Mercedes-Benz has been on a roll and is taking the lead in the luxury electric vehicle sector. For the first time, the three-pointed star will be launching an SUV that will be offered in three different powertrains — petrol, diesel and electric. The internal combustion vehicle, the GLB, and the all-electric EQB 300 4Matic will make their India debut on December 2nd. This will be the German brand’s third EV gracing our shores in six months after AMG EQS 53 4Matic+, EQS. Both the EQB and GLB are aimed to offer the best quality and features that money can buy along with space and practicality. After the GLS, these two new SUVs will be only the second Mercedes-Benz vehicle in India that will be offered as a seven-seater.
Here’s what to expect from both the SUVs as drove we them from the twisty roads of Kodaikanal to the hustle-and-bustle of Madurai.
Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 4Matic: Driving Experience
Even with the EV sector taking significant strides in the field of technology, it’s still somewhat unthinkable to plan a trip to the hills with an electric vehicle. Being an SUV, the road conditions were hardly a challenge for the EQB thanks to its 155mm ground clearance and all-wheel-drive system.
With both the all-conquering EQS and its AMG avatar offering an afterburner-like instant acceleration, we gingerly stepped on the EQB’s pedal to avoid any unprecedented whiplash acceleration. Thankfully, the new e-SUV didn’t respond like a fighter plane rather it had a measured response, which lets you feel that you have total control of the EV. Linear doesn’t mean it’s boring rather it responds according to your requirement. To ensure you understand what the EQB is capable of, let’s first get the specifications out of the way. The EQB is powered by a 66.5 kWh battery which has a total output of 225bhp and 390Nm of torque. According to Mercedes-Benz, it does 0-100 kmph in 8 seconds and has a top speed of 160kmph. Offering a range of 388-425 km based on WLTP, the SUV can be juiced up from 10% to 80% in 32 minutes with the use of 100kW DC fast charger and with a regular 11kW AC charger, it takes just below 6 and a half hours for cent percent charge.
The EQB is powered by two electric motors and due to Mercedes-Benz’s software the front motor ensures strong performance while the rear returns a good range. With the battery placed under the floor and low centre of gravity, the e-SUV felt right at home at tight narrow winding roads of Kodaikanal.
The EQB offers four driving modes — Individual, Eco, Comfort and Sport. Eco is ideal for negotiating bad road and returns the best range while in Sport mode, the EV sustains it’s quick acceleration without the torque plateauing out.
With the additional battery weight, the EQB’s soft suspension setup neutralises, it stayed rooted to the tarmac and didn’t wobble around while taking tight corners. The EQB flattened the potholes and undulations on the road and offers a comfortable ride quality. The EV comes with regeneration system and with the help of the paddle shifts , the levels can be opted for. The regen system made driving in hills very easy as the brakes would get activated at the turns, making one pedal driving possible.
Mercedes-Benz GLB 220d 4Matic: Driving Experience
The diesel GLB is available in both front and all-wheel drive. The 2-litre churns out 188bhp and 400Nm of torque. There’s a hint for turbo lag initially, but the it quick picks up speed. It feels quick off it’s feet and effortlessly crosses the three-figure mark. The dual-clutch 8-speed transmission upshifts at a decent rate and ensures there always plenty of power available.
Like it’s EV sibling, the GLB carpets ditches without any problems, but it tends to get nervous when it encounters deep potholes.
Mercedes-Benz GLB and EQB: Interiors
The layout, fit-and-finish and the quality of the both the GLB and the EQB is more or less the same. The latter gets additional design elements like the air vents are cooper in colour, the front passenger’s side dashboard gets LED lights in the background and it synchronises with the ambient lights.
Both the SUVs some with the familiar twin 10.25-inch infotainment display and the instrument cluster. It also offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay but not in wireless mode.
The seats are slightly different as the GLB was the AMG trim, it had additional support and comes in mix suede and leather upholstery. The EQS, on the other hand, comes with steering wheel wrapped in nappa leather.
In terms of space, the second row seats slide back to increase the knee room for the third row. This row also slightly differs in between the SUVs. With the battery below the floor, the second seating posture is more knee up in EQB. The third is at best for children.
With the third row seats up, the EQB has a slender space of 110 litres while the GLB’s 130 litres space lets you keep some bags. If the third row isn’t needed then it’s best to fold them and hence the EQB has 465 litres of luggage space while the GLB offers 500 litres.
Mercedes-Benz GLB and EQB: Design quotient
The GLB is called the ‘baby GLS’ because it’s design is heavily inspired from its bigger SUV sibling. The flat front nose with chrome studded grille along with a solid chrome band running across brings out its imposing SUV traits. As we were driving the AMG trim, it came with bigger 19-inch alloy wheels. The front and rear lights have all been mirrored on the GLS.
Based on the GLB’s platform, the EQB is longer by almost 40 mm due to its overhangs. As it’s an EV, it comes with an all black mock front grille with slim and angular headlights. Mercedes-Benz has also touched up the rear with the LED lights running across the tailgate rather than sporting traditional lights like the GLB.
Mercedes-Benz GLB and EQB: Final word
Both the EQB and the GLB will come as complete built units, hence, they will be expensive. Keeping that in mind the EQB could be Mercedes-Benz’s most affordable EV.
The GLB will be an alternate to the best-seller GLC which is completely sold out and will be available in the third quarter of 2023. They come fully loaded with features, safety options, luxurious built cabin and practical when it comes to space.
Even though the diesel is one of the most powerful vehicles in its segment, the EV offers so much more when it comes to performance and a cleaner driving experience.
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