Mercedes-Benz G580 first drive: old-school off-roader goes electrical

2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 from three quarter view.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

American automobile patrons principally know Mercedes-Benz as a luxurious model. But for many years, the automaker has additionally produced the powerful, rugged G-Class (also referred to as the Geländewagen or G-Wagen), an SUV not afraid to get its leather-based upholstery muddy. And now, this iconic Mercedes goes electrical.

The 2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 with EQ Technology — the ultimate identify of the SUV beforehand generally known as the EQG — isn’t the primary electrical off-roader. The Rivian R1S and R1T and GMC Hummer EV have confirmed that electrical powertrains and off-roading are a terrific mixture. But the electrical G-Wagen is totally different as a result of it’s based mostly on an internal-combustion mannequin — and a really conventional one at that.

Customers count on a G-Wagen to appear like a G-Wagen, so the design hasn’t modified a lot for the reason that first model started traipsing alongside trails in 1979. Those clients are additionally keen to pay a premium for that look, with present gasoline G-Class fashions priced nicely into six figures. So whereas Mercedes hadn’t introduced pricing for the electrical G-Wagen at press time, don’t count on it to be a cut price.


2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 grille.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

Mercedes took some styling dangers with its EQS and EQE fashions, however it went in the wrong way with the electrical G-Class. You received’t discover a devoted EV platform right here; Mercedes as a substitute tailored EV powertrain parts to suit throughout the G-Wagen’s old-school ladder body. A 116-kilowatt-hour battery pack makes use of the identical cells as Mercedes’ different electrical fashions, for instance, however they’re stacked in two layers to suit between the body rails.

Sitting on high of the body is a calmly modified model of the immediately recognizable physique from gasoline G-Class fashions. Small vents on the rear fender flares, a raised hood, and a principally blanked-off grille are the principle indicators that this G-Class is powered by electrical energy reasonably than gasoline. Everything else is identical, together with hefty doorways that really feel extra applicable for a home than a automobile. Mercedes prioritized aerodynamics with its different EQ fashions, however ensuring the G580 seemed like a real G-Class took precedent right here. Mission completed.

Similarities with gasoline G-Class fashions carry by to the inside. A G-Class might look powerful and militaristic on the surface, however on the within it’s as luxurious as some other well-equipped Mercedes. It additionally has the identical design aesthetic, with huge spherical air vents, 64-color ambient lighting, and glossy metallic trim that makes for an odd distinction with the chunky dashboard seize deal with and distinguished dashboard buttons for the G580’s varied off-road options.

Making the G580 appear like a real G-Class took precedent right here.

Because it makes use of an internal-combustion-derived platform, the G580 additionally has the identical retro driving place as gasoline G-Class fashions. You sit rather more upright than in most different trendy SUVs, with the steering wheel positioned at an angle that makes a relaxed seating place much more tough. This additionally means headroom in each rows is beneficiant, however legroom much less so, whereas cargo area is merely enough for a automobile of this dimension. Still, the inside format is as a lot part of the G-Class expertise because the styling, and the electrical mannequin doesn’t mess with it.


2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 interior.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

The G580 comes normal with a model of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system used within the automaker’s different automobiles. In this case, it’s teamed with twin 12.3-inch shows, one serving because the instrument cluster and one serving as the principle touchscreen. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a Burmester 3D encompass sound system with Dolby Atmos are normal, whereas a dashcam and rear-seat leisure system with twin 11.6-inch screens are non-obligatory.

The consumer expertise is much like different Mercedes fashions, with a number of tweaks particular to the G-Wagen’s off-road mission. The graphics for each the touchscreen and instrument cluster present a bit extra creativity than is the case with different luxurious manufacturers, they usually even mix fairly properly with the bodily components of the inside. For G-Class fashions, Mercedes additionally supplies an off-road display that exhibits issues like an inclinometer and the motion of the suspension. Like different MBUX-equipped fashions, wonderful voice management additionally lessens reliance on the touchscreen and the considerably complicated touchpad controller on the middle console.

Graphics present a bit extra creativity than is the case with different luxurious manufacturers.

Like many new automobiles, the G580 is supplied with a 360-degree digital camera system that stitches collectively feeds from a number of cameras to create a encompass view. But it additionally leverages the built-in cameras for a “transparent hood” view that exhibits what’s immediately in entrance of the automobile. That is useful when approaching steep inclines, or for recognizing rocks and different doubtlessly tire-damaging detritus that could be hiding beneath the extent of the windshield.

Expected driver-assist options like adaptive cruise management, automated emergency braking, lane maintain help, blind spot monitoring, and automatic lane centering are normal as nicely, together with park help, a driver consideration monitor, site visitors signal recognition, and Pre-Safe, which is designed to assist shield occupants within the occasion of an imminent collision. It even performs a particular sound to guard in opposition to listening to loss in a crash.

Driving expertise

2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 touchscreen with off-road menu.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

The G580 has a quad-motor powertrain with two motors per every axle growing a mixed 579 horsepower and 859 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes quotes zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, whereas the highest velocity is electronically restricted to 112 mph.

This is not the first quick G-Class, and it shares the identical drawback as its predecessors, particularly that it’s nonetheless a heavy automobile with a excessive middle of gravity that’s designed for attacking steep slopes and dirt bogs — not corners. Handling and journey high quality are each retrograde, though that’s a standard G-Class trait. The electrical G580 wasn’t any worse to drive than the gasoline G550 that was additionally readily available for this primary drive. And the EV’s regenerative braking — with depth selectable by steering wheel paddles — a minimum of allows you to put its girth to work at recovering power.

Any G-Class — gasoline or electrical — is constructed to go off-road.

The G-Class’ tall, upright physique has at all times made decreasing noise to Mercedes-like ranges a problem for engineers, and that’s doubly true for the G580 and its silent electrical powertrain. Mercedes factors to some delicate modifications to the traditional G-Class form — resembling reshaped entrance roof pillars with extra aerodynamic trim items — that assist to cut back noise throughout the board, however the G580 additionally depends on a synthetic soundtrack referred to as G-Roar to masks disagreeable seems like wind dashing across the mirrors or the reverberation of the tires. However, G-Roar isn’t notably nice both. It’s in an aural uncanny valley, sounding considerably like an engine, however not fairly the identical.

All of this may be excused, although, as a result of any G-Class — gasoline or electrical — is constructed to go off-road. Mercedes’ insistence on by no means altering the styling isn’t nearly aesthetics. Short overhangs and a monitor that’s slender sufficient for the G-Class to simply match on trails, however large sufficient for stability imply this SUV fears no impediment. The G580 provides the versatile torque supply of electrical motors, permitting it to creep alongside at low speeds or bolt up hills with out shedding traction. And as a result of there are not any mechanical differentials (as in a gasoline G-Class,) you will have fewer settings to maintain monitor of. Mercedes does embrace low-range gearing like extra conventional off-roaders, in addition to a collection of drive modes.

The G580 will be pushed identical to a traditional G-Class consequently, however Mercedes additionally threw in some EV-only gimmicks. G-Turn permits the G580 to spin round in a circle on unfastened surfaces, much like Rivian’s discarded Tank Turn characteristic. With the automobile in its Rock drive mode with low vary chosen and the brakes on, you depress the brake pedal, pull a steering wheel paddle (left or proper, to find out the path of the flip), maintain the steering wheel, and hit the accelerator. The G580 will then do two full turns robotically. Mercedes claims that is useful for turning round in tight areas, however the truth that we had been instructed to strive G-Turn in a large open patch of filth smacks of a severe automaker attempting to rationalize an inherently foolish characteristic.

Much extra helpful is G-Steering. This drags the within rear wheel when turning (once more, on unfastened surfaces), vastly decreasing the turning radius and letting you scoot the G-Wagen round sharp corners. It’s a bit like pulling the handbrake, besides it requires a lot much less coordination. Simply press a button on the dashboard and the automobile does the remainder. The steering itself even feels fairly pure; the automobile simply occurs to be delivering tighter circles.

Range and charging

2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 rear three quarter view.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

Mercedes estimates round 240 miles of vary, which isn’t that spectacular for such a big battery pack. The G-Class has by no means been a mannequin of effectivity, although, and regardless of this rig’s off-road functionality, most of its rich homeowners will seemingly by no means enterprise too removed from a charging station.  A front-axle disconnect may increase real-world effectivity, and the navigation system may incorporate charging stops right into a deliberate route.

When it’s time to recharge, 200-kilowatt DC quick charging ought to enable the G580 to finish a ten% to 80% cost in 32 minutes, in accordance with Mercedes, which is nicely throughout the accepted vary. For dwelling charging, an 11.5-kilowatt AC onboard charger takes 13.5 hours to finish a full cost. Mercedes is in the process of adopting the Tesla North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector, however the G580 will launch with the present Combined Charging Standard (CCS) connector.

How DT would configure this automobile

2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 front three quarter view.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

Aside from personalization choices like paint colours and inside trim, the G580 with EQ Technology is bought in mainly one spec. It’s thought-about only one variant throughout the broader G-Class vary, reasonably than a definite mannequin just like the Mercedes EQE or EQS SUVs, for instance.

That leaves the query of whether or not to purchase a G580 or one of many two gasoline G-Class configurations accessible for 2025. Aside from the logistics of vary and charging, we discovered the G580 to be just about interchangeable with the six-cylinder G550. They drove equally nicely on the street and had been equally succesful off it. Mercedes additionally presents a sportier AMG G63 gasoline mannequin with a strong V8 engine and extra refined suspension that did really feel like a step up in functionality — assuming you’re OK with burning plenty of hydrocarbons.

The G580 is a noteworthy achievement merely for making use of an electrical powertrain to probably the most tradition-bound nameplates within the auto business with out compromise. It additionally splits the distinction between the forward-looking Rivian R1S and the cartoonish GMC Hummer EV SUV, providing a few of the latter’s swagger with a wholesome dose of the previous’s practicality. Like the gasoline fashions that got here earlier than it, the G580 stands out from different off-roaders and luxurious SUVs by doing issues in its personal distinctive manner.

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