Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 Road Test Review – Premium Electrification

It has been raining Electric vehicles recently in India and many new EV have been launched here. Now India’s Numero Uno Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz is entering the bandwagon with their very first All Electric car model the EQC 400. Mercedes had launched the EQ brand in India in January this year and showcased the EQC 400 then, the car model was also showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo later and was scheduled for launch is April.

The launch got delayed due to Covid situation worldwide but now the German carmaker is all ready to launch it. We get behind the wheels of this Premium Electric SUV to understand it better, stay right there and read on to know all on this latest electrifying German beauty.

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Food for Thought

Believe it or not but electric cars were invented nearly 200 years ago and Mercedes-Benz got their EV in 1906. EQ is the range of all Electric Battery Vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. The very first model from the EQ lineup was previewed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show as the EQ Concept vehicle. Mercedes unveiled the production version of the EQC in Stockholm Sweden in 2018 with deliveries beginning in 2019. Mercedes builds the EQC at their Bremen plant in Germany and also at their Beijing plant in China for Global markets. The EQC 400 4MATIC is the first Mercedes-Benz to debut under the all-electric EQ (Electric Intelligence) brand. It sports an all-new drive system with compact drivetrains at each axle. The German car maker created 200 prototypes of the EQC and sent them all over the world – from the hot deserts of Africa to cold temperatures of the Arctic circle for some real hard testing. Globally the Mercedes-Benz EQC competes with the likes of the Tesla Model X, Audi e-Tron and the Jaguar I-Pace.

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Exteriors

In terms of exteriors the EQC 400 as the name suggests is based on the Mercedes GLC SUV. The EQC also shares the wheelbase dimensions with the GLC. The similarities end there; the EQC stands at 4762mm in length with an overall width of 1884mm and has a overall height of 1623mm. The overall wheelbase for the EV stands at 2873mm. The EQC weighs 2495kgs which includes 650kgs of weight of the Lithium- ion Battery.

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At first look the EQC screams out its Mercedes-Benz lineage with the bold three pointed star placed on glossy black base on the wide and large front grille. The face comes with a seven horizontally chrome slatted grille with a thick chrome band running around it. The headlight is neatly flushed into the rounded bulbous styling. These sleek looking headlamps get a C shaped LED DRL strip along with unique styled blue fins depicting its Electric heart. These headlights also get multi beam LED dynamic type units in them. There is a thick glossy black band that runs across the bumper mating the headlights. The front bumper comes with a large air-dam with two chrome strips running horizontally along with aerodynamic inserts placed on it. The lower section of the bumper is in matt black finish to add to the overall SUV appeal to the face. The bonnet comes with clean smooth looking character lines that flow towards the windshield. Unlike other EV’s the EQC has a proper openable hood that houses a proper engine cover (covering the battery components here.

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The side profile looks clean and very sleek also because its an EV and has to have best of aerodynamics. You have a long sloping roofline, large fenders with EQC branding inserts on them, sharp character line running across the lower section of the doors and a tough looking metal step board adding to its SUV character. The door gets a quarter glass while the C Pillar also gets a angular shaped quarter glass.

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The EQC also gets premium looking chrome beltline running around the windows and blacked out pillars. The wing mirrors get glossy black housing which adds to the sportiness on the sides. These wing mirrors also get unique blind spot assist feature that works flawlessly. The EQC drives on 235/50 R20 spec tyres mounted on special petal shaped alloys with blue inserts on them stating that this is a Electric Vehicle.

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The rear profile is pretty interesting on the EQC majorly due to the sleek flushed LED tail lights that start from the sides and run across the entire width of the boot lid. The smoothly rounded bootlid also gets a body colored spoiler with glossy black winglets placed on the either ends adding to the aerodynamic for the rear end. The rear bumper is in dualtone finish with the lower section in matt black color coming with neat chrome inserts running across the width of it.  You also have slim stop reflectors placed on the rear bumper just next to the license plate. The Mercedes logo placed on the bootlid tilts when the 360 degree camera is active as it houses the rearview camera under it.

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The roof gets a regular sized electric sun/moon roof while there is no radio antenna or shark-fin antenna placed on the roof to enhance aerodynamics, the radio antenna is printed into the front windshield instead.

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Interiors

The interiors of any Mercedes cars are classy and premium and likewise the EQC also gets an extremely well appointed, premium and futuristically styled cabin area. The large and wide sized dash gets premium two-tone leather wrapping and is made of soft touch material while the door pads get extra premium looking and feeling carbon fiber inserts, metal inserts of industrial design, leather padding and metal door and window control buttons. Other highlight here is the dark gold color on the AC vents that look uniquely catchy and eye catchy. The door sill also gets metal scuff plates with a unique EQC glow branding on them.

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The steering is the trademark Mercedes styled three spoke design with premium perforated leather wrapping and rich looking metal inserts. This steering is electrically adjustable for height and reach while you also get the MFD control buttons which are very satisfying to use not forgetting the haptic feedback powered touchpad. You also get paddle shifters on this steering but they work differently on this EV. Behind the steering on the right side is the typical Mercedes styled drive shift stalk with P, R,N, D shift modes on it.

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Instrumentation is taken care by two 12.3 inch screens placed side by side making a single block of LCD display, one for the instrumentation and other as the touch screen AVN screen. The LCD color instrument cluster can be customized and changes its theme as per different modes selected between Economy, Comfort, Individual and Sport modes that alter the settings on the powetrain, adaptive dampers and the steering. You can also select the instrument display screen pre set styles from Sport, Classic and Progressive. Apart from speed the centre display between the speed and power dials can show mileage, range and real time consumption, eco display for real time throttle usage and brake regeneration.

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The other 12.3 inch display works as the infotainment system that uses Mercedes latest version of the renowned MBUX. Apart from the MBUX functions this unit has phone connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, navigation. You get the EQ display mode on this system that can be used to set the maximum charge limit to preserve the battery life, search for nearby charge stations, consumption, live energy flow tracker, vehicle statistics, owner’s manual etc. The EQ also gets the trademark Mercedes Ambient lighting via which one can select between 64 colors and also the glow mode between multi and single color, static or transition effects. You can toggle between the various menus and functions using the touchscreen or also by using the touchpad that’s placed on the center console. There also is a nice big closable storage area under the centre armrest. Mobile charge and connectivity ports are of USB C type only on the EQC.

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The seats get unique leather upholstery and also sport tight quilt with generous padding for perfect lateral support. The seats are fully electrically adjustable including the headrests.  You also get a unique massage option that can be controlled using this AVN system and choose between different massage styles.

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The rear seats get a foldable centre arm rest and also three adjustable headrests. Overall comfort on the rear seats is excellent and very supportive with ample amount of head, knee and shoulder room. The rear passengers also get the comfort of twin rear AC vents to add to the comfort levels. The EQC comes with an electrically openable boot lid and offers 500 liters of boot space capacity which is very generous to get in loads of luggage and cargo when needed. This storage space can be extended to 1460 liters when needed by folding down the rear seats.

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Battery – Electric Motor – Drive

The Mercedes EQC 400 comes powered with a 80kWh lithium ion battery that weighs around 650kgs. This battery is made up of 384 cells. The battery pack is powered by 2 asynchronous motors with a total capacity of 300 kW which translates to 408 hp and a overall torque of a mind boggling 760Nm putting it into the Super Car territory. It can achieve a limited top speed of 180 kmph and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds.

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Charging of the Mercedes EQC happens via a CCS or Type Two port on the rear wing of the car. You have three charge options to get this EV all ready, the first one is by using the DC fast charger that takes 40 mins to charge from 10% to 80%, then you have the AC wall charger that takes 8 to 12 hours for a full charge and lastly you have the normal charger using the 15 amp domestic plug that takes around 21 hours for a full charge which Is very handy when it comes to last mine connectivity. The EQC can do 400 plus kms in a single charge which is real good considering the premium comfort that it offers.

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On the move the EQC being an electric car is super silent and you may take 10-15 mins to get used to this after being used to IC engines and their feel. This being an EV it is driven by single speed motors and does not have any gear shifts. The acceleration is near instant with a heavy punch of torque available from the word go. The EQC feel extremely lively across all speeds and drive conditions. You realize the real capability of this electric motor if you press down the throttle for long that’s when your head gets pushed back into the seat and the EV shoots ahead in near instant fashion. The power delivery is very accessible always. You don’t feel nervous to floor the pedal as the EQC has tons of grip and feels planted always. The EQC is front wheel drive most of the time but then you accelerate hard the rear motor also comes into action making it a AWD or as Mercedes terms it 4Matic.

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The EQC feels super premium and confident to drive, the steering is tuned to the lighter side and feels very well weighted. On the drive quality front the EQC offers typical Mercedes levels of comfort and refinement with no tyre noise or road sound coming inside the cabin area.

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As for the regenerative braking, there are so many different modes, which can be selected through paddle shifters on the steering wheel, D Auto (recuperation via ECO Assist to suit the situation), D + (coasting), D (low recuperation), D – (medium recuperation), D – – (high recuperation) This makes one-pedal driving possible, because in most situations the recuperative deceleration is enough not to require operation of the brake pedal.

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Verdict

The EQC becomes India’s first Premium Electric SUV. Mercedes Benz have always been pioneers in technology offering the best to its customers. The EQC 400 is their very first attempt at Electric cars and they have done an excellent job. The EQC has all the traits that one expects from a Mercedes-Benz and much more. The car maker says by the year 2022 they will get 10 more Electric car models and by the year 2030 it expects 50% of its sales to happen with Electric Vehicles and Plug-in Hybrids, This is just the beginning.

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Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar

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