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Mercedes-AMG boss: new electric G-Class is "a little bit lifestyle"

"Our customers don't need an AMG, they *want* an AMG"

Published: 06 May 2024

The Mercedes-Benz G580 made its debut last week, an all-electric variant of the Geländewagen that promises to be just as capable, if not more so, than its combustion counterpart.

To recap: the Not-An-EQG-Anymore has 580 horsepower on tap. It has four electric motors and four gearboxes (one for each wheel). It can do a “G-turn” (read: spin in place), wade through nearly three feet of water, has torque vectoring and virtual diffs, and all the electric terrain functions you could expect.

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Mercedes insists it's a better off-roader because it's electric... and also understands hardly any of its customers will ever take it off-road. Because the G580 is a lifestyle machine.

The big lug's debut was less of a reveal and more of a Hollywood premiere. Atop a platform floating in a lake located in Los Angeles’ Franklin Canyon Park, the G580 came out in a smoke-filled, drone-powered laser light show, followed by a performance by Travis Scott. Heck, Bradley Cooper was there.

And if it felt like a massive party more than a vehicle showcase, that was absolutely the goal. So why make it so capable in the first place?

“It's like with an AMG,” Michael Schiebe, Mercedes-AMG boss told TopGear.com. “I always say our customers don't need an AMG, they want an AMG, and this is, I think, the same for the G-Wagen. It's a little bit of lifestyle.”

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Interesting to hear Mercedes talk about all the utility it builds into its cars... fully expecting that most buyers won’t use it. "I’ll give you a comparison,” said Shiebe. “Swiss analog watches. Yeah, there are smart watches in the market which have more functionality and are much more precise, but people still love analog watches.”

The people who want the G580’s capability but don’t need it are covered, so what about the inverse? Are the markets that need that level of prowess interested in an electric G?

Schiebe said there's a broad spectrum of G-Class users, from woodworkers using the base model to the artists at the event who adopt it as part of their lifestyle.

We’re just as eager to take it for a literal and metaphorical spin. And if it turns out the electric G is just as capable of conquering actual hills as much as Beverly Hills, all the better.

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