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The G-Wagon: The Legend Gone Electric

The iconic G-Wagon, known for its boxy design and unwavering presence, has defied trends for over 45 years. Now, has this legendary SUV been summoned to a new era: the era of electric vehicles?

The news of an electric G-Wagon, previously expected as the "EQG," is no longer a whisper. It's a reality. The official name is the "Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology." While the name might raise an eyebrow (is it a model name or a tagline?), the "580" at least holds some meaning. It represents horsepower, still not engine displacement like the good old days because there is no engine now! One might wonder, who is this electric G-Wagon for? Can such a massive SUV truly be environmentally friendly?

For those who might miss the rumble of a powerful engine, fear not, that's what the Mercedes claims. The G 580 features a unique "G Roar" sound system exclusive to the G-Class.

Despite the addition of batteries, the G 580 only weighs 530kg more than the G 450d. However, with a total weight of 3,085kg, it's still a heavyweight. Nevertheless, the G 580 boasts the title of the most powerful G-Wagon ever, churning out a whopping 579 horsepower and a staggering 1164 Nm of torque. This surpasses even the AMG G 63's 577 horsepower and 760 Nm of torque.

The true magic lies in the quad-motor quad-gearbox setup, with each wheel powered by its own motor and gearbox. This allows for an impressive feat: the "G Turn." This manoeuvre allows the G-Wagon to perform doughnuts while remaining stationary, a testament to the precise control offered by the electric drivetrain.

The electric G-Wagon also claims superiority off-road. With a lower centre of gravity, immense torque, and improved wading capabilities, it seems the legend is only getting stronger. The battery pack has a capacity of 116 kWh, translating to a WLTP-rated range of 473 km. While differential locking duties are taken up by the electronic torque vectoring system just like my job will be taken by the chatGPT. 

Visually, the G580 retains its iconic silhouette. The most noticeable changes are the blacked-out front grille with just four vents and the illuminated DRLs surrounding the grille and headlights. The rear stays true to its boxy roots, with a square charging unit replacing the traditional circular spare tyre compartment.

The G-Wagon has entered a new era, will it be proving that a legend can adapt and evolve while staying true to its core identity? 

TopGear Magazine May 2024