Mercedes-Benz reveals plans for smaller SUV styled after the G-Class, to be offered in battery-electric and internal-combustion forms.
The SUV is expected to arrive on sale in the second half of the decade, but should be revealed in production form in the next two years. (Pictured above is the Ener-G-Force concept of 2012.)
Mercedes-Benz has toyed with the idea of a smaller G-Class for some time, which has already resulted in production of the GLB and EQB, with the future model expected to be aimed more at off-road ability.
Mercedes-Benz may have added the GLB-Class to its lineup a few years ago, once billed as the "baby G-Class," landing close to a niche that had been occupied by the GLC. But it's not the only small sport/utility the automaker has had on the drawing board.
Yet another "baby G-Class" is in the works, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius revealed at the IAA Mobility in Munich, and it is expected to be offered both as an EV and as an internal-combustion model, in addition to a full-size electric G-Class dubbed EQG.
Just what role will this new model, unnamed for now, play once it arrives in 2026?
Mercedes has hinted the small G-Class will deliver off-road ability, suggesting a dual-motor model in electric form, along with an exterior reminiscent of the classic W463 G-Class that has set the design trend for the model decades ago. This means we can expect a return to the traditional boxy shape along with a footprint that will perhaps be analogous to the GLB and EQB models.
These requirements sound a lot like the Ener-G-Force concept of 2012, pictured at the top, which imagined a Mercedes-Benz highway patrol vehicle from the year 2025. Incidentally, 2025 is the year we should see the baby G-Class revealed in production form. To be clear, the Ener-G-Force was a separate effort not related to the current project, but it did a good job of imagining a smaller, nimbler G-Class of the future.
Why is Mercedes interested in yet another G-Class off-shoot?
The 2018 redesign of the G-Class pulled the model further upmarket, largely separating it from its rugged military roots, with the gas-engined version becoming plusher inside as well as more exclusive. The model thus became more of a luxury cruiser largely out of reach of the casual SUV buyer, even while retaining excellent off-road capability.
By comparison, the classic W463 had been available in Europe and other markets for years in more spartan specifications with smaller engines.
The GLB-Class, meanwhile, seeks to offer GLC-Class and C-Class wagon shoppers yet another alternative, having arrived a few years ago with fewer comforts than the GLC-Class, and with a slightly more modest starting price.
The upcoming baby G-Class, therefore, is expected to offer a more affordable alternative to the full-size model, for those who might want the rugged versatility without the generous footprint or some of the interior luxuries.
It's an interesting exercise in launching a small off-shoot—one that reminds us a bit of the Land Rover Freelander's debut over 25 years ago. (Except this one, we hope, will be far more reliable in practice than the Freelander).
We should see this new baby G-Class in concept form in 2024, ahead of a launch the following year or two. Start saving now.
Will there be much demand for a smaller G-Class, given the fact that Mercedes already offers the EQC, GLC, EQB, and GLB-Class models? Let us know what you think.