At the Mercedes Annual General Meeting, Group CEO Källenius said that the electric G was "phenomenal". It was the best G-Class he had ever driven. That makes everything clear, doesn't it? Now the first independent tests have been published, and they are of course a little more nuanced.

Tim Stevens writes on our American sister site that the G-Class is a rolling paradox: one of the most powerful off-roaders ever is more often to be found in front of a Chanel shop than scrambling up a dry creek bed. But after testing the two combustion versions and the electric version in parallel, Tim likes the electric version best - at least off-road.

Brian Silvestro on Motor1 echoes this sentiment. The electric version is a real G-Class. The sound when closing the doors is as rich as ever, and the traditional spare wheel (or a box for the cables, or even nothing at all) can hang from the rear if desired. Inside, too, there are few differences to the combustion engine. Only the three buttons for the mechanical locks in the centre of the dashboard have been replaced. The centre button is now used for the off-road gear reduction, the two outer buttons for the G-turn and G-steering (more on this later):

Mercedes G 580 EQ (Motor1-Test)

Murray Scullion writes on Autocar that the electric G-Class is more powerful than the G63 with V8, quieter than the G-Class with six-cylinder and better off-road than both. But there is not much rational argument in favour of the G 580 EQ; the car is too cramped in the rear, as well as being expensive and inefficient. Looking in the rear-view mirror is almost completely prevented by the charging cable box. And the voice control interferes even when you don't want it to. The boot is also smaller than that of the combustion engine at 555 litres.

The car, which is not called the EQG but the G 580 with EQ technology, has a 116 kWh battery consisting of 12 modules. The cells are the same as in the EQS battery, but are arranged differently. Here they are arranged in two layers on top of each other; the cooling system is arranged above, below and in between. The battery with silicon-rich anodes is not expected to be available until 2025.

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology

To protect the battery from damage, there is a 2.5 cm thick plate underneath, which, according to Motor1 USA , consists of two carbon fibre layers and a wooden plate in between. The plate is said to weigh only around 60 kilos - only a third of a corresponding steel part. In order to fit the battery into the ladder frame, struts had to be cut, but the battery supposedly compensates for this. As a result, the chassis is said to be even stiffer than that of the combustion engines. 

Technical data of the Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology

  • All-wheel drive with 4 permanent magnet synchronous motors (PSM) close to the wheels with 147 PS each
  • 4 two-speed gearboxes for off-road gear reduction
  • System output / torque: 587 PS / 1,064 Nm
  • 0-62 mph / top speed: 4.7 sec / 180 km/h
  • WLTP power consumption: 27.7-30.3 kWh/100 km (2.24-2.05 mi/kWh)
  • Battery / WLTP range: 116 kWh net / 434-473 km
  • Max. Charging power AC/DC: up to 11 kW AC, up to 200 kW DC
  • Charging time: 12h with AC, 32 min with DC (10-80%)
  • Charging speed: 2.5 kWh/min
  • Dimensions: 4,624 mm length / 1,931 mm width / 1,986 mm height / 2,890 mm wheelbase
  • Luggage compartment: 555-1,990 litres
  • EU kerb weight / payload: 3,085 kg / 415 kg
  • Base price (in Germany): €192,52 (Edition 1), later €142,622

Off-road driving

The drive is provided by four electric motors, which are positioned close to the wheels but are not wheel hub motors. According to Tim, these four motors make off-road driving much easier. The fossil-fuelled G-Class constantly has to switch the mechanical cross locks on and off: To make progress when traction is poor, you activate them, but if you want to turn the corner sharply, you have to deactivate them again. We can confirm this from our own experience with the 2018 G-Class. 

There are no mechanical differential locks in the electric version because there are no differentials. The drive power is distributed electronically to the four motors. The control system prevents a wheel hanging freely in the air from spinning and wasting power. The G 580 EQ also accelerates without any problems in such passages, writes Tim. Brian confirms this: The system works just as well as the mechanical locks. And when scrambling uphill in wet, demanding terrain, the electric version doesn't lag behind a combustion engine.

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology

The axle design of the electric G-Class

The four motors also enable tricks such as turning on the spot (G-turn) and turning around the rear wheel on the inside of the bend (G-steering). For the G-turn, after pressing the button you select the direction of rotation by holding down the corresponding steering wheel paddle and accelerating. The car then performs up to two complete turns, even if you hardly ever need more than 180 degrees off-road. However, this is useful if a trail ends unexpectedly, says Tim.

With G-steering, the rear wheel on the inside of the bend is locked, causing the nose of the car to turn in much faster than usual. According to Tim, this feels similar to drifting at 6 mph. It's fun, but above all it allows the 4.62-metre-long block to get through hairpin bends incredibly quickly.

Another special feature of the electric G-Class is that each electric motor is fitted with a two-speed gearbox, which makes off-road reduction possible - although this is already available in the combustion engine versions. In terms of off-road dimensions, the electric version improves slightly in terms of ground clearance and significantly in terms of fording depth and slope angles, while the ramp angle is reduced from 26 to 20 degrees. 

On the road

On the road, the G 580 EQ feels just as fast as the G63 with the V8 engine, writes Brian. Steering and body control are good and balanced, and the high driving position gives you the feeling of being king of the road. At high speeds, however, the suspension gives a spongy feeling. 

Murray writes that the G-Class has always felt like a lorry, and in the electric version it finally weighs as much. You can feel the weight of three tonnes and the time that elapses between giving a steering command and the reaction is long. The wind noise is also strong. 

Tim is also disappointed with the chassis. The 580 EQ offers a lot of comfort in both modes, but the damping is too weak. The G-Class has never really been excellent on the road, but the electric version conveys a vague feeling that is not present in the other versions.

The testers have different opinions on the artificially generated "G-Roar" sound. The otherwise very critical Autocar colleague thinks the sound is good; it seems like a toned-down version of the V8 sound. Brian, on the other hand , doesn't think it sounds like a V8, but rather a mixture of a spaceship and an in-line four-cylinder engine. He recommends switching off the sound immediately.

Another potential disappointment could be the range. 473 kilometres according to the WLTP standard is not much for a car costing well over €100,000. But that only applies to the people who want to drive the G 580 EQ on the road. According to Mercedes, the electric G-Class drove up and down the Schöckl 14 times off-road, while the V8 version is only supposed to manage this six times.

The bottom line

The electric G-Class is apparently also a real G-Class. It is said to be even better off-road than the combustion engines. On the road, however, the car is under-damped, writes our tester Tim, and the sound of the V8 is obviously a little lacking. The low range of just 294 miles is also a problem here. For over €140,000, you really can get a better electric car for the road than the G-Class.

Gallery: 2025 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Electric Review