Ever since Rivian demonstrated an R1T prototype completing a so-called tank turn, where a vehicle is able to turn a full 360 degrees on the spot by spinning the left and right wheels in opposite directions, other automakers have either launched or hinted at similar novelties.
Rivian ended up shelving plans for its tank turn, citing concerns the maneuver causes too much damage to the ground and could potentially be abused, especially on public trails. GMC, however, has launched what it calls the crab walk with the Hummer EV. Here, a rear-wheel-steering system enables all four wheels to turn in unison, allowing the vehicle to move diagonally.
Mercedes-Benz has previously hinted that its upcoming electric G-Class will feature a tank turn feature, and now Mercedes has released a video that shows CEO Ola Källenius demonstrating the maneuver on some loose gravel (starting at the 8:53 mark). Mercedes calls the maneuver the G-Turn, and said the feature will be available on the electric G-Class. The zero-emission SUV is due in 2024, likely as a 2025 model in the U.S.
The electric G-Class will also have a scaled-back tank turn feature that can be used to nudge the vehicle into a 90-degree turn, which can be handy on tight trails where a large rock or tree makes it difficult to complete a conventional turn. Although the G-Turn and nudge should also function on hard surfaces, this is likely to cause significant wear on the tires.
The funky maneuvers are made possible by four independently controlled electric motors, a configuration the electric G-Class' chief engineer, Fabian Schossau, said was chosen due to its ability to precisely deliver torque wherever and whenever it is needed, which is ideal for off-roading where individual wheels often and quickly lose traction.
Mercedes previewed the electric G-Class in 2021 with the EQG concept. At the concept's reveal, Mercedes said the production version would match the off-road capability of the gas-powered G-Class, including the ability to tackle 100% grades in suitable terrain.
Mercedes has since revealed that the electric G-Class will at some point feature an advanced silicon-anode battery chemistry to pack in more range without packaging sacrifices. It will be supplied by Mercedes-backed Sila, which plans to start manufacturing cells in Washington State mid-decade for a planned “range-extended” version of the electric G-Class. Mercedes also plans to use this chemistry in other future models.
Prototypes for the electric G-Class have been spotted testing. Mercedes is also known to be working on a baby brother to the G-Class, which is due in the second half of the decade and will come exclusively as an EV.