YOU EXPECT a certain sort of thoroughness from Mercedes-Benz, which is why its EQC 400 4MATIC electric SUV has taken some time to come to market. To put some meat on those bones, the Tesla Model X has been with us since 2017 and the Jaguar I-Pace since 2018, but from early next year, as the Germans say, “Electric now has a Mercedes”.
Ditching the internal-combustion engine is quite a step for the company that owned the patent for the technology, with papers stamped back in 1886.
Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific CEO and Managing Director Horst von Sanden said Australia was among the first countries in the world to receive the EQC, a key component in the company’s EQ division, which has been established to guide the transition to electric mobility. “The EQC is a game-changer for Mercedes-Benz, but also it imposes a more luxurious standard of electric vehicle ownership,” he said.
Based on a modified GLC platform, the EQC presents a reasonably conventional silhouette, but its underpinnings are unlike any Benz you’ve driven. Powered by a pair of asynchronous 150 kW electric motors generating a total of 300 kW of power and 760 Nm of torque, it’s properly quick. Mercedes claims 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds but, if our early experiences are anything to go by, it feels even quicker.
The 405-volt, 80kWh lithium-ion battery sits below the flat floor, lowering the centre of gravity and realising handling benefits. The battery pack is covered by an eight-year, 160,000km warranty and can charge on a DC ultra-rapid charger at a rate of approximately 220 kilometres per 30 minutes (at a rate of 110kW). On a normal DC fast charger, that blows out to 100km per 30 minutes.
With a quoted range of 434km and free Chargefox network use for the first five years of ownership, range anxiety ought to be minimised somewhat. Should you stay more local, a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox Home can be installed on regular single-phase power to deliver up to 7.4kW, translating to 15km of range per 30 minutes. Go for three-phase power and the Wallbox steps up to 22kW AC charging capability.
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In terms of performance, the EQC feels somewhere between the petrol-powered GLC 43 AMG and GLC 63 AMG models, and that’s pretty much where it’s priced. The $137,900 asking price before on-roads compares to $109,900 for the GLC 43 and $161 for the GLC 63. It’s also right in the same ballpark as the Jaguar I-Pace HSE ($140,800) and the Tesla Model X Long Range ($135,000) but feels slicker inside and better appointed than both these existing family EV rivals.
Should you have a little more money to spend on a state of the art electric SUV, Mercedes can dangle a few tempters. Just 25 examples of the Edition 1 package will be offered which features 21-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels, two-tone designo Nappa leather with diamond-stitched platinum white pearl inserts, heated and cooled front seats, tri-zone climate control, MBUX navigation with augmented reality, and 'Edition 1' badging on the B-pillar. That’s yours for a $6900 premium if you choose Graphite Grey metallic paint or $8600 should you prefer designo Diamond White paint.
The other option is the Electric Art Line package for $5900 which introduces rose gold top stitching, a dashboard with metallic silver grey texture, the Energizing Package Plus wellness program, an air ioniser, multi-contour front seats with adjustable bolsters and massage function, heated and cooled front seats, and a choice of leather finishes.