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Mercedes-Benz is famous for high-end luxury cars that celebrities love to drive. But sometimes, these ostentatious displays of wealth can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. That’s particularly true for the Mercedes G-Wagen. This large luxury SUV is expensive, inefficient, and favored by celebrities, including Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger. That said, here’s a look at how the former California governor made his Mercedes G-Class SUV less obnoxious.

How the Mercedes G-Wagen got its reputation as a gross display of wealth

Arnold Schwarzenegger stands next to a Mercedes G-Wagen in Los Angeles in March 2001
Arnold Schwarzenegger next to a G-Wagen in Los Angeles in 2001 | Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The official name of this boxy beast is the G-Class, but it’s nicknamed the “G-Wagen” (alternatively spelled “G-Wagon”). This iconic Mercedes SUV has a history spanning over four decades. However, it became popular with celebrities, especially rappers, a few years ago. For fans, the G-Wagen is the quintessential luxury SUV, but for others, it’s an obnoxious symbol of wealth.

This Benz is extraordinarily expensive, with the cheapest new G-Wagen starting at $140,000. The rich and famous usually don’t buy the most affordable option, so G-Wagens that show up on celebrities’ social media pages likely cost a fortune.

On top of that, G-Class SUVs are gas guzzlers, getting only about 18 mpg combined. That poor fuel economy is another reason why the G-Wagen is so hated. Many celebrities say they care about the environment, but then they drive emissions-spewing hulks that kill the planet.

So Schwarzenegger saw an opportunity to fix the German SUV’s most glaring problem.

How Arnold Schwarzenegger made his Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen less obnoxious

Schwarzenegger already owned an electric Hummer. Then he spent considerable coin to convert his 2016 G-Wagen into an EV. The Austrian company Kreisel performed the conversion. It marked the first time a G-Wagen received this electric transformation. Because the Total Recall star wanted his G-Wagen electrified, the conversion involved replacing the engine with motors and a battery pack.

EVs were still in their infancy, so the conversion wasn’t cheap. Schwarzenegger said his G-Wagen was worth $1 million due to the electric modification. Its 500-hp powertrain pushed the SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, faster than the standard gas-powered model, CNBC reported.

But because EV technology was so new then, this electric G-Wagen had only 190 miles of range. That’s much less than most modern EVs’ range.

Regardless, this conversion made the Predator actor’s G-Wagen less obnoxious, and Mercedes may have learned a lesson or two.

Mercedes-Benz will soon debut an electric G-Class

As the auto industry electrifies, so does Mercedes-Benz, and Schwarzenegger urged the company to include the G-Wagen in its EV plans. That’s what Mercedes did, revealing the EQG concept a couple of years ago. It’s technically a prototype, but it’s a near-production version.

That means the German automaker will unveil a production version of the electric G-Class soon. However, it will differ from the concept in various areas. More important, though, the electric G-Class is expected to go on sale in 2024.