2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 EQ First Drive Review: The E-Wagen Is a Better G-Wagen

The G-Wagen’s move to electric power is less revolutionary than you might think—but it brings some big benefits.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Will Sabel Courtney
Will Sabel Courtney.
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Before you ask: yes, the doors of the electric G-Class still make The Sound. 

Anybody who’s ever owned, driven, or ridden in a G knows The Sound—the inimitable thunk of the doors closing like miniature bank vaults. It’s the chorus of the G-Wagen’s three-part portal symphony, landing between the hammer-cock click of the door unlatching and the bolt-action slam of the locks engaging. The sense of quality instilled by The Sound alone has likely been responsible for millions of dollars worth of sales throughout the Geländewagen’s 45-year history.

But there’s never been a G quite like the new G580—or, to use its formal name, the 2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 With EQ Technology. Because for the first time, the G-Wagen is available without a fossil fuel-burning powerplant under its squared-off hood. 

The Basics

“The idea was, the G stays the G,” says Bernd Bodner, head of engineering for this car’s electrical system. One glance at the G580 With EQ Technology—that’s the last time I’m writing that out—makes it clear the design team understood. The hood has been slightly raised and the wheel arches outfitted with pass-throughs for improved aerodynamics, but the only change anyone will notice is the front fascia, which trades the combustion version’s grille for a flat piece of bodywork with four thin louvers. It’s body-colored as standard, but an EQ-exclusive box on the options list lets buyers paint it and the headlight surrounds black for a slightly raccoon-ish look.

Much like Kīlauea, the drama lies well below the surface. “The G is very special, because of its ladder frame,” G-Class chief engineer Fabian Schossau says, as we stand before a life-size replica of exactly that. It’s the vehicle's literal backbone, a steel foundation that provides immense strength for off-roading and sets it apart from other Mercedes SUVs. Ditching it simply wasn’t an option.

The G580 uses the same ladder frame chassis as the gas and diesel versions, just with a 116-kWh (usable) lithium-ion power pack mounted between the axles. It’s the same capacity as the battery in the latest EQS sedan, but the cells have been reconfigured to slide between the rails of the SUV’s frame. Unsurprisingly, those batteries mean the G With EQ (GWEQ?) is the beefiest member of the current G-Class family; at 6,787 pounds, it slides just shy of requiring a commercial driver's license to drive it in the E.U.

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Compensating for that: it’s also the most powerful G. For maximum versatility and off-road prowess, Mercedes outfitted this first electric G-Wagen with four electric motors—one for each wheel—which combine to put out 579 horsepower and a shocked-Pikachu-meme-worthy 859 lb-ft of torque. And since that power comes from electric motors, all that torque is available immediately. 

Should that somehow not prove enough twist, Mercedes has you covered because the EQ Technology G-Wagen is the only production EV to offer low-range four-wheel-drive. Each motor boasts its own reduction gear with a 2:1 ratio—rather tall for a low range, but most SUVs don’t pack 859 lb-ft in 4-Hi.

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While the electric G shares its 12-module battery pack with the EQS, it can’t come close to matching that slippery sedan’s range. According to the WLTP testing standard, the G580 can go 267 to 294 miles on a charge. Expect EPA estimates to be lower. The variation comes down to wheels and tires; 18-inch wheels wearing street tires do the best, off-road rubber does the worst. Don’t sweat your choice too much, though: “You will not notice” the difference between rolling stock, Bodner says. “It’s more dependent on your driving style.”

When it’s time to top up, the electric G can pull power at up to 200 kW from a fast charger, which the carmaker says can boost the battery from 10 to 80% in 32 minutes. A Level 2 charger can provide the EV G with electrons at up to 11 kW, bringing the battery from 10% to full in a little over 13 hours.

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As for that name: while the new G demonstrates Mercedes is moving away from the “EQ[blank]” convention employed on previous EVs—EQE, EQS, EQB, etc.—the suffix of “with EQ Technology” is a clunky solution. Even Mercedes-Benz’s own employees don’t seem particularly attached. “Electric G, electric G-Class, G580, call it whatever you like,” a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson says.

Driving Experience

The first five minutes of my drive involve winding down a curvy one-lane road with poor sight lines, which proves a chance to appreciate just how quiet it is inside. Quiet, not silent: there’s an auditory concoction that plays through the speakers to make you feel less alienated from the car’s progress.  Mercedes calls it “G-Roar,” but that plays fast and loose with the word “roar"—it’s more of a whisper, gently simulating the sound of a V8. It feels more natural than, say, the Hans Zimmer hum found in BMW EVs that leaves you feeling like a car chase is about to break out.

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A turn onto the main road offers the chance to summon all the horses, so I peg the accelerator, and the G580 rears back and takes off like a startled Chris-Craft. It’s rapid, but not overwhelming; a G63 feels quicker, at least once its turbos are hot. It’s certainly quick—I expect Mercedes-Benz’s claimed 0-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds will prove conservative—but it doesn’t rearrange your sense of spacetime the way many uber-powerful electric cars do. 

It’s the first set of turns where the G580 surprises. While replacing a heavy engine up front with a central battery pack suggests the EV G should handle better than its siblings, it leans into corners in a way that brings to mind a vintage G-Wagen; the body roll feels almost nautical, half a step behind the beat. The steering doesn’t help; it’s heavy, deliberate, and lacking in feel, making the car hard to place at speed on narrow roads. If you want a G-Class that’s fun on the street, grab the AMG G63, which now packs an available active hydraulic anti-roll system that gives it surprisingly nimble handling.

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Or, perhaps, the better course is to take it easy. After all, that means more time to revel in the supremely comfortable seats and listen to the Burmester stereo in all its surround-sound Dolby Atmos glory. The G580 feels happier when it’s relaxed; the electric powertrain provides smooth motivation, and the weight blunts the impact of any force that happens to make it through that soft suspension. Go slow and the G580 almost drives more like a Rolls-Royce than anything else.

But off-road is where the electric G-Class truly shines—and not only that but where it makes a case for itself as the best new G-Wagen. The biggest difference isn’t that the electric G is particularly more capable past the pavement than its siblings; it’s that it makes everything so damn easy. 

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Mercedes had zero intention of compromising the G-Class’s off-road capability in the name of electrification. Just like the ICE versions, it needed to be able to pull itself up a 60-degree angle with one wheel’s worth of torque, hence the inclusion of low range. To protect that vulnerable battery pack, Mercedes armored the underbelly with a carbon-fiber plate so strong, Schossau says you could stack 20,000 pounds on a soda-can-sized spot. And thanks to the lack of an engine air intake, the G580 can plow through 33.5 inches of water, six inches more than the G550 and G63.

To show off the capabilities of the new G's, Mercedes unleashes me on off-road trails carved into the mountains outside a winery in southern France. (Admittedly, it’s hard to find a place in southern France that isn’t next to a winery.) The first lap is in an inline-six-powered G500, the second in the G 580—and it’s clear within a hundred yards that the electric G-Wagen is superior. The combination of immediate electric torque, an independent motor for each wheel, and quick-witted computers to control the whole setup eliminates the need for locking differentials, enabling each contact patch to mete out exactly the force needed to keep the G moving. If you’re used to off-roading, the ease with which the G580 gets things done feels spooky. 

Adding to the surreal nature of the experience: the off-road crawl function, which automatically kicks on in low range. Using the shift paddles, I toggle back and forth between the three speeds—slow crawl keeps the G moving at 1 mph, variable holds it at a walking pace, and fast crawl keeps the vehicle at a slow jog uphill or on level ground—and let the G580 pick its own way along rocky slopes a human would need to crawl over. Going up the same hill in the gas-powered G, I’d been constantly at work: feathering the throttle, brushing the brakes, toggling the front locker on and off. In the EV … I just steer, and the G does the rest.

As has become de rigeur for new EVs, the G580 packs a couple of party tricks, both only available in low range. The star of the show is G-Turn: by spinning the wheels on one side forward and the other side backwards, the G580 pirouettes in place, its tires carving a circle that presumably should be called the G-Spot. I ask Schossau if that two-rotation limit is limited by hardware or software; he specifies the latter. “The motor would last longer than the driver,” he says wryly.

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More useful, however, is the G-Steering system. It’s basically a more advanced version of the Ford Bronco’s Trail Turn Assist: tap the G-Steering button on the dash and any time you make a tight turn below 16 mph, the inside rear wheel locks up while the outside rear wheel speeds up. It’s impressively effective; I whistled the first time I saw the G580 circle a tree tightly enough to make a Smart car jealous. 

Sadly, only the slimmest sliver of G580 owners will ever take advantage of these capabilities. While it may have launched as a military-spec machine, the last few decades have seen the G become the unlikely darling of the metropolitan upper crust. Most G-Classes these days spend their time shuttling between high-end shops, corner offices, and elegant estates, their wheels never leaving the pavement. The story of the G-Wagen is, ultimately, one of hidden potential; the EQ version simply adds a few new pages to it. 

Mercedes-Benz G580 With EQ Technology Features, Options, and Competition

As you’d expect of a top-shelf Mercedes-Benz, the G580 comes with an arsenal of sybaritic features. The aforementioned Burmester stereo, ambient lighting, keyless entry, all those off-road features, and Mercedes-Benz’s usual panoply of active and passive safety features (blind spot warning, active parking assist, a 360-degree array of cameras that enables a “transparent hood” for seeing what’s ahead off-road) all come standard, along with far more. 

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Should you want to build upon that, of course, you can. Diamond-quilted Nappa leather upholstery with contrast stitching, massaging front seats—they’re all on the table. In addition to the usual options, Mercedes says the G-Class can be customized in more ways than any other car in its lineup via the brand’s Manufaktur program, which allows further personalization of everything from the exterior to the seat trim and stitching. Manufaktur claims to offer more than 20,000 different paints for the G, which makes me feel awful for the intern who has to sort the color swatches alphabetically.

As for competitors, there are few. The Rivian R1S—the sole other SUV to offer quad-motor drive—also astounds off-road, but the young brand is a far cry from having the cache of the Three-Pointed Star, and its smooth, rounded design is the opposite of the cinder-block G. GMC’s Hummer EV SUV competes with the electric G off-road and in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heart; still, the Hummer name is laden with enough baggage that few among the G-Class set would likely consider it. And while it may have a very different mission brief, the Lamborghini Urus is one of the few SUVs with similar curbside appeal to the G—and now that it’s available in plug-in hybrid Urus SE form, it can also perform enough zero-emission driving to let the Beverly Hills crowd add some moral superiority to their conspicuous consumption.

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The Early Verdict

The G-Wagen’s story is one of evolution over revolution, and the first electric G sticks to that tradition. There’s little about it that should shock or confound the buyers who’ve taken it from being a minimalist off-roader to a status icon (and turned it into a gold mine for Mercedes-Benz in the process). It’s sure to delight elites from Montauk to Santa Monica with its confident style and impressive luxury—only now, they’ll be able to brag about their eco-friendly bona fides too. Hopefully, a few of them will even dare to venture out past the pavement to see what the G580 can really do. Because as it turns out, what it can really do is quite a lot.

2025 Mercedes-Benz G580 With EQ Technology Specs
Base PriceTBD (~$185,000 est.)
Powertrainquad-motor four-wheel drive with low range gearing | 116-kWh battery
Horsepower579
Torque859 lb-ft
Seating Capacity5
Curb Weight6,787 pounds
Cargo Volume19.6 cubic feet
Ground Clearance9.8 inches
0-60 mph4.6 seconds
Top Speed112 mph
Off-Road Angles32° approach | 20.3° breakover | 30.7° departure
Quick TakeSmoother and gentler than ever around town and more capable than ever off-road, the G-Wagen is almost entirely improved going electric.
Score9/10
Will Sabel Courtney
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Mercedes-Benz G-ClassMercedes-Benz Reviews