Change Of Heart

The Mercedes-Benz all-electric, all-wheel-drive compact SUV gets even better

By Afzal Rawuther

Late last year, when I drove the EQB, it came across as an SUV that served a very practical purpose in Mercedes-Benz’ India lineup. Aimed squarely at people looking for that added practicality from their luxury SUV, the EQB 300 made a whole lot of sense considering how closely it was priced to its ICE counterpart, the GLB. We were impressed with the interior appointments, the ride quality and mostly how versatile it was. Sure, the last row is best reserved for kids, but the fact that it exists, especially in an SUV this compact, would surely interest buyers.

Mercedes-Benz have gone ahead and updated the heart i.e., the motor now. The SUV is now available in a 350 guise instead of the 300; more power and torque on offer, though apart from the new badge and a revised wheel design, there isn’t really anything to distinguish the 350 from the 300. On the inside too, the EQB 350 remains the same, and that’s a good thing. The large, connected infotainment and instrument displays are there and they work effortlessly with rich animations and an intuitive UI. The brushed bronze, turbine-like AC vents and bronze detailing on the dash elevate the cabin. It is just as comfortable as well, with supportive seats that can be adjusted electrically at the front. The second-row seats offer enough room but do lose out on good under-thigh support.

To put the new powertrain to the test, I spent a couple of days living with the EQB 350 in Mumbai and then took it on an inter-city run to Pune. In the city, especially in the narrow lanes around my house, the EQB’s compact dimensions came in handy. The added torque (130 Nm over the EQB 300 bringing it up to 520 Nm) gives it a bit more shove and is particularly useful as you thread through traffic. Importantly though, the added power and torque are deployed in a progressive, linear manner befitting an SUV in this class. As before, the SUV continues to handle poor roads and speedbreakers very well with a firm but pliant ride.

Out on the highway, the 66.5 kWh battery (same as before) gives you a realworld range of 350 km or so. Importantly, the added torque allows you to get up to triple-digit cruising speeds very quickly; in 6.2 seconds onwards to a top speed of 160 kmph. High speed stability is excellent, and the low center of gravity definitely plays a role in making it nimble. With the change of heart, Mercedes-Benz have strengthened the EQB. Along with the practicality on offer and all the luxury trappings you’d expect from MercedesBenz, the new motor gives it added oomph to make your everyday drives that much more exciting.

Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com

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