If you look back in the archives, you’ll find a story we brought you back in September of 2016 about a small startup known as Kreisel Electric that was in the business of developing advanced lithium-ion batteries have completely preserved cells, and thus a higher capacity which ultimately leads to increased range. The company has built a number of custom-made electric conversions with one of the most notable being the Porsche Panamera. But, the company has been very busy since we last mentioned it, and has put together a custom all-electric Mercedes G-Class for none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself! That’s right; the man that once owned a fleet of Hummers has decided to fully embrace his new stance on protecting his environment by adding the big, off road, and all electric one-off to his own personal collection.
The vehicle was first unveiled my Kreisel Electric and Arnold at the Hahnenkamm race in Kitzebuehel in January where Arnold not only learned about his new G-Class and took delivery but also took it out for a quick drive in the snow. During the official announcement, Schwarzenegger said, “To me, with the electric version of this fantastic car, a dream has become true. The initial test drive was a real pleasure: The Kreisel is incredibly sporty and perfectly benefits from the advantages e-mobility has to offer. I really look forward to the following test runs and to the gradual further development in California.”
As you can make out from his quote above, he’ll be conducting further testing and providing feedback to Kreisel Electric for some time to come. What’s really more important, though, is what makes this electric conversion so special. See, using an existing chassis and body that wasn’t designed for an all-electric powertrain is a real challenge, but Kreisel Electric’s technology makes it quite a bit easier. By removing the engine and gas tank, the company is able to place the required battery packs and electric motors while preserving the same general weight distribution. In this specific case, that conversion results in a G-Class SUV with 483 all-electric horsepower and a top speed of 133 mph. It is said to achieve 62 mph in as fast as 5.6 seconds, three seconds faster than the standard model, and has a range of about 190 miles.
But, there’s more to this story, so let’s move on down the page.
The Mercedes G-Class’ appeal is undeniable, even if it caters to a specific clientele. Let’s face it; it’s the only Mercedes model that flies against the company’s existing design language with a utilitarian look that hits off well with the same people who enjoy models like the Jeep Wrangler and the Land Rover Defender. But the G-Class’ appeal also extends to the tuning world where a handful of aftermarket companies have developed kits specifically for the off-road conquering SUV. Most of these kits revolve around the AMG G63, but every so often, a tuner comes by with a kit specifically for “lesser” variants of the G-Class. Here then is Hofele Design, one of the most renowned German tuners in the business, and it’s presenting the “G-Cross,” a tuning program for the G-Class with an extra engine tune specifically for the G350 Diesel variant.
Hofele Design has also taken pride in being different so it’s no surprise that the G-Cross program follows that template. Remember when it developed an Audi R8-inspired kit for the convertible variant of the Audi A5 back in 2009? The G-Cross kit isn’t audacious as that program, but it does come with upgrades that alters the G-Class’ overall look, which in itself is a challenge considering that Mercedes has resisted on making sweeping aesthetic changes of its own.
The program itself is admittedly not for everyone, but for those who want their G-Class SUVs to get a different look, this kit is certainly worth a look or two. At the very least, you can take comfort knowing that the G-Cross tuning program is from a German tuner that has been in the business for more than 30 years. You don’t get to have that kind of longevity in a business as cutthroat as the aftermarket auto tuning scene without knowing what you’re doing.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes G-Class “G-Cross” by Hofele Design.