Mercedes Developing Baby G-Class as ICE, EV Model for 2026: Report

With the G-Wagen making bank for Mercedes, it’s only natural that the company would explore expanding the lineup.

byLewin Day|
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The Mercedes G-Wagen has been a staple of the manufacturer's lineup for decades. The off-roader has served in militaries around the world, while its rugged good looks turned it into a status symbol. New reports suggest that Mercedes could soon be pursuing a smaller vehicle in that same vein.

As reported by the German business paper Handelsblatt, the Stuttgart-based automaker has been developing a variety of new vehicles. The most compelling of these is reportedly a compact vehicle that apes the design of the G-Class off-roader. The paper cites "corporate circles" as the source of the rumor, which suggests a smaller "Mini G" would hit the market around 2026. The Drive reached out to Mercedes regarding the story, with the automaker declining to comment.

The rumored vehicle would stand as its own model, rather than being a sub-model of the existing G-Wagen. It's expected to be slightly shorter in length, while standing much lower than the full-fat G-Wagen's towering height of 6.5 feet. The smaller G-Wagen is expected to be built on the Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA). This platform is set to underpin the new CLA model coming at the end of 2024, with the GLA, GLB, and CLA Shooting Brake to follow. With that would come the new interior design from Mercedes, starring a full-width screen in the cockpit.

As for drivetrains, reports suggest both electric and gasoline options would be available. That makes a lot of sense for a new-generation vehicle dropping in 2026. Electric models would be expected to offer over 500 km (310 miles) of range. The MMA platform's 800-volt architecture would also offer fast charging capability. An electric model would also dovetail with the bigger G-Wagen's future transition towards electric drive.

CEO Ola Källenius is said to be the biggest advocate for the project within Mercedes-Benz. If true, this would bode well for the vehicle's chances of reaching production. Sources speaking to Handelsblatt cited that the Källenius sees a more compact G-Wagen as a necessity. It comes as the CEO tries to lead Mercedes to ever-greater sales success. The G-Wagen is a high-profit model for the company. It's in such high demand that it's currently sold out in Germany. Thus, it makes sense to try and expand the range to attract more customers in the segment.

One detail that remains up in the air is a name. Mercedes can't readily follow the example of the GLA by going for GLG, according to reports. That's down to trademark concerns in the US, which would be a major market for the vehicle. We can likely rule out "Baby G" and "Mini G" too, as automakers shy away from the non-masculine and the former already belongs to Casio. For our money, "G Kompakt" has a nice ring, but we'll have to wait and see.

The G-Wagen is already a highly capable off-roader. There's a certain appeal to the idea of a smaller, more nimble version. If it all turns out to be just a rumor, though, you can always settle for putting a bodykit on a Suzuki Jimny instead.

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