Mercedes-Benz is plotting a rugged ‘baby’ SUV inspired by the G-Class as a flagship for its new family of ‘Entry Luxury’ models – and it will have electric and combustion-engine options.
Unlike the full-sized EQG, which will use a reworked version of the existing combustion car’s ladder-frame chassis, the compact SUV would sit on the same versatile Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform as the upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLA, which will arrive with a choice of ICE and EV power.
The proposed new SUV is currently being considered by Mercedes and would be its fifth 'Entry Luxury' model if it gets the go-ahead, joining four others being launched over the next three years.
As well as giving Mercedes a foothold in the increasingly popular rugged crossover market – joining the inbound Jeep Avenger, Mini Aceman and Ford’s MEB-based electric crossover – the baby Mercedes-Benz G-Class would 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.
CEO Ola 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 would have an 800V architecture to give a 10-80% battery top-up within 30 minutes from a 350kW charger.
The prospect of a new silicon-anode battery being introduced – tipped to be close to 100kWh in capacity – means it could offer a range far exceeding that of conventionally powered rivals, although its upright stature means it is unlikely to approach the slippery EQXX concept’s 700-mile range.
A mild-hybrid combustion version could be offered but Mercedes may opt against this in some markets, as the new ‘G’ sub-brand is about providing an “unparalleled combination of luxury and off-road ability for electric vehicles”, according to the firm’s boss of off-road vehicles, Emmerich Schiller.