Autocar journalists joined Mercedes engineers in reliability tests with the new Mercedes EQG two years before the start of series production.
Unveiled as a concept car at the Munich Mobility Auto Show in autumn 2021, the electric equivalent of the G-Class, the Mercedes EQG, will enter series production in 2024. The electric version will mark a new era for the off-roader produced in Austria since 1979.
The EQG will be Mercedes’ tenth electric model after the EQC, EQA, EQB, EQV, EQT, EQS, EQE, EQS SUV and EQE SUV. The new Mercedes strategy is to boost more the luxury range and the Mercedes G-Class has become a sub-brand just like the Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach.
Emmerich Schiller, CEO of the new sub-brand Mercedes G-Class told British magazine Autocar: “From the start it was decided that the electric equivalent of the G-Class should be at least as good as the combustion engine version both on and off-road. We don’t want to make any compromises on off-road capability”.
Built on a modified conventional G-Class platform
The Mercedes EQG will not be built on the EVA II platform of the EQS and EQE because Mercedes wanted to keep the separate chassis body. Therefore, the Mercedes EQG will be based on a modified platform of the conventional model that retains the separate chassis solution and will be produced on the same production line at Magna Steyr, Graz, Austria.
The Mercedes EQG will have the same square bodywork as the conventional model but will be distinguished by a new front bumper and a closed radiator grille. As with the conventional model, the body is connected to the chassis at eight points. As with other EQ models, there will be no boot under the front bonnet and the cables will be mounted in a lockable box mounted on the side-opening tailgate that has taken the place of the spare wheel.
The centrepiece of the Mercedes EQG is the new powertrain system consisting of four electric motors, one for each wheel. It’s a system that Mercedes tested in 2013 on the limited-run SLS E-cell. This four-motor system is similar to the one used by Rivian for its SUV and pick-up models and will contribute decisively to unrivalled off-road performance. Schiller says the four-motor electric solution is extremely complex and expensive but was the only one that could replace the functions offered by the three lockable differentials. “With three motors – one at the front and two at the rear, you can’t get maximum off-road performance”, Schiller told Autocar magazine.
Each electric motor is connected to a two-speed gearbox offering both low range and high range gearing. In addition to the traditional Eco, Comfort and Sport driving modes, the EQG will also have three off-road modes – Track, Rock and Sand.
The future EQG will be the first electric model from Mercedes to feature the new Li-Ion battery with silicon anode. It will have a net capacity of around 100 kWh and will have a higher energy density than current models, being lighter and more compact. Mercedes has taken measures to protect the battery in extreme off-road conditions. The battery is encapsulated in a carbon-fibre reinforced steel casing to protect it from being knocked off-road.
But the kerbweight of the EQG will be quite large and the engineers at Mercedes estimate a value of under 3500 kg, which is still very high. Because the EQG has an engine at each wheel there are no connecting cables and therefore the drivetrain is refined like a luxury car and not noisy like a classic off-roader.
Mercedes doesn’t reveal anything about the power of the four electric motors but mentions that there will be several power versions including a AMG top version that will offer similar performance to the current conventional AMG model equipped with the 4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine and 585 hp. Also, Mercedes doesn’t give any details about the price but we believe it will be higher than the top AMG version. We expect a price similar to the G 500 4×42, that is around 250,000 euros.