First Drive: 2025 Mercedes-Benz G 550, G 63 And All-New Electric G 580

Strong points
  • Linear (and indecent!) performance
  • Faithful to its roots in terms of looks
  • Advanced off-road technologies
Weak points
  • Excessive fuel/energy consumption
  • Heavy weight
  • Extravagant anticipated pricing
Full report

Over the past few months, the Car Guide has covered every technical aspect about the 2025 Mercedes-Benz G-Class lineup, including the brand-new G 580 electric model. The G-Wagen has kept its boxy appearance intact since its introduction in 1979, but you will now find some form of electrification under the hood of every variant sold in North America. Statistically, only a tiny percentage of G owners take them out on the trails. But they encompass the silver-starred automaker's entire off-road technology arsenal.

The Car Guide was finally able to put the 2025 G-Class to the test, a vehicle which has improved its technical abilities throughout time, but whose relevance and purpose are sometimes called into question.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Now Available in Three Bold Mechanical Flavours

Significant mechanical changes have been made for 2025. The entry-level G 550 has lost its V8 in favour of a turbocharged six-cylinder with light hybridization via an electric compressor. With its 443 hp output, this entry-level model has gained in power, but lost in torque, dropping from 450 lb-ft to 413 lb-ft.

However, our test revealed that this new powertrain fills in quite well in lieu of the V8. In addition to its distinctive sound, the six-cylinder engine delivers its torque quicker at low rpm, and continues to run in a linear fashion thereafter. The result is a more sophisticated, less rough-and-tumble operation.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

On the highway, the G 550 proved surprisingly stable for its height and drag coefficient. Fuel consumption was recorded at 11.3 L/100 km, an improvement from the 14 L/100 km highway mileage rating from the outgoing V8-powered G 550. Once off the highway, however, this G showed its true adventurous colours and proved a little less docile on rough pavement, with some body roll and, of course, higher fuel consumption.

The almighty G 63 comes straight out of the AMG stables with the good old twin turbo 4.0-litre V8 delivering 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque - and as with the outgoing model, the euphoria generated by the formidable acceleration/mechanical soundtrack combo, is always much appreciated. This year, however, a light hybrid system has been added to the mix, delivering more torque at low rpm. Engineers are confident that this addition will save 1 litre per 100 kilometres in terms of fuel consumption.

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

Another addition to the G 63 is the AMG GT-inspired adaptative suspension which is standard on Performance and Off-Road packages. According to the manufacturer, this new suspension strikes a better balance between on- and off-road dynamics. While we didn't feel any difference on pavement - the G 63 is still as rowdy as ever - we were able to put this component to the test on rough trails at high speed. And the G 63 definitely proved more stable and predictable than before.

The G 580 Is a Heavy Electron Bomb

The all-electric G 580 is the star of the show for 2025. Almost identical to its peers in physical terms, it is powered by four electric motors connected to a 116 kWh battery. While its power peaks at 579 hp, its 859 lb-ft of torque hilariously defies the laws of physics under acceleration, sprinting all 6,801 pounds from 0 to 100 kilometres in 4.7 seconds. Energy consumption was observed hovering sround 30 kWh/100 km during our drive, which is coherent with the EPA-estimated 386 kilometre range.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

On the road, the G 580's size makes its presence felt in corners. But with no drive shafts or differentials under the vehicle and all the inertia that comes with them, the electric G offers incomparable responsiveness off-road. Its adventurous skills are strongly supported by the multiple computers that manage the four motors to virtually simulate mechanical bits such as locking differentials, transfer case gears, hill descent control and other systems. The G 580 can wade through 850 mm of water and mud, a challenge it met with flying colours in our test. Simply rinse and repeat!

There are a few fun gadgets included, such as G-Turn, which allows the vehicle to rotate 360 degrees on itself. Our test of this specific function proved to be both fun and... dizzying! Then there's the G-Roar, which is essentially a simulation of the sound of the G 63's V8. You can even hear it when the engine is idling while the vehicle is parked. Unnecessary? Maybe. But undoubtedly quirky!

Photo: Louis-Philippe Dubé

An Original Mercedes-Benz Interior, As It Should Be

Behind its tall doors, which have to be slammed rigorously every time you want to close them, this grand Benz hides a palatial interior that skilfully integrates the old and the new. Unlike the brand's newer EQ models, whose interiors are plastered with screens and sometimes lack substance, the G 580 has retained a clever amalgam of rich textures, chic materials and manual controls, while integrating advanced screens whose only downside is a navigation system in dire need of improvement.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

As capable, adventurous, and technological as it is, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a bit like a lion in a cage. Its off-road skills are unrivalled, but so little exploited in the field by owners. Your chances of encountering a G-Wagen are much greater if you're strolling through an upscale neighbourhood or across the street from a luxury hotel or boutique than if you're venturing on an off-road trail.

Pricing has not been revealed yet, but it has been confirmed that the electric G 580 will be positioned between the G 550 and the G 63.

Watch: The Car Guide drives the 2025 Mercedes-Benz G-Class lineup

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