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First drive: Mercedes-Benz EQC. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

First drive: Mercedes-Benz EQC
A 408hp all-wheel-drive Mercedes SUV you say? Thatíll be the new, all-electric EQC.

 



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Mercedes-Benz EQC

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Look at the performance stats of the Mercedes EQC, its high-tech cabin and svelte SUV exterior and you'll wonder why we haven't made the switch to electric power earlier. It's the first model from the company's new 'EQ' brand and, while not perfect, it certainly moves things forward for Mercedes in terms of e-mobility.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic
Pricing: EQC starts at £65,640 on-the-road
Engine: two asynchronous electric motors fed by 80kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission: single-speed automatic, 4Matic all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 0g/km (VED Band 0: £0)
Range: 259 miles (according to WLTP regulations)
Energy consumption: 19.7-20.8kWh/62 miles
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
Power: 408hp
Torque: 760Nm
Boot space: 500 litres

What's this?

The very first car to come from the Mercedes 'EQ' brand, mooted as 'electric intelligence' by its maker. The EQC is roughly the same size as a Mercedes GLC (same wheelbase and width, about 100mm longer and a little lower) and it's also a five-seat SUV, though given its reduced practicality (its boot holds 50 litres less and expands into a much smaller volume, not to mention the small door openings) it's perhaps closer in concept to the GLC Coupe. Saying that, with a £65,640 starting price, it's competing in a different market for the most part, one that already includes the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla's Model S and X (yes, we know that the S isn't an SUV, but how many of these cars are ever going to put a wheel off tarmac?).

For now, there's a single powertrain option for the EQC, employing an asynchronous electric motor to drive each axle. They can each recuperate energy, too. Maximum total outputs are 408hp and 760Nm of torque, which give the standard four-wheel-drive system something to think about, even with 652kg of lithium-ion battery mounted low down between the axles. There's 80kWh of energy in there, by the way.

That starting price is for the EQC Sport, which includes Active Parking Assist with a reversing camera, Blind Spot Assist, keyless start, Multibeam LED headlights, heated front seats with four-way lumbar support adjustment, 19-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting and the 10.25-inch MBUX screens. The Edition 1 model is based on this specification, costs £74,440 and adds an electric sliding roof, augmented navigation, the 'Energizing' package, a Burmester sound system, leather upholstery, 20-inch rims, smartphone integration and wireless charging, though it's offered only in black or white paint colours.

At launch, the most expensive variant is the limited edition EQC Edition 1886, which is again based on the Sport model. Along with the equipment that the Edition 1 features, it adds the MBUX Interior Assistant, a Driving Assistance package, a further Parking package, memory seats and head-up display.

On top of the Sport models are three AMG Line variants (regular, Premium and Premium Plus), distinguished by a black panel radiator grille, sport seats with leather upholstery, carbon fibre trim, exterior running boards, 20-inch AMG wheels and a unique front bumper design.

How does it drive?

While 408hp sounds like a lot of power (and it is), it's important to focus on the torque output of the EQC's two motors, which, at 760Nm from a standstill, is nothing short of sensational. It explains why this 2.5-tonne SUV can sprint to 62mph from rest in just 5.1 seconds. Of course, that's helped by the fact that there's a motor on each end of the car, giving it tremendous traction. In the dry, it's virtually impossible to get the tyres to do anything other than grip and slingshot the car forward. Should be useful in the wet, too.

Giggle-inducing straight line acceleration isn't the only thing the EQC has going for it though and, while you wouldn't buy this car to regularly take on your favourite B-road, it can handle being pushed fast with aplomb thanks to excellent brakes, equally impressive body control and huge reserves of mechanical grip. Apparently, the suspension is based on that of the E-Class All-Terrain, including the self-levelling rear suspension, which explains why it feels so wonderfully comfortable. The active driving assistance systems are quick-thinking, too, though some of the safety functions are bundled together in an optional Driving Assistance Package Plus, at £1,695, which is a shame.

While the steering is quite bereft of any feeling of contact with the front wheels, the turning circle is good, making manoeuvring the EQC around town a cinch.

More than anything, however, it's the EQC's quiet refinement that will stick in the memory, making it a very relaxing car to drive - or be driven in.

Verdict

Though the Mercedes EQC is a little less practical and more expensive to buy than its sibling SUVs, it does more than enough to justify comparison with the existing premium electric SUVs on the market. It's fast, comfortable, luxurious and has enough range on a charge to convince buyers that perhaps it is time to have an electric Mercedes in their lives.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Shane O' Donoghue - 14 May 2019









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2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2019 Mercedes-Benz EQC AMG Line. Image by Mercedes-Benz.








 

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