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The 2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology delivers when taken off-road, but leaves some to be desired when on more traditional road surfaces. (Mercedes-Benz)

Tested: 2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 spins up a winner

Four electric motors give the electric G-Wagen some clever thrills, but they don’t translate as well to pavement.

I’m used to spinning wheels while testing cars, but the 2025 Mercedes-Benz G 580 is making a spectacle.

Holding a luxurious steering wheel dead straight, I’m spinning in perfect circles in a vineyard in Languedoc, France. How is that possible? Four electric motors drive the left- and right-side wheels in opposite directions to create Mercedes’ new “G-Turn” feature on its first electric G-Class, churning vineyard mud like a 6,801-pound (3,084-kg) elephant crushing grapes.

Officially called the G 580 with EQ Technology, the famously boxy G-Class EV can wade through 34 inches (864 mm) of water with its 116-kWh battery shielded by an armored underbody sandwich of carbon fiber and composite. I point the G 580 up intimidating climbs and bouldered descents with an almost surreal lack of wheelslip, even on rain-slickened rocks. Four electric motors, bolted to the steel ladder frame in dual housings, send nearly 145 hp (108 kW) and 215 lb-ft (292 Nm) to each wheel, for a total 579 hp (432 kW) and 859 lb-ft (1,164 Nm). Switch to low-range mechanical gearing, a world first for any EV, and the electric drive ratio shifts from 11:1 to 22:1, multiplying already ridiculous torque.

The Geländewagen’s mechanical differential locks are replaced by virtual lockers that vector torque to any of four wheels in as little as 300 milliseconds, with no mechanical distortion of steering control. The blissful silence of EV off-roading and the absence of tailpipe emissions give the EV more points versus the redesigned ICE models we also tested: the 449-hp (335-kW), inline-six G 550 and the fearsome AMG 63 with a 585-hp (436-kW), twin-turbo V8. With a body lifted slightly to make room for the dual-layer skateboard battery, the G 580 even boasts superior approach and departure angles versus ICE versions, though its center breakover angle is slightly worse.

A choice of three intelligent crawl settings lets the Mercedes manage its own pace at varying speeds – including saving wear and noise from mechanical brakes by using electric recuperation on descents – which frees drivers to focus on their off-road line. When I crest steep drop-offs, getting a view of the Mediterranean rather than the trail ahead, a cool Transparent Hood feature uses mirror-mounted cameras to beam images of the terrain below, helping me correctly place the wheels without a human spotter having to jump out in the rain.

The G-Turn’s Spin-o-Rama seems as much a YouTube gimmick as a practical tool, but the G-Steer feature is a welcome gain. In tight quarters, the Benz can drag an inside wheel while overdriving an outside wheel, for an instant pivot around obstacles with no tiresome three-point turns. On a slalom course, the G-Steering Benz wound between cones better spaced for a Miata than an SUV.

If only the G 580 was as agile on pavement. The G 580 will surge to 60 mph (96 km/h) in a stealthy 4.7 seconds, only a half-second behind the brawling AMG 63. Drivers can select four levels of electric recuperation. And this plug-in G-Class can automatically disconnect its front motors and wheels for a claimed 10% gain in energy efficiency.

But the G 580’s highway ride is floaty. There’s generous body roll in curves, and unwanted pitch and dive under acceleration and braking. A bit like the (far heavier) Hummer EV, the Mercedes’ off-road compromises come into play, including a solid rear axle with a De Dion layout. It’s a clever solution in some ways, but one that dates to 1894.

The G 580 is also quick, sumptuous and stylish. Its audience, heavy on entrepreneurs and celebrities, is unlikely to dwell on handling nuances. Mercedes sold more than 9,000 G-Classes in America last year, all at six-figure prices, tripling sales from just a decade ago. Now there’s an electric version that seems tailor made for the status-conscious SUV set — whether or not they dip a Prada-clad toe into off-road mud.

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