There’s been talk about a baby Mercedes-Benz G-Class for many years, as well as turning the G-Class into an off-road-focused sub-brand. The first tangible result of the talk was the GLB, sharing the upright G proportions with the longtime legend but almost nothing else. German outlet Handelsblatt says its spoke to sources at the Mercedes mothership who said CEO Ola Källenius is pushing for a “Mini-G” that would arrive around 2026. With the German automaker having chewed on the idea so long — through two CEOs — this is not an outrageous rumor. Problem is, what little has been described about the vehicle in question makes it sound a lot like the current GLB.
Handelsblatt’s word from sources were that the crossover would sit on the Mercedes Modular Architecture that will first slide under the next-gen CLA in 2024, then the GLA, GLB, and CLA Shooting Brake. That would necessarily make the Mini-G shorter and lower to the ground, with looks that resemble but don’t mimic the G-Class. The 2023 GLB 250 4Matic is 182.4 inches long, 79.5 inches wide, and 65.2 inches tall, on a 111.4-inch wheelbase providing 6.1 inches of ground clearance. The 2020 G 550 189.7 inches long, 86.1 inches wide, and 77.5 inches tall on a 113.8-inch wheelbase providing 9.5 inches of ground clearance. Dimensionally and aesthetically, there’s room in there for a Mini-G that looks like a shrunken version of the original; last year, spy photographers caught a jacked-up mule hidden under a third-generation C-Class, possible a baby G, that C-Class having a wheelbase of 111.8 inches.
The story says the Mini-G, like the GLB and G-Class, would offer electric and ICE powertrains, the former able to go at least 310 miles on a charge and refill quickly thanks to an 800-volt architecture. Seems real finely sliced to us. Perhaps Källenius sees this as the German version of the Ford Escape (GLB), Bronco Sport (Mini-G), Bronco (G-Class) relationship, however, and the trio has definitely worked out for Ford. A key line from the Handelsblatt story that’s been overlooked, however, is, “[The] Stuttgart-based carmaker is developing entirely new vehicle types, such as a mix of SUV and sedan specifically for Chinese customers. Perhaps the most daring new product in the coming years is likely to be a compact car that is said to have strong visual similarities to the G-Class.” So it’s possible this plan has only that market in mind.
Now, if what Källenius has in mind is a production version of the Ener-G-Force concept from 2012 (shown above and below) that maintains the concept’s Tonka Toy ethos, then, come on. Let’s get this going, and get that bad boy here mach schnell.