepower and 859 pound-feet of torque. Since this is an EV, that torque kicks in instantly, too, so you have all that power available right from the get-go.

The quad-motor setup allows it to go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, just a fraction of second slower than its gas-powered counterpart, with an electronically-limited top speed of 112 mph. A 116 kWh battery pack provides juice for the motors, giving it around 294 miles of range using the European WLTP test cycle, with the EPA test expected to see it post a range somewhere in the area of 250 miles, so it can travel quite a bit before needing to plug in. The maximum charging speed is 200 kW.

The Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology maintains the off-road chops the brand has been known for. There’s a G-Turn mode that allows drivers to spin the car on its axis to better maneuver on loose surfaces, a G-Steering mode that drags the inside rear wheel to help the car turn on a tighter axis, and a Crawl function that maintains steady slow speeds up to 5-mph on rocky terrains. Other off-roading details include 9.8 inches of ground clearance, 32-degree approach angle, 30.7-degree departure angle, 20.3-degree breakover angle, and the ability to wade in waters up to 33.5 inches deep.

It doesn’t have the traditional front, center, and rear differentials found in previous G-Class vehicles, since the individual motor in each wheel, pretty much, makes it unnecessary. Instead, it uses “virtual differential locking,” which can sense when one of the motors loses its grip and automatically applies intelligent torque vectoring to correct the problem instantly. Inside, it looks very much like your standard G-Class, with a pair of 12.3-inch screens, a grab handle on the passenger side of the dash, and your usual assortment of luxury appointments. Oh yeah, they have a fake engine noise for the vehicle, which is meant to mimic the sound of a gas-powered G-Class during acceleration.

The Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology is expected to come to the US in the second half of the year. Price starts at $152,000.

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