When it comes to expanding its all-electric line-up, Mercedes-Benz is leaving no stone unturned — and that includes a new concept showing what might be coming with its most adept rock-crawler, the G-Class.
Set to debut at the Munich Motor Show this week, the Concept EQG is a “near-production study” that reimagines the Gelandewagen for a new era of electrification.
“In its more than 40-year model history, the G-Class has always used the most modern and suitable drive technology at the time — from the pre-chamber naturally aspirated diesel of the early days to the AMG 4.0-liter V-8 in the current top model, the G 63,” said Emmerich Schiller, head of the Off-Road Vehicle Product Division at Mercedes-Benz AG. “Against the background of our ‘Electric only’ strategy, the electrification of this off-road legend is simply the logical next step.”
The current version of the G-Class made its debut in January 2018 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Considering the normal lifecycle of Mercedes products, it’s not set to go away any time soon. But the German automaker is in the midst of rolling out what might be thought of as a “shadow” line-up, with all-electric alternatives to a variety of conventionally powered product lines, including the S- and E-Class sedans, and various SUV models.
“An uncompromising off-roader”
The G, Mercedes is making clear, will be one of the next to reach the market.
As with other battery-powered models, the concept SUV has clearly spent time in the wind tunnel, aerodynamics critical to maximizing range and performance. But it’s gotten a far less radical makeover than we’ve seen in the transition from S-Class to EQS. Its overall shape remains what Mercedes describes as “an uncompromising off-roader.”
Basic styling cues, including a relatively upright windshield, carry over to the Concept, though the show car’s grille has been sealed as there is far less need for cooling air to flow under the hood. And, unlike other new Mercedes battery-electric vehicles, the Concept EQG retains the classic ladder frame that makes it virtually unstoppable off-road.
Like the G-Class, the show SUV gets an independent suspension on the front axle, but retains a rigid torsion beam axle in back. The most significant change is that both axles have been modified to allow the use of electric motors.
Four motors offer “unique” driving characteristics
And there are four of them here, twice as many as on the EQS 4Matic and AMG EQS. By positioning individual motors near each individual wheel, the automaker explains, it can offer “unique driving characteristics both on- and off-road.”
It doesn’t offer specifics but, as we’ve seen with the new GMC Hummer and other electric off-roaders, that could include the ability to make much sharper turns when negotiating tight trails, while also using torque vectoring on sharp curves on pavement.
Meanwhile, the Concept G features the electric equivalent of a low-speed transfer case with a two-speed transmission. One of the benefits of electric motors is the high level of instant torque they develop, something that has clicked with buyers of the much more mainstream Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid.
For the moment, Mercedes isn’t offering any more details but the language of its news release suggests that we will see a production EQG within the next couple years — and perhaps even sooner.