Mercedes launches the electric G-Wagon with hypercar tech and tank-like capabilities

It’s not called the EQG but rather the G580 with EQ Technology

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, also known as the Gelandewagen, nicknamed the G-Wagon, considered the dinosaur-daddy of SUVs, never witnessed any dearth when nomenclature. Mercedes further extended that list when it christened the electric concept car as the EQG. And now, Mercedes-Benz has finally launched the production-spec of the electrified G-Wagon at the ongoing 2024 Beijing Auto Show, calling it the Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ technology. And you thought Daenerys Targaryen had a lot of names.

There’s little to differentiate the standard G-Wagon from its electrified derivative and that was a deliberate move by Mercedes-Benz. The G580 with EQ technology retains its boxy old-school proportions and in comes a unique rim design, a small vent on the rear wheel arch and an extra ‘ramp’ on the bonnet to separate the two. These elements further claim to aid aerodynamics by reducing the drag created by the box-on-wheels design. Of course, the blacked-out front grille evidently stands out as a distinct differentiator. But it lends a masked-out look to the front end, something of an automotive iteration of ‘The Incredibles’ character.

The resemblance with the animated superhero can’t hurt the electrified G-Wagon’s image because its capabilities may help it bag the title of ‘The Incredible’. Power gets generated by four motors, one for each wheel – a feat usually found in modern-day hypercars. And each of the four motors gets a dedicated two-speed gearbox to enable high and low-range power delivery – something unheard of. The four-electric motor setup with four gearboxes allows the electric G-Wagon to produce 580hp (hence the G580 naming) with a 0-100kph sprint time of just under 5 seconds.

Some may define that acceleration as slow, especially with the instantaneous torquey nature of EVs, but some need to bear in mind that this EQ-powered G580 weighs 3,090 kilos. The heavy mass also comes down to the fitment of a massive 116kWh battery pack, embedded within the ladder frame chassis. And yet, the new SUV boasts a claimed range of 476 km. Thank the brick-like dimensions for the relatively low range even with the bigger battery setup.

The low range gets compensated with the heightened list of off-road capabilities in the electrified G-Wagon. The physical buttons to engage the differential lock on the centre console from the standard G-Class get replaced by the G-Turn function buttons which allow the all-electric motors to turn each wheel in the opposite direction on its own axis. To put it simply, turn the G-Wagon EV on the spot like a tank can. It may come of significant use to have the car turn around on the spot upon encountering an off-road obstacle, instead of reversing your way back but will mostly be used to get likes and go viral on social media.

The electrification further enhances the electric G-Wagon’s wading depth as there is no engine up front to be mindful of. The EV has a maximum water wading depth of 850mm, 150mm more than its petrol-driving counterpart as reported by the spec sheet. A motor-and-gearbox-on-each-wheel configuration further allows the car to let itself out of sticky situations, courtesy of intelligent torque split on individual wheels. Additionally, Mercedes has incorporated a 26mm-thick panel made of a carbon-inclusive compound material which protects the underbody from any off-road damage but adds over 50 kilos in weight.

But the entire appeal of the iconic G-Wagon rested highly on its throaty and roar-y exhaust note that would’ve attracted the attention of dinosaurs in their time. While the soundless electric powertrain gives that an immediate delete, Mercedes has tried to compensate and please the purists by installing a speaker that’s supposed to shout out something called ‘G-ROAR’. Quality save? Only time and purists will tell.

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