2025 Mercedes G-Class tank-turns into EV celebrity

By automotive-mag.com 21 Min Read

Mercedes-Benz mints money with the G-Class. At one point a late-1970s leftover in its model plan, the G has rocketed in status to become one of its bestselling and most profitable—and glitziest—Benz vehicles. 

It remains its most capable off-roader, no question: with three differential locks, nine forward gears, plenty of inches of ground clearance, and hundreds of pound-feet of torque it generates as much good trouble as it has the ability to extract itself from. And that makes it irresistible for athletes, reality-TV characters, and content creators to be seen in one.

It’s been a great success, and that universe can only expand with the 2025 G 580 with EQ Technology. With a hefty battery pack underneath, four motors, 579 hp, and heritage that shames Rivian, Hummer, and especially the Cybertruck, the electric G-Class promises freedom from pavement, all courtesy of battery power.

It also proves out, Benz believes, the wisdom of its quest to eventually electrify every classic model line it builds. 

“If the G can go electric,” Mercedes marketing vice president Bettina Fetzer told a group during a background session a week before this test drive, “any car can go electric.”

I’ll never become Internet-famous for owning one, not at the G’s starter-home prices, not for all the lip filler in L.A. County. But I do have one step up on the celebs lining up for one now.

I’ve driven it already.

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

Mercedes-Benz G 550: Ditching the ripping V-8 for a silky turbo-6

For the gas-powered Gs, this year brings more of a mid-life update than a full rethink. It remains a ladder-framed, five-seat SUV that sits at the pinnacle of off-road capability, thanks to everything that sits beneath its box-tastic body.

In the G 550, the former twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 drops out, while a 3.0-liter turbo-6 drops in, teamed to a 9-speed automatic. With 443 hp, it’s 27 hp stronger than the old V-8 and thanks to a standard 48-volt mild-hybrid system, it can top that off with an additional 20-hp and 184 lb-ft of boost when it launches from a stop, or during other high-load situations. The independent front suspension and live rear axle still adopt adaptive dampers. Ground clearance still posts up at 9.5 inches, at a minimum, and fording depth lets it trudge through up to 27.6 inches of water.

Over a road course circling the town of Narbonne, France, the G-Class smoothed out its farm clothes, revealing a vehicle that’s not changed much dynamically since we drove the newly reinvigorated 2019 G-Class in the same part of the world. It’s been mildly updated outside with bits designed for the electric G, including side fairings and a windshield-header spoiler for better airflow. 

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550

As for the interior, the dashboard gets illuminated air vents and a steering wheel with capacitive touch controls, and twin 12.3-inch screens that display gauges and infotainment—as well as the Offroad Cockpit, which spreads information about vehicle tire pressure, altitude, steering angle, and differential locks across its combined span. In addition, camera views stitch together to give the driver a view of what’s going on under the front end and by the wheels to aid navigation through tight, rocky trails. All else feels familiar in look and feel. 

On a moderately challenging path laid out on an ascent toward power-producing windmills, the G 550 picked through grunky rubble in its usual steadfast way. Incredibly smooth and capable, it encouraged tapping the diff-lock buttons like piano keys, while the views from the Offroad Cockpit spun and lit like one of the more classy casinos. I leaned forward in the seat to avoid pistoning while we yumped over protruding rocks that barely grazed the skid plates. The sturdy outfitting almost puts people out of work: in another off-road era, we’d have needed a navigator, a spotter, and someone to come reel us in when we cut a tire sidewall on a rock.

There was much less need for concern on the street loop that followed. The turbo-6 spins up in whorled of incredibly smooth torque, while the G 550’s multi-contour seats pumped up their bolsters as the G’s weight shifted into the steeply curved roads that link the lakes and valleys of this corner of Occitanie. The power delivery’s not so different from the former V-8, and neither is the manner in which the G 550 bounds over dodgy runs, leaning and bracing its passengers from harsh transitions. 

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

2025 Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63

Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG: Where the V-8 lives on

Not every gas-powered G-Class has an inline-6. The rorty twin-turbo V-8 lives on in the G 63, fleshed out with a vibrant and husky soundtrack to the tune of 585 hp, shifted through a 9-speed automatic. With the same 48-volt mild-hybrid system as the G 550, the AMG G 63 might be slightly more efficient than before, but it’s hard to notice as it lurches then rockets to 60 mph in as little as 4.3 seconds, stretching its legs toward a 149-mph top end. 

On the same road loop, its V-8 remained very much a talker: it burbled and blatted feedback from throttle inputs, muted when you’re on the inside but without subtlety if you’re perched by its exhaust tips. Watch it peel out of a parking lot and hear its Jurassic roar, and there’s little doubt which G-Class it is. 

Then, I dove into the valley loop with gusto. The G-Class’s new electrohydraulic Active Ride Control suspension didn’t get fazed. Its channels of hydraulic fluid build pressure against body lean where a torsion bar normally would limit movement; Mercedes says it’s faster to respond, allows for wider spring tuning, and permits a softer ride. With three different levels of actuation in the G-Class’s drive modes (which add two with Active Ride Control), the system grants the AMG G 63 much improved body control. Much of the head toss I’ve felt in older G-Classes has been filtered off, and it’s much easier to drive quickly when the conditions allow it. Its electric power steering acts more precisely as the suspension squares better against the road, and while you’d probably pick something better suited to go faster on skinnier roads, this one will do it.

Take it to a special high-speed off-road loop, as I do after a gut-shaking demo lap from a pro Benz driver, and the G 63 becomes a maul that splits muck from rock at unimaginable speeds. The lap time’s pegged at about three minutes and my test pilot hammers at it until we slide a third of the way around at the rear. While the trick suspension charms the bumps from the pavement, it also grants better wheel articulation—while the G 63’s collection of drive modes and functions lets traction and stability control fade out of the picture. Jouncing, flouncing, sliding, veering, bouncing, I learn how Samsonite luggage feels when it’s flung into planes now. It’s the best three minutes I have all week. For the moment.

I’m laughing at the whole ridiculous idea of a 6,000-pound SUV doing all of this, or needing to do this, but not when it’s my turn to do this. Not when my co-pilot turns traction control down to a 3, and the G 63 AMG wags its tail like a newborn guppy through an off-camber descent. I slide through turns, wait a half-century for the wipers to clear the tidal wave of muck kicked onto the flat windshield, and peg it again, then position it for a hillclimb.

The instructor says to step it up to 80 kph (50 mph) for the next crest. I’m a people-pleaser so I flick it up to 90 kph (56 mph)—and we soar over a jump spot, airborne for a moment, then touch down with a slightly squirrely motion at the rear. Pigs may not be able to fly, but the G 63 AMG can, to the mild consternation of all.

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

Mercedes-Benz G-Class EV: Electrifying stunts, better off-road too

But if it’s stunts you want, there’s no multi-trick pony on Earth that delivers what the new battery-powered G 580 with EQ Technology can. Just a week prior, I had stood on the shore of the Beverly Hills reservoir when it bowed as Travis Scott rapped a half-hour set from the roof of the vehicle while Bradley Cooper chilled on a banquette and George Russell stood a half-yard away. Now who’s spinning in the new electric G-Class first? 

Anyone worried that battery power would reduce the G-Class to a shrinking showpiece should check the board. Electricity gives it a new edge, not just in quiet enjoyment of the world beyond the road, but in the neater moves it can execute to avoid ruining that same landscape.

With the same body and ladder frame, the electric G 580 folds in a 116-kw lithium-ion battery housed between ladder rails and covered by a thick carbon-infused plate. With 216 cells, 12 modules, two layers, and three cooling circuits, it pumps up the G-Class to roughly 6,800 pounds compared to about 5,500 pounds for a G 550 (there’s no tow hitch; any pulled vehicle would put it into the same weight class as the Hummer EV). U.S. EPA-rated range should check in at about 240 miles, and with 200-kw charging it should take just over a half-hour to refill from 20-80%. Mercedes doesn’t plan for a custom off-road charging network, but the electric G will get a NACS charging port soon.

A quartet of 108-kw electric motors puts out 579 hp and 859 lb-ft of torque, and each gets its own transmission for a true low-range mode.  The electric motors also eliminate the need for locking differentials since each wheel’s torque can be controlled individually. The specs end up in sync with the AMG 63: the G 580 hits 60 mph in less than 4.7 seconds, though top speed gets capped at 112 mph. 

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

An hour’s street drive warms the impression of the battery swap. It’s hushed, of course, and the heft of the pack works in concert with the suspension’s adaptive dampers and DeDion tube (swapped in for a rigid axle link, to clear the rear motor) to mute even more swells in the pavement. It steps away strongly, and in the background, the so-called “G-Roar” subs in electronic sounds that evoke but don’t mimic those of a V-8.

A smart regenerative braking setup gathers information about cornering angle and speed to redirect energy back into the battery during deceleration; paddle controls flip that Auto mode into a D+ mode that delivers minimal regen, while Normal and D- and D- – modes boost it successively, though they come up shy of full one-pedal driving. The friction brakes have hydraulic assist, and in combination with 265/60R18 tires and a Normal drive mode, the G 580 has a very SUV-like turning radius of 44.6 feet. 

The key specs, though, tell a promising story: Ground clearance between the axles of the G 580 EQ stands at least at 9.8 inches. It offers a breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, an approach angle of 32.0 degrees, and a departure angle of 30.7 degrees. 

The priorities get clear when the electric G-Class heads for trails. Open its windows and enjoy some silence. It’s so quiet, I can hear almost three feet of water splursh up against its door panels while we cruise through the aftermuck of heavy spring rains. It can ford more than 33 inches of water, better than the standard G, and it bounds around the same trails that the gas-powered models handle with ease, unworried over the occasional impacts against its carbon underside. 

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

Drive modes, G-Steering and G-Turns

Much of the electric G’s behavior gets governed by drive modes tuned by extensive prep work on the same paths as the other models. It’s been tested on the same mountain trails at Austria’s Schöckl as the standard G-Class, and there and here, the electric G’s off-road cruise control sets it up for low, variable, and fast off-road crawl capability of up to 5 mph, all engineered through precise motor control. It’s undeterred by scarring stones that crop up into the path, and the cruise modes allow off-road driving to mostly be watched over by the driver with a flick or three of the paddles. 

The usual on-road Comfort, Sport, and Individual drive modes join with Trail and Rock programs, and it’s the latter one that engages with the G 580’s most cunning stunts. Rock mode permits Low mode, which reduces each wheel’s gear ratio to 2:1 and limits speed to about 53 mph. From there, G-Steering takes just the tap of a button. Come to a tight bend in the trail with no place for a K-turn? Flick it on, and the all-wheel-steering system slashes turning radius as long as the surface isn’t too grippy. I slid around a tree trunk stuck in the neck of the road, while a gas-powered follow vehicle had to pick around the bend carefully. Ithen whipped it through a coned slalom by making sloppy full-lock cranks at the wheel and letting it pivot itself through knots. It’s a machine that begs to slide where it looks like it shouldn’t.

Then I reach the open dirt field where I can give one final spin—a literal 360, or 720, in truth. On low-friction level surfaces the G 580 signs off on electric superiority with G-Turn. Rivian’s similar Tank Turn feature was canceled due to environmental concerns, while the GMC Hummer EV and the related Sierra EV have a CrabWalk setup for diagonal driving. G-Turn outspins them. In D, with Rock and Low modes selected, a full crank of the steering wheel and a press on the accelerator pivots the SUV in a tight circle, almost like a skid-steer, permitting two complete revolutions.

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology electric SUV

In a moment and without much prep at all, I put the SUV into G-Turn mode and centrifuge myself into a spasm of laughs. I’ve slid around cars on ice before, but nothing prepared me for the dizzying loops that happen without fuss. I hold down the paddle, then mat the accelerator, and it skid-steers around in a nearly perfect circle, two full rotations before it locks down the system. It’s a vehicular party trick for the ages, and one that simply underscores how capable the battery-electric G is.

It’s nothing less in the luxury department, either. Riding on a 113.8-inch wheelbase, at 182.0 inches long, 76.0 inches wide, and 78.2 inches tall, the G EQ ladles on the electronica among its usual power features, open-pore wood and leather trim, and ambient lighting. It lights up a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, active lane control, active steering with blind-spot monitors, and automatic parking. Its electronic architecture does not support Level 3 Drive Pilot, however. Add on Burmester sound, twin 11.6-inch rear-seat displays, a dashcam, and a wireless charging pad if you like, or  20-inch wheels, running boards, and a package that lights the star logo, the model name, and the EQ badge.

The electric G-Class arrives at dealers late this year. Prices haven’t been confirmed, but it’s likely the G 580 with EQ Technology will cost more than $150,000—possibly as much as $200,000 based on European prices already announced, or even a quarter-million once it’s upfitted and customized as many will be. 

Surely few of its drivers will object to the price. Sticker shock is for other people. A quarter-million for what’s sure to become one of the most coveted celebrity cars in history? Maybe a quarter-million isn’t enough.

Mercedes-Benz paid for travel expenses so we could spin ourselves silly in the G 580 and get our New Balances stuck in muck.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *