Mercedes has announced a rather drastic cost-cutting plan that will see the death of the manual gearbox and the elimination of many engines and possibly some models. That doesn’t mean the three-pointed star won’t stop from time to time and have a bit of fun by investing money in extremely brilliant concepts. Following the bonkers E-Class All-Terrain 4x42 from 2017, the lifted estate is now getting an electric SUV counterpart in the EQC 4x42.

Much like the G500 4x42 and the ridiculously cool G650 Landaulet, the lifted zero-emissions SUV has portal axles for ultimate off-road prowess. With the wheels no longer at the same height as the axle centre, the ground clearance has more than doubled, from the series 140 mm (5.5 inches) of the EQC 400 4Matic to a whopping 293 mm (11.5 inches). To put that number into perspective, it’s 23 mm (nearly one inch) higher than the all-conquering G-Class.

Gallery: Mercedes EQC 4x4² concept

Switching to portal axles means the wheels are much lower on the axle hubs, allowing an increase of the fording depth by 150 mm (5.9 inches) to 400 mm (15.7 inches). This hardware setup comes along with a major increase in height as the EQC 4x42 stands approximately 200 mm (7.9 inches) taller than the regular version.

It goes without saying portal axles also pay dividends in terms of the approach and departure angles, which have increased from the regular EQC’s 20.6 and 20 degrees to 31.8, and 33 degrees, respectively. These trump those of the G-Class, which has an approach and departure angle of 28 degrees. You’ll also notice the black wheel arch flares that have widened the beefy electric SUV by about 100 mm (0.4 inches).

The EQC 4x42 rides on 20-inch wheels wrapped in chunky 285/50 R20 tires and is equipped with special headlights that double as loudspeakers. Mercedes refers to these as “lampspeakers” and they’re part of the external noise generator (Acoustic Vehicle Alert System, AVAS) electric vehicles are mandated to feature for safety purposes.

As much as we enjoy the rugged electric SUV, it will have the same fate as the E400 All-Terrain 4x4² before it by remaining a one-time affair. The driveable concept is just Mercedes’ way of demonstrating that “electric, progressive luxury goes offroad.”