► Mercedes promises the best of both worlds with EQG
► Classic G-wagen styling cues
► 'Like the G-Class but different'
Mercedes' off-roading gurus and its EV department have teamed up to create this – the Mercedes EQG concept. Following the standard nomenclature of the firm's all-electric EQ lineup, it should come as no surprise that the EQG is essentially an all-electric version of the iconic G-Class.
Merc has promised it'll be fully electric by 2030, with the EQG offering 'a promising preview of what a Mercedes-Benz G-Class with battery-electric drive will be capable of'. What might not be so promising is the range of today's converted ladder-frame chassis – our man Georg Kacher reckons it'll struggle to muster 155 miles, due to the capable brusier's immense weight.
Looks familiar, but weird...
Classic G-wagen styling cues are present and correct, starting with the boxy silhouette and round headlights. But the EQG's very obviously been breathed on by the same people who reckon all electric cars need to look future-ey, and as a result has some particularly glitzy touches.
Instead of a redundant radiator grille, you'll find a deep black panel with an 'animated pattern' of blue squircles (you can figure out the portmanteau). This whole panel's illuminated with an LED band, while there are also illuminated circles in the exterior mirror housings. To top it off, the grille badge will also be lit up. Mercedes would obviously like you to know what's coming towards you at night.
Where you'd typically find a spare wheel on the rear door, there's instead a lockable box styled to look like an EV wallbox charger with, you guessed it, more illuminated accents. Mercedes suggests this could be a place to store the car's charging cables within easy reach, which anybody who's had to fumble around in an EV with a full boot will know is a good idea.
There's also a flat roof rack finished in high-gloss black – look from above and you'll see a central 'G' motif, presumably to tittivate drone pilots or basketball players. This rack is fitted with yet more LEDs – a white strip at the front reminiscent of the searchlights often fitted to hardcore offroaders, and a red strip at the rear.
The EQG concept rides on 22-inch polished alloys and is finished in an eye-catching two-tone paint with gloss black above gloss aluminium beam.
Okay. But will it still perform off-road?
Signs are certainly promising, and this concept looks geared up for some serious mud-plugging. The EQG, like the G-Class, is based on a separate ladder frame, preventing chassis flex and absorbing shocks from rocks and ruts.
There's independent suspension on the front and a live axle at the rear, and Mercedes promises the production model will face the same testing procedures as its combustion-powered predecessors – tackling the fearsome test track at the 1445-metre high Schöckl mountain in Graz, a 5.6km route with gradients of up to 60 degrees.
The deployment of the electric powertrain will be key to its off-road success. The EQG uses no fewer than four motors, one per wheel, individually controllable for maximum finesse on tough off-road courses. For real tough scenarios, there's still an off-road reduction gearbox to give the maximum in low-range pulling power.
Having batteries integrated into the ladder frame and low-mounted electric motors is actually an advantage in this scenario, lowering the EQG's centre of gravity and increasing stability.
When can I buy one?
Hold your horses. The EQG being at concept stage – even if it is described as 'near production' – means you'll have to wait for a production model.
It's definitely on the way, though. Chief operating officer Markus Schäfer confirms: 'We want to inspire our customers to switch to electric mobility with convincing products. An icon like the G-Class fulfils this task perfectly.'