Earlier this week at the 2023 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes confirmed reports about downsizing the G-Class recipe for a smaller off-roader. Described by company CEO Ola Källenius as the “Little G,” the new model is expected to go on sale in the latter half of the decade. When it does eventually arrive, it’s going to be electric, although ICE versions might be on the agenda as well.
Meanwhile, we’ve decided to take a stab at previewing the junior version of the Geländewagen. Since Mercedes’ teaser consisted of a sketch depicting a boxy SUV with a rear-mounted spare wheel, it was a subtle way of saying the petite G will stay true to the instantly recognizable shape of the full-fat G. Our speculative design exercise builds on that and adds some design cues we typically see on the EQ-branded models.
We’re honestly wondering what took the German luxury brand so long to capitalize on the immense popularity of the G-Class to green-light a smaller and more affordable version. Some will remember the Ener-G-Force concept from back in 2012 with its fuel cell powertrain, but it never evolved into a production model.
According to industry forecaster Sam Fiorani cited by Automotive News, the so-called “Little G” is still several years away. It’s projected to enter production near the end of 2026 at the Kecskemet factory in Hungary where Mercedes currently builds the compact cars. As a refresher, the venerable G is made by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. According to the same source, the luxury marque intends to have the compact G on sale in the United States in the first half of 2027.
Underpinning the new SUV will be the Mercedes Modular Architecture, which will be primarily about EVs but it’s still going to accommodate combustion engines. That might mean gasoline/diesel derivatives could be offered, as per the original report published by German business paper Handelsblatt in February.
Regardless of the type of powertrain, the “Little G” won’t be as competent off the beaten path as its bigger brother since it will have a unibody rather than a ladder frame. Nevertheless, Mercedes wants to make sure the new model will live up to the badge, so it should still have generous ground clearance as well as approach and departure angles. Four-wheel drive is a given, so an electric variant would imply a dual-motor setup.
This new G flavor is likely to arrive after replacements for the CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, EQA, and EQB models that were all teased this week at IAA. Before that happens, the fullsize G is going to receive a purely electric version in the coming months.