In the new millennium, the Mercedes G-Class has gone through various transformations, from sporty AMG variants to rugged 4×4² and 6×6 models, armored Guard variants, and even regal Landaulet editions. Now, as the automotive world shifts toward zero-emission vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is unveiling a new facet of the G-Class: a clean and sophisticated one, as previewed by the Mercedes EQG concept.
Back in October 2020, during the Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update 2020 event, the company officially confirmed its plans to introduce a fully electric G-Class. The electric G-Class that made its debut at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) is a concept, but the production model, set to launch in the coming year, is expected to closely resemble it. Here’s what we know about this upcoming German electric off-roader.
The Mercedes EQG concept, officially known as the Mercedes Concept EQG, represents a modified version of the second-generation Mercedes G-Class, featuring distinctive EV-inspired design elements and a completely different electric powertrain. Notable exterior changes include a two-tone color scheme with gloss black on the upper portion and gloss aluminum on the lower part, a black panel radiator grille with an illuminated star, an animated squircle pattern surrounding the star, an illuminated band running along the edges of the vehicle, 22-inch EV-style wheels, and a lockable box inspired by EV wallbox chargers in place of the spare wheel cover.
The design philosophy of the second-gen G-Class emphasizes evolutionary changes, maintaining the original character while incorporating progressive updates. This approach aligns with customer preferences, which favor preserving the iconic G-Class look rather than adopting a low-slung aerodynamic design. The EQG concept reaffirms this expectation by closely resembling the regular model.
Although the EQG shares much of its bodywork with the current gas-powered G-Class, there are subtle differences, as reported by Autocar on September 15, 2023. Dr. Emmerich Schiller, CEO of Mercedes-Benz G and Head of the Off-Road Vehicle Division at Mercedes-Benz, mentioned that these modifications may not be immediately obvious but will significantly enhance aerodynamics. Many of the EQG’s aerodynamic improvements will also benefit the facelifted version of the gas-powered G-Class, which is concurrently in development and expected to follow shortly.
Mercedes-Benz plans to conduct extensive global testing of the EQG before it hits the market, ensuring its performance meets expectations. Prototypes of the EQG are frequently spotted undergoing testing in various locations, particularly in Germany and Austria, where engineers are conducting a wide range of tests to fine-tune the electric SUV.
Recently, a camouflaged EQG prototype was captured near Mercedes-Benz Group’s Sindelfingen production facility in Germany. This location is strategically close to Magna Steyr’s engineering center, which is responsible for producing the upcoming electric vehicle. It’s highly likely that the test mule was returning from this nearby engineering center.
The prototype displayed some distinct differences in its front fascia compared to the regular G-Class. These changes included an almost fully covered upper grille with two thin openings on either side of the brand logo, a modified lower air intake, and curvier side air inlets. However, it’s important to note that much of this camouflage and design disguise is likely intentional, and the final production design may differ significantly.
Recent spy photos of the production Mercedes EQG suggest that its interior closely resembles that of the concept model. Some notable differences include a new steering wheel design, reminiscent of the AMG Performance steering wheel with a double-spoke layout, possibly available as an option in the AMG Line or the AMG variant. The climate control panel appears cleaner and draws design inspiration from the new A-Class and new CLA, albeit with different knurls. Additionally, the touchpad seems larger and slimmer than before.
A notable change in the interior layout is the presence of a ‘G-Turn’ switch where the gas-powered G-Class has its rear differential lock switch. The purpose of this switch is explained in more detail below. In the center, there’s a switch to enable low-range gearing, which is particularly useful in the ‘Creeper’ drive mode, essentially functioning as a low-speed cruise control for off-roading. To the left of this switch, where the gas model houses its front differential lock switch, the electric EQG features a switch that hints at another intriguing capability. When asked about this switch during a test drive of an EQG prototype, the response was, “That’s for another day.”
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