Ever since I attended the Munich debut of the Mercedes-Benz Idea EQG in 2021, the place it premiered with a Buck Rogers–model sci-fi mini movie that featured design head Gorden Wagener alongside individuals in alien costumes, the electrical G-Class has lived lease free in my mind. I can’t consider one other new automobile I’ve been this enthusiastic about, and going to the Beverly Hills reveal of the manufacturing G-wagen EV on the finish of April simply amplified it.

Someway, truly driving the electrical G-wagen each on the paved roads round southern France and on some treacherous off-road programs at Mercedes’ world first-drive exceeded my fairly astronomical expectations. Not solely is it higher to drive on the highway than gas-powered G-wagens, it’s even higher within the tough stuff. Most significantly, the EV has the entire allure and persona that G-Class house owners love a lot; if I have been blindfolded and put in a single, I’d immediately comprehend it was a G-Class.

Full disclosure: Mercedes-Benz flew me to Montpellier, France to drive all the 2025 G-Class lineup, from the brand new inline-6 G550 to the hybridized G63 AMG and, in fact, the electrical G580. They put us up in two completely different fancy wineries, fed us wonderful meals together with G-wagen–formed cookies, and in addition allow us to drive a bunch of heritage G-Class fashions. I used to be grinning from ear-to-ear all the time. Additionally, I lastly watched Tenet on the airplane journey house and didn’t prefer it.

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

The electrical G-wagen’s official title is G580 with EQ Know-how, which is a clunker. Mercedes is transferring away from its EQ branding total, thus why it isn’t known as EQG, however the firm needs to retain a number of the EQ division’s branding and styling parts because it transitions to turning into a totally electric-only model over the following decade. Naming it G580 makes it clear that that is nonetheless only a G-Class on the finish of the day, and Mercedes’ engineers, entrepreneurs and executives have agreed that nobody will consult with this automobile by its full title anyway — everybody will simply name it “the electrical G” or one thing related. It’s a G-wagen, finish of story.

However below the pores and skin the electrical G-Class is a radical departure from each G that got here earlier than it, essentially the most thorough remodeling of the mannequin for the reason that 2018 redesign (and possibly much more so, actually). The electrical mannequin needed to retain the identical ladder body as the usual G, which was a problem for packaging the batteries and different powertrain parts as you possibly can solely match a lot throughout the current platform. The G580 has a two-tiered 116-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that’s just like the one present in the EQS, with the entire 216 cells contained throughout the ladder body’s construction. The body itself has been bolstered, too.

Chassis of a Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

The G580 makes use of a quad-motor configuration — one of many solely such setups within the trade together with Rimac and Rivian, although Mercedes was first to deliver a quad-motor EV to manufacturing with the SLS Electrical Drive again in 2013. Every of the G580’s 145-hp motors has its personal centrally shifted two-speed transmission and the entrance and rear motors are every constructed right into a shared housing that incorporates two motors, transmissions, and a double inverter. Complete output is 579 horsepower and 859 pound-feet of torque, 2 hp and 232 lb-ft greater than the brand new mild-hybrid G63 AMG and 136 hp and 446 lb-ft greater than the brand new mild-hybrid six-cylinder G550. The motors are mounted on to the ladder body, with dual-joint driveshafts which have slip joints connecting them to the wheels. Whereas the G580 has an unbiased double-wishbone entrance suspension like different G-wagens, the rear axle makes use of a newly developed De Dion setup, which Mercedes says means camber doesn’t change with compression.

Cutaway of the electric motor housing of a Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

This cutaway exhibits how the motors are built-in
Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

The EV wanted to seem like a G-wagen, so there are solely a few tells that you just’re taking a look at an electrical one. As commonplace it has the identical four-bar grille and entrance air intakes because the G550, which additionally eschews uncovered exhaust suggestions. The electrical G has a barely taller hood bulge and air curtains forward of the rear wheels, plus EQ badges on the fenders, however in any other case it appears to be like equivalent to the gas-powered G’s. Add the accessible AMG Line package deal and also you get wider fender flares, and naturally the G580 may be had with just a few completely different Evening Packages that black out a lot of the trim, in addition to another design packages and exterior trim choices.

If you wish to be sure that individuals know your G-wagen is electrical, there are just a few choices you possibly can select. The primary is the black panel grille remedy, which supplies the G580 a largely blocked-off grille with 4 skinny horizontal slats and a chrome grille border that illuminates with the headlights, plus a shiny black {surround} that extends to {surround} the headlights. I believe this setup appears to be like extraordinarily cool, particularly for those who go for the optionally available black fender flares and bumpers, and it’s a pleasant retro nod to the unique G-wagen’s entrance finish.

Front 3/4 view of a white Mercedes-Benz G580 EV next to a beige G580

Each of those are the electrical one
Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

The opposite possibility is the Design Field on the rear that replaces the standard spare tire. This rounded rectangle is hinged on the identical facet because the tailgate itself, opening as much as reveal a surprisingly giant storage compartment that has a devoted area for the charging cable, plus cubbies and nets for different objects. At the least on the Version One fashions, the outside of the field has a break up shade setup, with the higher part being black to mix in with the traces of the rear window. I actually just like the Design Field, and I believe most house owners would get extra use out of it than the spare tire, although it’s nice that each can be found. Monster 4×4 Squared fashions apart, the G580 can be the primary G-Class to supply a spare tire delete from the manufacturing facility, placing the Mercedes star low down on the tailgate and including a delicate clean panel the place the spare tire mount could be.

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Virtually nothing in regards to the cabin lets this G-wagen is electrical, both. There are some EV-specific info menus and gauge cluster designs… and that’s principally it. Lastly the G-Class will get a central touchscreen operating the MBUX infotainment system, an enormous improve over the outdated Comand setup, and it has Mercedes’ glorious voice assistant. The dashboard local weather controls have been streamlined, and there’s a brand new steering wheel. Visually zhuzhing up the inside are further ambient lighting strips, climate-controlled cupholders and new trim parts. Most likely the most important deal for current house owners is the addition of keyless entry for the primary time on a G-wagen, together with for the swing-out tailgate, with out shedding the bolt-action rifle locks or the heft of the doorways and the tactile expertise you get with the latches.

From the second I set off, the G580 feels similar to some other G-wagen by way of total character, nevertheless it’s improved in some essential methods. The steering feels heftier than the G550’s, which I believe is a optimistic, and it’s nonetheless straightforward to drive with just some fingers or a light-weight contact. Although it has common metal springs with adaptive dampers, the journey high quality is a lot better than on a G550 or commonplace G63, it soaks up extra highway imperfections, and the suspension has pitch and roll stabilization however nonetheless permits sufficient of the basic G-wagen lean in corners. I want the G580 was accessible with the G63’s new Energetic Trip hydraulic suspension, which massively modifications the G’s dynamics, however the G580 remains to be a greater expertise than the G63 with out it.

Interior of a Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

Regardless of being about half a second slower to 60 mph than the V8-powered G63 — Mercedes quotes a 4.6-second 0-to-60-mph time, versus 4.2 seconds for the G63 and 5.3 seconds within the six-cylinder G550 — the G580 feels a lot faster in actual life. As you possibly can see from my video beneath, it doesn’t lose steam because the velocity rises, surging forwards in the direction of a 112-mph prime velocity. Flooring it’s giggle-inducing; like with different G-wagens the entire entrance finish rises up like a ship below acceleration – it’s enjoyable, it nonetheless feels managed. The powertrain is a lot extra responsive than even the G63’s V8, and the torque vectoring capabilities imply I can carry extra velocity right into a nook and speed up more durable popping out of 1 with out worrying about whether or not this massive tank can deal with it. Each G-wagen is giggle-inducing to drive, and the G580 is not any exception.

Each 2025 G-Class is far quieter than final yr’s mannequin due to a bunch of small aerodynamic tweaks, like a smoother A-pillar and a brand new spoiler at the forefront of the roof, that have been primarily carried out to enhance the EV’s vary. The electrical G additionally has extra sound insulation, and it’s simply the quietest G-wagen ever, with acoustic consolation worthy of the vault feeling you get from slamming the door. At larger speeds some wind noise nonetheless penetrates — there’s no getting round how upright and flat the greenhouse is — nevertheless it’s rather more luxurious total.

Apart from the way it appears to be like, probably essentially the most essential factor in regards to the G580 is the way it sounds, doubly so with the inside being such a peaceful setting. For many years now G-wagens have been identified for his or her side-exit exhaust suggestions and signature rumbling engine word and each are absent on the EV. As an alternative, Mercedes developed what it calls G-Roar, described as a “a powerful acoustic accompaniment to the acceleration with deep bass and sonorous tones.” The sounds aren’t very intense when tootling round in Consolation, however in Sport mode the G-Roar actually comes alive. It doesn’t sound like an engine, per se, nevertheless it affords lots of the similar auditory sensations that the G63’s V8 does. It burbles at low speeds, with an intense waffling sound getting louder below acceleration. The sounds are audible from exterior the automobile too. Like different EV sounds it actually received’t be for everybody, however I completely adore it.

There are 5 completely different ranges of regenerative braking within the G580, together with a no-regen mode and an auto mode that adjusts the recuperation in line with your driving and the site visitors forward. Probably the most intense of the 5 settings doesn’t fairly give the G580 one-pedal driving, which is a disgrace, however with 217 kW of recuperation functionality the regen is robust sufficient to get virtually the entire work accomplished, and it even takes me a bit to get used to how aggressive the preliminary deceleration is. Fortunately the G580 isn’t plagued with the moving-pedal function that Mercedes’ early EQ fashions had. Regenerative braking is without doubt one of the most transformative additions to the G-wagen’s driving expertise, and it’s one of many issues I miss essentially the most after I leap again right into a G550 after driving the EV.

Front 3/4 view of a blue Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

I don’t have sufficient time within the G580 to get a way of its real-world vary, however will probably be greater than sufficient for the common G-wagen proprietor. In Europe the G580 has a most vary of 295 miles on the WLTP cycle, which can probably work out to round 250 to 275 miles within the U.S. EPA cycle. Certain, within the grand scheme of EVs that’s not so much, however the gas-powered G-wagens get such shitty gasoline mileage that the majority house owners will in all probability discover it to be an enchancment. I imply, the present G63 is rated at 13 mpg within the metropolis, and in the actual world it’s a lot worse than that — the 2025 G63’s mild-hybrid setup will assist, however not by a major quantity.

The G580 helps DC fast-charging of speeds as much as 200 kW, adequate to go from 10 to 80 p.c cost in 32 minutes. Mercedes says principally all house owners will cost at house anyway, and G-Class house owners would sometimes take one in every of their different automobiles if they should do a highway journey. But when the vary can be a concern, like for those who wish to do longer-distance off-roading or overlanding, Mercedes says that in just a few years the G580 will change into accessible with new silicon-anode batteries that can enhance vitality density by 40 p.c and enhance vary by round 100 miles.

So, the electrical G-wagen is implausible on highway, the place commenters will say that the majority of them will spend all their time anyway, however a G-Class nonetheless must be the perfect off-roader potential regardless of the powertrain — and the EV is. The G580’s 9.8 inches of floor clearance is 0.3 inches better than a G550, and its method and departure angles are barely higher as nicely, although the breakover angle is 5.7 levels worse. It will possibly climb a 100-percent grade similar to different G-wagens, and it’s steady on sideways slopes of as much as 35 levels.

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Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

Mercedes has arrange an hour-long off-road course that snakes across the vineyard’s hills, for which I swap into a unique G580, this one painted Sand Beige with the accessible 18-inch wheels sporting Falken Wildpeak A/T all-terrain tires. (If you need this setup, you sadly can’t select the AMG Line that provides wider rear fenders.) That is no newbie’s course, both. It’s been raining all day, so there are extra mud puddles and washed-out sections than Mercedes anticipated, and the course is stuffed with deep ruts, difficult rock-crawling sections and different hazards.

One of many G-wagen’s longtime signature options are its lockable differentials, of which trendy fashions have three, however the electrical G580 doesn’t have any diff lockers — no less than, not “actual” ones. Due to the quad-motor setup, the G580 makes use of torque vectoring to create digital differential locks that work mechanically, controlling the torque at every wheel inside fractions of a second. Whether or not you’re sliding round like a rally driver or slowly climbing a rocky hill, the G580 is at all times getting the optimum quantity of energy and traction to every wheel.

What’s not digital is the G580’s Low Vary, an precise off-road 2:1 gear discount that’s accessible within the Rock drive mode, which is what I keep in for the entire drive. Low Vary works at as much as 53 mph, and Mercedes says the automobile’s dealing with and response traits change when it’s activated. In Low Vary the motors are placing out 3,319 lb-ft of torque; Mercedes’ engineers say that determine may very well be a lot larger however that might be pointless.

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Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

When Low Vary is activated, utilizing a button within the middle of the sprint the place the diff lockers usually could be, the G580’s crawl management perform is instantly turned on as nicely. It principally works like an off-road cruise management, managed by the identical steering wheel paddles that usually management regen braking. Within the slowest setting the automobile maintains a velocity of simply 1 mph, whereas within the quickest setting the G580 goes 5 mph on degree or uphill terrain and has no set velocity whereas going downhill, as a substitute utilizing the recuperation to gradual the car relying on how steep the grade is. The center setting is known as “variable crawl,” and it retains the automobile at a strolling tempo.

In any of the three settings the motive force remains to be capable of speed up or brake if wanted, and the automobile will return to the crawl velocity after or preserve the velocity you’ve adjusted to. The crawl management works in reverse too, because the G580 in entrance of me demonstrates by backing up a really steep, rocky hill. It appears to be like like footage being performed in reverse, prefer it shouldn’t be potential to do in actual life. Not needing to do any acceleration or braking inputs makes off-roading a lot much less traumatic, particularly when going up a steep grade or via a very tough part, and the general quietness of the cabin provides to the calmness. I can hear the motors whirring as rocks ping towards the underbody, and it’s straightforward to carry a dialog with my passenger and benefit from the sounds of nature whereas nonetheless specializing in the path. The G-Class additionally has a brand new clear hood function that makes use of the surround-view cameras to point out a digital view of what’s beneath the entrance finish.

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Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

One of the vital frequent considerations with electrical off-roaders is defending the battery pack, and Mercedes has that taken care of. Overlaying almost all the underbody is a one-inch-thick defend panel that’s two skinny items of carbon sandwiching a particular composite that Mercedes received’t speak about but, with a layer of stone-chip safety added on. The panel weighs simply 127 kilos, one-third of what a metal panel could be, it’s bolted onto the body with 50 metal fasteners so it could simply get replaced if wanted. The battery, motor housings, suspension parts and different essential elements are additionally designed to face up to mud, water, and different excessive circumstances and put on.

The G580 can even ford water as much as 33.5 inches deep, 5.9 inches better than the gas-powered G’s, which I get to expertise by driving via an opaque muddy river. My Mercedes engineer co-pilot remarks that due to the rain this water crossing is extra like 35.5 inches deep, however the G580 makes it via no downside, utilizing crawl management to wade via at the next set velocity. The EV’s silence undoubtedly makes water coming as much as the highest of the hood much more nerve-wracking, although.

Rear 3/4 of a beige Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

We come to a cease in a muddy car parking zone to check out G-Flip, the electrical G-wagen’s largest get together trick. It’s straightforward to activate, although it does take just a few steps. With one foot on the brake, first you press the G-Flip button on the sprint subsequent to Low Vary, and then you definitely maintain down the steering wheel paddle that’s within the course you need the automobile to spin. Whereas holding the paddle and holding the steering wheel completely straight — even a slight flip will cancel the movement — put your proper foot on the accelerator, launch the brake, and the automobile begins spinning completely in place. Most individuals will in all probability use G-Flip to make bystanders stare in awe and snigger (and Mercedes says it shouldn’t be used on pavement), however will probably be a real assist if you’ll want to flip round on a path or get round an impediment.

If it appears to be like hilarious from exterior the automobile, it’s even funnier once you’re contained in the automobile experiencing it. There aren’t any unusual noises or unsettling vibrations, there’s no physique roll or suspension flex. The G-wagen stays completely flat and steady because it spins round — at fairly a excessive velocity, I’d add. It’ll just do over two full rotations earlier than coming to a cease, although the motive force can instantly cancel the spin at any time by letting go of the paddle, taking their foot off the accelerator or turning the steering wheel. You may hold activating the G-Flip time and again, too.

Not as spectacular visually however helpful in much more conditions is the G-Steering perform, which is toggled by the third locker-replacing button on the sprint. By controlling the torque being despatched to every wheel and locking one or each of the internal wheels if wanted, G-Steering significantly reduces the G580’s turning radius. The course has a bunch of corners that might be far too tight for a G to get round usually with out making a three-point flip, however with G-Steering lively I’m capable of drive round them with ease. It really works at as much as 15 mph, and the perform will keep on for a very long time for those who don’t flip it off.

It’s a little bit of a bizarre sensation, type of like drifting however with out the rear finish being truly kicked out. The motion is extraordinarily linear; the quantity that I believe I want to show the steering wheel to get across the nook is the precise correct quantity, I don’t must make any little corrections or changes partway via. Mercedes additionally has us do a slalom course via the mud, with the cones positioned so shut collectively that principally no automobile might do it, not to mention a G-wagen. However with G-Steering turned on, the G580 simply rotates round every cone. Mixed with the G-Class’ comparatively small footprint, the G-Steering will open up much more path prospects that earlier fashions couldn’t navigate. I solely scratch the floor of the G580’s capabilities, so I can’t wait to take one on some lengthy off-roading journeys in California.

Under the hood of a Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

Mercedes hasn’t introduced pricing for the U.S. market but, but when it’s something just like the German pricing, the G580 EV could be the perfect deal within the G-Class lineup. With the necessary 19-percent VAT tax included, the G580 begins at slightly below €143,000, the equal of about $154,000. That’s solely €11,000 (about $12,000) greater than the brand new G500 (bought because the G550 in America). Within the U.S. the present V8 G550 begins at $144,150 together with vacation spot, and the refreshed inline-6 mannequin could be nearer to $150,000. If the electrical G-wagen is available in at round $170,000 — fifteen grand lower than the G63 — I believe that’ll be a hell of a deal.

When the G580 hits U.S. supplier heaps within the second half of this yr, it’ll solely are available Version One kind. Principally the launch version, this mannequin is restricted to only 5 colours and can come totally loaded, with particular badges, blue accents on the outside trim strips and inside carbon fiber, and another distinctive styling bits. Count on Version Ones to value no less than $200,000, earlier than you add any markups (and there will probably be markups). If you wish to spec your electrical G-wagen your self — and you must — the 2026 mannequin will in all probability change into accessible in early spring. By means of Mercedes’ Manufaktur program, G-Class prospects have over a million potential shade and trim possibility mixtures, with greater than 20,000 paint colours to select from and the power to create bespoke specs.

Front 3/4 view of a green Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

Mercedes doesn’t have any particular gross sales targets for the EV, and there aren’t any plans for an enlargement of the Graz manufacturing facility, although the corporate admits it might be potential sooner or later. No, the G-wagen will keep a purposefully restricted commodity, although Mercedes is making greater than ever. In 2023 greater than 10,000 G’s have been bought within the U.S. alone, virtually beating the S-Class, and right here the G63 vastly outsells the G550 — I’ve heard the gross sales break up at the moment sits at round 80 p.c for the AMG. G-Class manufacturing is versatile, so Mercedes is ready for any degree of EV demand and might regulate output accordingly.

In a roundtable on the launch, Michael Schiebe, AMG CEO and head of the G-Class division, stated he thinks the EV might change into the most well-liked G-wagen mannequin by the tip of the last decade, particularly in international locations like China, and he expects the EV will each herald new prospects and conquests to the model and maintain main enchantment to current G-wagen house owners. The G-Class has the second-wealthiest house owners within the Mercedes model, second solely to Maybach, and its common buyer is getting youthful and extra accepting of electrification. As for the potential of an electrical AMG variant, Schiebe wouldn’t speak about any official plans, however the glint in his eye and the smile on his face principally confirmed it’ll occur finally.

The G-wagen appeared like it might be one of many final automobiles to convincingly go electrical, and some of the tough buyer bases to transform, however the G580 with EQ Know-how proves it’s truly the best candidate. The electrical G-Class is simply as lovable as its gas-powered siblings, with its personal distinctive character and unmatched off-road efficiency. I believe it’s a house run, a smash hit, a tour de drive, no matter different flip of phrase you possibly can consider. I badly need one, no, I want one, and that’s precisely how a G-wagen ought to make you’re feeling.

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Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

Rear underbody of a Mercedes-Benz G580 EV

Photograph: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

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