Witnessing electric car launches is quickly becoming a norm in India and this is a positive development as it reflects the right path being pursued for long-term energy sustainability. That said, the luxury segment has so far been missing out on the electric action but all that is set to change soon as Mercedes-Benz gears up for the launch of India’s first luxury electric vehicle and SUV, the EQC 400. We got a chance to drive the Mercedes-Benz EQC recently in varied conditions to find out if an electric powertrain makes sense for the Indian buyers in the premium segment and if it does then what are the hits & misses. Read on to find out.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Exterior Design
One look at the Mercedes-Benz EQC and it quickly becomes clear that this is an SUV inclined towards lighting up the tarmac instead of driving over rough terrains. The ‘not so high’ ground clearance gives the EQC a hunkered down and dynamic profile. The front is dominated by a wide grille with a generous amount of tastefully done chrome along with the headlamps that seem to be a part of the outer chrome grille surround. The LED DRLs and the headlamp cluster with the blue inserts look in sync with the green theme of the vehicle.
On the side, one can find striking 20-inch alloy wheels and these are quite honestly the most stunning wheels I’ve seen among the new launches this year in India. The sloping roofline beyond the B-pillar adds to the ‘ready-to-pounce’ design of the EQC and at the rear, the sleek tail lamps running from one end to the another not only look cool but accentuate the width of the vehicle giving it a dynamic stance. In a nutshell, the Mercedes-Benz EQC looks kinetic and futuristic.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Interior, Features and Comfort
The cabin of the Mercedes-Benz EQC offers a pleasing environment like most Mercedes cars but one can notice that it is quite different at the same time. Being part of the electric EQ series, the EQC cabin has elements that clearly differentiate it from the regular Mercs. Of course, the integrated display for the infotainment system and instrument cluster bears resemblance to older cars but beyond that things are different and impressive.
The soft-touch dashboard along with premium materials all around lend the cabin an air of richness and opulence. Elements such as the cassette rack AC vents and the choice of colours enhance the aesthetic quotient of the cabin significantly. The infotainment screen can be operated using touch or the track and touchpad in the lower centre console. Honestly, I found the touchscreen to be better as using the computer mouse-like controls can be a bit annoying at times. Since the system is equipped with the latest version of the MBUX tech one can execute many regular commands using voice inputs but getting used to it might take some time as the system isn’t flawless at understanding the voice inputs.
At the rear, the seat is quite nice as long as two adults are going to occupy it as a third passenger might not find comfort due to the high centre tunnel and the seat design itself. That said, space is decent at the rear but this is no chauffeur-driven vehicle and honestly, it isn’t meant to be one. Headroom too is decent and there are multiple storage spaces smartly integrated inside the cabin. There’s a sunroof too but for the segment that the EQC will be positioned in a panoramic one might have been more appealing but that is just nitpicking.
Watch our Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV video review:
Mercedes-Benz EQC Battery, Motor, Range, Charging Time & Performance
Finally, on to the most exciting part about the Mercedes-Benz EQC, the electric powertrain. The 2.5 tonne SUV is powered by a nearly 80kWh Li-ion battery pack that weighs 652 kg and houses 384 cells in a modular design. Power is sent to all four wheels but not all the time as when driving sedately it’s only the front asynchronous motor that’s working and it’s only when required the rear motor kicks in making the EQC all-wheels drive. This helps offer a good balance between efficiency and performance.
Total power output is rated at 408 hp along with a massive output of 760 Nm. This is enough to propel this SUV from 0-100 kmph in a claimed 5.1 seconds while our best test run took 5.3 seconds to the ton. What’s even better is that being an electric vehicle all of that mammoth torque is available right from zero rpm. As a result, acceleration off the line is instant and good enough to push your spine in the seat.
There are various driving modes on offer but Sport is the one you want to be in to have a memorable drive. You can also switch to Eco mode to extend the range from the batteries. This brings us to an important aspect, the range. The Mercedes-Benz EQC offers a claimed range of 450+ km in as per the NEDC cycle and our test run although not detailed indicated that a realistic range of around 400 km should be easily achievable in a city like Delhi.
Helping maximise the range is the energy recuperation system with five modes to choose from. One can toggle in between these modes using the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, offering a balanced and convenient drive in any traffic or road condition.
When on the topic of range let’s also get the charging options out of the way. There are three options basically that you’ll have access to with the basic one being the standard wall-charger. Using this with a 16 A outlet you can charge your car anywhere at a slow speed (10 to 100% in 21 hours). Using the AC wall box charger you can charge your EQC from 10 to 100 % in 10 hours whereas the DC fast charger will take your batteries from 10 to 100% in just 90 minutes! The cost of the AC wall box charger, by the way, will be inclusive in the car’s retail price.
As for the stability of the EQC, there’s nothing to complain of as the heavy battery pack mounted between the two axles lowers the centre of gravity and hence improves stability. Straight-line stability at high speeds is rock solid and even around corners, the EQC can leave you surprised with its agility. Well, it’s not sports car agile but for its weight, the EQC goes around corners quite comfortably at high speeds.
The brakes on the EQC offer good stopping power but the pedal feels quite spongy (a case with most EVs) and while the initial bite seems less and might take some time getting used to the car does manage to come to a halt in impressively short distances.
At the end of the day, the EQC left us with a wide grin on our faces and although we missed the musical exhaust note of a petrol motor the electrifying performance was more than enough to keep us entertained and excited.
So is the Mercedes-Benz EQC worth buying and should you look at this instead of a petrol/ diesel SUV? As far as price is concerned, that’s not out yet as the launch is due to happen soon but being a CBU (Completely Built Unit) vehicle expect a price tag of around Rs 1.2 crore or higher.
For this kind of money surely the Mercedes-Benz EQC is surely not a value-for-money vehicle but it wasn’t even meant to be one. Being an electric SUV and the first luxury electric vehicle in India the EQC is a trend-setter and is bound to make its owners nothing short of attention magnets. As far as features, design and performance are concerned the Mercedes-Benz EQC offers impressive performance all round.
Most importantly though the Mercedes-Benz EQC, being the first of its kind and with no competition anytime soon will go on to become the poster child of green mobility in the Indian luxury car market. As a result, Mercedes-Benz India will once again enjoy the first-mover advantage and that seems to have now become a norm for them.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 Specifications
Electric Motors: 2 asynchronous electric motors, one at each axle
Battery: 80 kWh 348 lithium-ion cells
0-100 km/h – 5.1 seconds
Top Speed: 180km/h
Kerb Weight: 2,425 kgs
Expected Price: Rs 1.2 crore – Rs 1.5 crore (ex-showroom)
Claimed: 450 kms (NEDC Cycle)
Estimated Real World Driving Range: 380-400 Kms
10-100% CHARGING TIME
Slow Charging: 21 Hours
Medium Charging: 10 hours
Fast Charging: 90 mins
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