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This is the new 580bhp electric Mercedes G-Class… and it isn’t called EQG any more

That’s ‘G580’, to you. Complete with four motors and four gearboxes. Tank turns, anyone?

Published: 24 Apr 2024

Make sure you’re sitting down. Don’t read the next sentence with a mouthful of drink, or you’ll end up wearing it. Ready?

This is a brand-new Mercedes where the numbers in the badge actually mean something. We’re not kidding. This ain’t a drill.

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The 3,090kg all-electric SUV formerly known as the ‘EQG’ is now the ‘G580 with EQ technology’. No-one’s actually going to call it that, but the important bit is this: G580 = 580 horsepower.

Is it just us that’s weirdly fascinated by the prospect of Mercedes blending its big, blocky, bluff, bling anachronism of a glitter-rolled ex-military SUV with the very latest in electric propulsion? It’s a bit like bolting a hydrogen fuel cell to the Mary Rose, or sending one of those terrifying Boston Dynamics robo-dogs to Crufts. It’s going to annoy purists on both sides of the argument.

Besides the unique badge, you’ll spot a plug-in G thanks to its black eye-mask, which makes it look like one of The Incredibles. The idea is to keep the car looking as authentically old-school as possible.

But Mercedes insists the G580 is in fact a better off-roader because it’s electric. More torque. Better stability. Deeper wading – up to 850mm. Handy in Dubai, that.

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Each wheel enjoys its own motor, and each motor powers a private two-speed gearbox to enable high and low-range. Yep, it’s got four gearboxes. And because the torque vectoring computers now take care of the differential locking, the redundant dashboard buttons now control the ‘G Turn’ function, which allows the driver to spin the left and right wheels in opposite directions, allowing tyre-wrecking tank turns. Parking in Mayfair just got easier.

Despite a kerbweight the wrong side of three tonnes, it’ll do 0-60 in 4.7 seconds on pretty much any surface. Range isn’t much to write home about at around 285 expected miles, even with the token air-smoothing to trim the G’s aircraft hanger aero. Check out that hole in the rear wheelarch and the extra ‘ramp’ of the bonnet, designed to cut drag. Mmm, slippery. Like an eel, wearing a parachute.

Inside there’s blue stitching to remind passengers they’re in the eco-G, while under the bonnet there’s a speaker shouting something called ‘G-ROAR’. Grrrr.

Apparently Mercedes figured that G Class buyers wanted something a little more assertive-sounding than the usual EV Tesla monk-hum. So this EV growls.

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TG first met the G580 back in January when certain important details were still to be finalised. Things like the price. Well north of £160,000, we’d expect. Stay tuned to TopGear.com as we get behind the wheel pretty soon.

In the meantime, how are we feeling about the electric G? It’s a bizarre combo: low-silicon battery tech from the groundbreaking EQXX concept arrives first… in a literally ground-breaking deluxe 4x4. Is it a car the world needs? Probably not. But that’s never stopped the G – in any of its army or AMG forms – being one of the enduring off-road icons.

11 minutes 13 seconds

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