What is this?
With the presentation of the EQB, the number of EV launches at Mercedes is already four this year. The EQE made its appearance at the IAA in September, the EQS dates from mid-2021 and the EQA was allowed to kick off in January. Together with the previously unveiled EQC and EQV, this brings the Stuttgart EV counter to six, which is well above the four i-models BMW is currently launching and the three e-Trons that Audi is offering at the time of writing. In addition, they hope to take an extra lead in Stuttgart by being the first to launch a compact seven-seater on electricity, even though that EQB has previously become a 5 + 2, with two emergency seats in the trunk.
Those two extra seats? To begin with, these are not standard, but optional, just like with the Mercedes GLB. And they reduce the stowage volume by 30 to 90 liters depending on the boot configuration. Mercedes also admits that passengers taller than 1.65 meters have nothing to do with the suitcase seats, but there are Isofix attachment points for child seats. Thanks to individually adjustable backrests and a rear seat that slides by 14 centimeters, the passengers in the second row determine how exactly the legroom is distributed. The seat of the back seat is short. The Mercedes EQB is therefore not as practical as a real MPV.
Like the GLB on which it is based, the Mercedes EQB sits on the elongated platform of the A-Class. That has been adapted for the occasion to transport 66.5 kWh of lithium-ion battery cells in the floor. If that (net) capacity sounds familiar to you, it’s because of the EQA, because it has exactly the same batteries on board. And by extension, also the same powertrains: the 300 and the 350, which have also been available in the electric counterpart of the GLA since the May 2021 update.
Both variants of the Mercedes EQB combine an asynchronous electric motor on the front axle with a synchronous one on the rear axle to earn their 4Matic badge. In time there will be an eco version, which should increase the driving range from the current 419 kilometers (for both versions) to more than 500 kilometers, as well as a 250 version with only front-wheel drive.
What is changing?
For this introduction, we focus on the Mercedes EQB 300 4Matic, which is the entry-level version of the GLB electric range until further notice. The system power here amounts to 228 hp and 390 Nm, even though Mercedes does not specify exactly how the division between the front and rear engine works. Because the asynchronous electric motor under the hood may already account for the bulk of the horsepower, but because it is not the most economical, Mercedes chooses in the EQB to let the smaller rear engine do most of the work. In practice, the EQB 300 4Matic prefers rear-wheel drive – unless you sum all the power and feel the front wheels search for grip while the ESP kicks up a gear.
Still, the Mercedes EQB generally strikes a good balance that feels mature for a car from the A-Class family. With the optional adaptive shock absorbers you can even call it quite comfortable, while the steering wheel lacks feeling, but still reacts precisely to commands. Even the braking performance is good, whether or not in combination with the adjustable braking energy recovery mode via the handlebar paddles. In ‘D-‘, the toughest position, it is a bit exaggerated, but in ‘D’ it is better one pedal-feeling never far away.
In addition, the preliminary base version does not lack anything in terms of power, making the 0-to-100 time of 8 seconds seem plausible and the limited top of 160 km/h is no obstacle on the Highway† We would honestly not know why you would opt for the more powerful Mercedes EQB 350 4Matic with 292 hp and 520 Nm, because then the power really hits the limits of the chassis, to complete the route as efficiently as possible). In our opinion, both systems deserve praise, even if they do not yet take into account the real charging speed of the charging points on the road.
Speaking of which: DC fast charging can go up to 100 kW, which implies about half an hour to go from 10 to 80 percent battery status again. With the Electric Intelligence navigation feature switched on, the batteries are conditioned in advance to immediately go to that 100 kW charging strength and to lose as little time as possible at the pole. An EQB charges with a maximum of 11 kW at a classic AC charging station. At a three-phase charging point, an empty battery can be recharged in just 7 hours.
Since experience is still the best proof, we kept a close eye on the fuel consumption meter during our ride on the neatly manicured roads around Stuttgart. And guess what? That the energy consumption at normal load varies between 18 and 24 kWh/100 km. To do better, you will have to eco-driving and suffer the cold, by sidelining the heating. In real conditions, the driving range is therefore not 419 kilometers, but rather 350, with which the Mercedes EQB 300 4Matic qualifies in the middle bracket.
Mercedes itself says that the ‘+2’ seats of the EQB are rather intended for occasional use, but that does not alter the fact that the electric GLB uses the available centimeters efficiently. Admittedly, the trunk volume suffers somewhat from the battery pack and it seems as if you are also higher in the front, but otherwise the switch to electricity has turned out to be a plus. The electric Mercedes EQB drives even more mature than the GLB versions with combustion engines, while the power and range of the basic version are sufficient.
In Belgium, the base price of the EQB 300 is 63,041 euros or 7,865 euros more than the identically motorized but of course smaller EQA 300. In exchange you get an EV that requires some extras to configure it as shown in the photos, although the used materials are more likely to match the pricing of the conventional motorized cap.