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In-depth reviews

Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technology review: old-fashioned 4x4 gets clean and capable electric power

The G 580 is the first fully-electric Mercedes G-Class, but it retains plenty of its crucial characteristics

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Phenomenal off-road
  • True to its roots
  • Plenty of power

Cons

  • Impaired real-world efficiency
  • A bit snug inside
  • Huge starting price
Range0-62mphWallbox charge time (0-100%, 7.4kW)Rapid charge time (10-80%, 200kW)
285 miles4.7s12 hours (approx.)32 mins

Mercedes G 580 verdict

It may look the same on the outside, but the Mercedes G 580 marks the start of an important new era for Mercedes’ longest-serving SUV. This G-Class is as rugged as ever on the outside while remaining very classy on the inside. The fully-electric powertrain is highly advanced yet just as capable at off-roading as the diesels, V8s and V12s that came before it.

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Of course, the G-Class’s traditionalist roots mean it’s outclassed in some areas compared to its completely-new rivals, but this is unlikely to deter its loyal customers. These customers will need particularly healthy bank accounts, though, as prices start from over £180,000.

Range details, specs and alternatives

Whether it’s the German military or the trendy residents of South Kensington, the Mercedes G-Class’s unusual combination of blocky, robust styling mixed with top-end tech and materials means it has appealed to a very wide range of people throughout the decades. 

This sense of duality continues when it comes to the G-Class’s capabilities, too, as it doubles up as a luxury SUV that’s also able to take on really tough terrain. In fact it’s one of the very few cars that’s able to give the Range Rover a proper run for its money.

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Because of all this, the Mercedes G 580 with EQ Technologies has a lot riding on it. This is the very first fully-electric Mercedes G-Class, and while zero emissions and lower running costs are always going to be appealing, Mercedes can’t let these come at the cost of capability or traditionalism.

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Take a look at the outside and it’s evident that the brand is trying to keep the electric G-Class in line with the combustion-powered members of the line-up. There’s very little to differentiate the G 580 from any other modern G-Class, apart from the lack of exhaust pipes. It’s a similar story on the inside, where you’ll find the same mish-mash of high-quality materials mixed with simple functionality, such as a manually-operated sunroof blind.

It’s underneath where the biggest differences are to be found on the G 580. Powering this bulky off-roader are four individual motors (one per wheel) which deliver a combined 579bhp and 1,164Nm of torque. These are certainly potent numbers, and they need to be because the big Merc weighs-in at 3.2-tonnes. 

Powering these motors is an equally sizable 116kWh battery pack, and this has a claimed maximum range of 285 miles of the WLTP combined cycle. This isn’t a phenomenal headline figure by today’s standards, but it’s still pretty respectable when you remember that the term “aerodynamic” doesn’t really appear in the G-Class handbook.

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There’s only one G 580 trim level to choose from for now, the Edition One, and with prices starting from over £180,000, bargain hunters may wish to look elsewhere.

Its unique characteristics mean there’s not many cars that can be considered as direct rivals to the Mercedes G 580, and that six-figure starting price certainly puts this electric SUV at the very top end of the market. One of the few models that is sure to become an arch-rival, though, is the Range Rover Electric.

Range, battery size & charging

Range0-62mphWallbox charge time (0-100%, 7.4kW)Rapid charge time (10-80%, 200kW)
285 miles4.7s12 hours (approx.)32 mins

The G 580 is a big, blocky and heavy 4x4, so it naturally needs an equally big battery to keep it on the move. The pack in question here is a substantial 112kWh unit that Mercedes claims will cover up to 285 miles between charges.

When driving the G 580 in a rather spirited fashion across a number of terrains, though, we saw efficiency drop as low as 1.4 miles per kWh. This translates to a maximum real-world range of around 160 miles. The sheer amount of weight and lack of aerodynamic styling quickly eats into the advantages of this big battery. In comparison, the exact same battery claims up to 511 miles in the much sleeker EQS saloon.

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When the time comes to recharge, it’ll take you around 12 hours to fill up from empty using a typical 7.4kW home wallbox charger. If you need a rapid top-up, the peak charging speed of 200kW allows the G 580 to go from 10 to 80% in around 32 minutes.

Rather than designing a brand-new storage area under the bonnet or floor, Mercedes has simply taken the existing spare-wheel storage box and repurposed it for storing the cables. This makes them quick and easy to access, but you can change this box for an optional spare wheel if you prefer.

Running costs & insurance

While high running costs are very unlikely to deter anyone with six-figures to spend on a car, it’s still reasonable to expect an electric car to be cheaper to run than its combustion-powered equivalents. 

This is certainly the case with the G 580 as it’ll only cost around £34 to fully charge at a typical household rate of 30p per kWh. As always, a public charger will almost certainly cost more than this, but it’ll still be far less costly than feeding a whopping great V8 engine.

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If you’re a particularly well-off company car user, the 2% Benefit-in-Kind tax rate will be a pleasant bonus, while all G 580 owners can avoid paying VED road tax until April 2025. 

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If the £180,000 starting price is a bit too steep for you, a lower-priced variant is set to arrive in the near future. We expect this to start from the “bargain” price of around £150,000. Regardless of which model you choose, the G 580 will make a huge dent in your finances but at least it’ll be highly exclusive.

Performance, motor & drive

0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
4.7s112mphFour579bhp

Just like other variants of the Mercedes G-Class, there’s very little that’ll stop the G 580 except its sizable brakes. On the tarmac, there’s no hiding that this is a very big and heavy vehicle, but it does feel very similar to the combustion models from behind the wheel.

It’s never going to be a particularly nimble car, but the G 580 does keep body roll under control in the corners, even if it’s quite unwieldy in the way it changes position. Things can get quite bumpy when the road is less than perfect, too. Hit motorway cruising speeds and there’s a fair amount of wind noise to contend with. 

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On the subject of noise, if you’re a bit unsettled by the idea of a near-silent powertrain, Mercedes’ G-Roar artificial noise system may help to put you at ease. Inspired by the sounds of the V8-powered G-Class, this system injects just enough sound into the cabin to improve the overall experience, but without being too artificial or downright annoying.

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Head away from the tarmac and it’s here where the G 580 not only lives up to its standards set by its ancestors, but even manages to exceed them. If you’re a complete off-roading newbie, the electronic assistance on offer here is capable of taking all of the human skill out of the equation. Engaging the Rock driving mode allows the G 580 to tackle some truly tough terrain, and all you’ll need to do is steer. 

While you’re doing this, the infotainment screen will deliver a huge amount of relevant and useful information, such as how much power is being delivered to each wheel and how close the Merc is to its maximum slope angle. 

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The thought of an electric car mixing with a massive pool of water might be an alarming one, and understandably so, but the G 580 actually has a deeper wading depth than the combustion-powered models at a total of 850mm. As we’ve already said, there’s very little that’ll stop this EV in its tracks.

There’s a unique party piece lurking within the G 580’s list of off-roading tech, too, and that is Mercedes’ G-Turn function. Admittedly, this system is more likely to be used for showing off but it allows the massive G-Class to do a full 360-degree turn on the spot. Don’t get too excited about messing with the car behind you, though, as you’re not allowed to use this function on a public road.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

If you’ve been in any modern combustion-powered G-Class, the G 580’s cabin will be a very familiar sight. Two 12.3-inch screens dominate the dashboard, and these are accompanied by a plethora of high-quality wood and aluminium finishes.

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The twin screens are powered by Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system, and it’s the same setup that you’ll find in many of the brand’s other models. The difference, though, is the amount of off-roading information that it’ll also display when you engage the appropriate drive modes to hit the rough stuff. 

Not to move too far away from its utilitarian roots, the electric G-Class still has some decidedly old-school functions including basic push-button door handles and a manually-operated sunroof cover. Apart from this small smattering of simplistic functions, the G 580’s interior is a luxurious place to be, albeit a bit snug. 

Boot space, seating & practicality

LengthWidthHeightBoot space
4,873mm2,187mm1,969mm620 litres

The Mercedes G-Class is easily one of the largest SUVs on British roads, but the electric G 580 does suffer slightly in terms of practicality when compared to the combustion models.

Boot space stands at a capacious 620 litres, but this is 20 litres less than the petrol and diesel cars due to its higher floor. The boot itself is accessed by a large side-hinged door, so this could prove problematic if you’ve reversed into a parking space. 

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Things aren’t particularly mind-blowing when it comes to passenger space, either, as the cabin feels comfortable but compact in the front and actually a bit tight in the rear. The G 580 will take on a family of four but they won’t be able to spread out too much, unlike in other luxury SUVs.

Reliability & safety rating

The current Mercedes G-Class was given a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was originally tested in 2019, something which its military heritage has undoubtedly played a role in.

Of course, it’s not just pure sturdiness that makes the G 580 a safe car, there’s also plenty of sophisticated safety tech. Systems such as Active Parking Assist, Attention Assist, Guard 360 Vehicle Protection, Traffic Sign Assist and a built-in dash cam are all fitted as standard.

When it comes to reliability, the G 580 is less mechanically complex than its combustion-powered siblings, and all G-Classes have a generally positive reputation for being dependable.

There’s room for improvement with Mercedes itself, though, as the premium German brand ranked in a very poor 25th place out of 32 brands in our most recent Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

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