by Karl Furlong
The G-Class has been a remarkably consistent member of the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, retaining old-school, boxy styling and being based on the same basic platform for many decades. But the G-Class as we know it all undergo perhaps its most extraordinary transformation with the EQG, a fully electric version of the legendary off-roader. The automaker confirmed that an electric version of the G-Class would be coming back in 2019, and the EQG Concept was then unveiled two years later. Boasting four electric motors but familiar styling and a rugged ladder frame, it'll combine traditional G-Wagen characteristics with the instant power of an electric powertrain.
See trim levels and configurations:
|EQG 580 4MATIC||
The release date for the 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQG has yet to be confirmed, but we anticipate that it'll be coming out in 2024 sometime as either a 2024 or 2025 model.
As EVs typically carry higher prices than their conventionally-powered siblings, we expect the price of the Mercedes-Benz EQG to exceed that of the current G-Class. The 2022 G550 will cost $139,900 MSRP, so expect to pay around $150,000-$160,000 for the EQG 560. The more powerful EQG 580 will get closer to the $200k mark. While these trims are unconfirmed, they formed part of an EQG trademark filed by the German manufacturer.
There are no direct rivals for the EQG already on sale in the USA, as the full electrification of large off-roaders is more complex than for smaller crossovers. But we do know that an electric Land Rover Defender is due in 2025.
Mercedes made the smart decision to retain the iconic boxy profile of the classic G-Class for the EQG concept. This will keep brand loyalists happy while increasing the likelihood of G-Wagen owners moving over to the electric EQG in the future.
A recent prototype of the EQG was spotted undergoing winter testing, and it could easily be mistaken for any other G-Class. The blocky windows, upright grille and tailgate, and even the rounded headlights are all instantly familiar. However, the exterior of the Mercedes-Benz EQG concept did introduce a bit more pizzazz to the otherwise rugged 4x4. It comes with illuminated stripes, a two-tone paint finish, eye-catching 22-inch polished wheels, and a closed-off continuous deep black grille section with illumination. This Black Panel Grille features an illuminated Mercedes logo, and the illuminated rings of the headlights are also quite attractive.
At the back, the concept sports a spare wheel cover that is more squared-off in its shape than the usual rounded one, and designed to look like a wallbox, so it can also be used to store the charging cable. Of course, there are no big tailpipes jutting out at the back.
Whether all of these changes will make it to the production EQG remains to be seen, but the two-tone finish looks quite good. Other colors for the Mercedes-Benz EQG could mirror those of the existing G-Class, so possibilities here are Polar White, Black, Iridium Silver, Brilliant Blue, and Manufaktur Cardinal Red.
It doesn't seem like the dimensions of the Mercedes-Benz EQG have changed dramatically from those of the current G-Class, if at all. That means we can reasonably expect it to measure around 189.7 inches in length (including the spare tire), 86 inches or so in width with the mirrors included, and 77.5 inches in height. The unique electric powertrain may alter the G-Class's 113.8-inch wheelbase somewhat, but the final specs will confirm if this is the case.
Four electric motors and a large battery will inevitably increase the EQG's curb weight beyond the 5,500 or so pounds of the current G550. We would not be surprised if it exceeds 6,000 lbs, but hopefully, the same ride height of 9.5 inches is retained or improved. The G-Class's good approach/departure angles of 30.9/29.9 inches, respectively, are also what EQG buyers will be looking out for.
All signs indicate that the new EQG will be a superb off-roader, just like every G-Class before it. It will come with four individually controlled electric motors positioned close to the wheels, enabling an electric all-wheel-drive system that can deliver power and traction to exactly the wheel that needs it. One superfluous but incredibly cool trick that the four-motor EQG will be capable of is the crowd-pleasing tank turn, known by the German brand as the G-turn.
Based on a sturdy ladder frame, the EQG is by no means going soft just because it's turning to electric power. The concept has an independent suspension in front and a solid axle at the back, but reworked for compatibility with the electric motors. A shiftable two-speed gearbox will help the EQG meet the off-road requirements expected of it. As for the G550's 7,000-pound towing capacity, we'll have to see if the EQG can match or surpass that.
We don't know what the combined horsepower of the four electric motors will be yet, but the G550's 416 hp and and 450 lb-ft of torque should easily be trounced, and the 577 hp/627 lb-ft of the G63 could also be under threat from the top EQG. Consider that the EQS 580 SUV already makes 536 hp/633 lb-ft, and that's from only two motors, not four.
The instant torque of the electric motors should deliver quicker 0-60 times than even the G63, possibly dipping into the low four-second bracket.
The EQG is expected to utilize silicon-anode chemistry for its battery, which is claimed to increase energy density by 20% to 40%. Whether it debuts with this technology or not is unclear, so a more traditional battery may be used at launch with a capacity that will surely exceed 100 kWh to meet the needs of a large, powerful off-road vehicle.
Range estimates are unavailable, but with a traditional battery, close to 300 miles will be a good goal. The more advanced silicon-anode battery could push that estimate to 350 miles or so.
Charging capabilities are unknown, but a maximum DC fast-charging speed of at least 200 kW will make it competitive with other modern EVs. Of course, the current 350-kW maximum charging speed is the gold standard.
No pictures of the Mercedes-Benz EQG's interior were revealed when the concept was shown, but spy shots gave us our first look at the cabin. Based on these, the EQG won't have a drastically different interior, much like its exterior. There is a new steering wheel with capacitive buttons and an infotainment display ahead of the driver, but nothing as revolutionary as the Hyperscreen that is found on some Mercedes EVs.
A new panel of buttons between the central ventilation outlets control the G-turn function, but beyond these updates, there doesn't seem to be anything revolutionary about the inside of the EQG. This shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, as this is a vehicle that has traditionally been a straightforward, no-nonsense off-roader that doesn't need any gimmicks to impress.
The seats in the Mercedes-Benz EQG will probably be upholstered in MB-Tex, with leather potentially being available on upper trims. Automatic climate control, heated front seats, and wireless charging will likely be a few of the long list of standard items. The latest MBUX infotainment interface will support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with the latest voice-activated controls and over-the-air updates.
With 38.1 cubic feet of space behind its second row, the current G-Class is a very practical SUV. The cargo space in the new Mercedes-Benz EQG SUV should be very similar.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQG: