There’s something rather civilised about having a vehicle launch begin in a Cafe in Melbourne, especially when the Cafe is Mercedes me and the vehicle is the all-new Mercedes-Benz EQC EV.
The automotive world seems to be moving headlong into SUVs and embracing electrification, so it was inevitable that the brand that first introduced us to the car (way back in 1883) would at some point join the EV/SUV party - introducing the EQC.
With a new division set up, Mercedes-Benz EQ (same as IQ but with an electrical bent) is the area that you’ll find everything electrical that the brand will produce, from mild-hybrids and plug-ins to full ‘battery-only’ BEVs to which the EQC is just the start. But I digress.
Mercedes me cafe is a Mercedes-Benz showroom like no other as, for one thing, you can’t buy a Mercedes there and secondly, it comes with very little, or very subtle three-pointed star references. It’s a place to consume multi-award-winning coffee, eat great, freshly-prepared food (with names that nod towards the MB range) and connect with each other (or the internet, whichever you feel more comfortable with. Oh, and then there’s the fact that more often than not, there’s an ‘in the flesh’ Mercedes, AMG or in our case EQ model for you to crawl over. It’s a very cool venue (people even get married there) and if you decide to pop in, ask for Matt and tell him we sent you.
Back to the EQC. It’s been noted that Mercedes is a tad late to the EV (BEV) market and their response is simple, they wanted to get it right. And right it is. The EQC looks and acts like a Mercedes should. It drives impeccably well, is futuristic-looking enough without the need to ostracise those of us that aren’t ready to drive a spaceship and smart enough to live up to its EQ moniker.
It’s based on the GLC, (well the chassis is) and shares 15% of the small/medium SUV but from there on in, the EQC is alone in its electric field. Design wise, as I said, it looks decidedly ‘normal’ but introduces full-width LED bars front and rear, an incredibly 0.28cd aerodynamic shell and a more rounded nose (with a new EQ style grille).
For power, it ditches fossil fuel for 625kg of 80kWh (usable) lithium-ion batteries, but don’t worry the weight is down low and aids its handling, and comes with two motors, one on each axle, that combined produce 300kW of power and delivers 760 Nm of torque. Generally speaking, when you’re driving around town, the front motor is the one that’s engaged for everyday driving, but if you’re asking more of the car in Dynamic, both motors are engaged. With a full charge on board, the EQC can travel between top-ups for up to 434 km (ADR) or 353 km WLTP.
It comes with an Electric Drivetrain (eATS), Direct drive, fixed ratio transmission for each Axle, that offers smooth and linear acceleration and improved efficiency with a 0-100km/h time of 5.1 seconds.
The interior is ‘modern Mercedes’ familiar with full leather furniture, MBUX Dual 10.25-inch display screens that are touch, pad and voice-controlled and the whole system, including the raft of driver and safety aids, is easy to use and intuitive.
Our launch drive route was to head from Mercedes me to the seaside/surfers town of Torquay, it would be a 2+/200km+ trip that would include everyday town and city driving plus some open road twists and turns fun.
As I mentioned before, the EQC drives like a Mercedes should, it handles the traffic well and the country roads even better. It has regenerative braking that is controlled to your liking via steering wheel paddles and offers ‘braking’ resistance from a ‘perpetual coast’, to a near brake test force and everything in between.
The navigation screen comes with an extra feature ‘range cloud’ that superimposes a cloud over the map to show you ‘real-time’ how much range you have left.
We arrived at the RACV hotel with a little over a quarter tank left, not bad at all since we were frequently testing the EQC’s acceleration claims.
Mercedes-Benz may have been a fraction slow in getting to the EV party, but rest assured, it’s well worth the wait.