A smaller version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class will be electric-only when it launches later in the decade.
The model will be developed by Mercedes’ new specialist G division as the third model in an expanded G range, after the upcoming Mercedes EQG.
Mercedes technical chief Markus Schäfer confirmed the powertrain plans to Autocar 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 Källenius 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 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."
The G-Class line-up will expand first later this year with the new electric Mercedes EQG, and Autocar understands the new 'little G' will follow in 2026.
Mercedes 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, but Schäfer 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.
That means the platform will be different – but likely to take learnings 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.
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
Källenius 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.
“We see great potential here to expand our top-end portfolio with even more fascinating products.”
His comments hint at the possibility for each of those four brands to spawn more comprehensive line-ups.
Like the upcoming CLA, the new compact SUV is likely to have an 800V electrical architecture, allowing for 248 miles of range to be added in just 15 minutes via a 250kW charger.