Smaller Mercedes G-Class to be EV only, due by 2026

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force Concept used for representation only.

Mercedes-Benz is expanding its popular G-Class line-up, and while the standard G-Class SUV will soon get an all-electric EQG, there will be another “smaller G-Class” SUV that will hit the roads by 2026. This new SUV, just like the EQG, will be EV-only, and will be developed by Mercedes’ new specialist G division as the third model in an expanded G range.

  1. Smaller G-Class to be EV only
  2. New platform for smaller G SUV
  3. G to be new sub-brand

No ICE or hybrid powertrains for smaller G-Class

Speaking to our sister publication Autocar UK, Mercedes' technical chief Markus Schafer confirmed the powertrain plans for the SUV at the recent CES in Las Vegas, dismissing suggestions that the model could also be offered with hybridised internal combustion engines. The model was first confirmed by company CEO Ola Kallenius at the Munich motor show, where he referred to it as the “little G... a son or daughter of the iconic big G”.

Mercedes-Benz design chief Gorden Wagener told Autocar UK that the new machine will take strong design cues from the "iconic DNA" of the existing G-Class, saying: "It will have its own character, but it will be a G."

Smaller G-Class will not sit on MMA platform

The carmaker has launched a new Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) that will be used for a range of entry-level cars in the coming years, starting with the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. However, Schafer confirmed that the 'little G' will sit on a different platform, using modules from Mercedes' larger rear-driven cars, due to its need to offer true off-roading ability.

This means the platform will be different – but likely to take learnings from – from that of the full-sized EQG, which will use a reworked version of the existing ICE G-Class’s ladder-frame chassis and will be powered by four electric motors.

Smaller G-Class will help establish G as a sub-brand

As well as giving Mercedes a foothold in the increasingly popular rugged crossover market, the baby G-Class will be crucial in establishing G as a Mercedes sub-brand in the same vein as Maybach and AMG, building on the success of its blocky Land Rover Defender rival. Indeed, G is now its own specialist division within Mercedes, just like Maybach and AMG.

Kallenius said last year: “Most luxury companies build their portfolio on the basis of one or two true icons. Mercedes-Benz has the good fortune to have multiple iconic products and brands at the upper end of its portfolio, such as the S-Class, the SL, the G-Class as well as the AMG and Maybach brands."

In India, Mercedes currently sells the standard G-Class SUV. Read our review of the latest G 400 Adventure Edition here

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