Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic review

The GLB Crossover electric version takes on the BMW iX3 and has a 255-mile range. It also features seven seats.

Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to wait when it comes time to launch electric models. The new EQB, which follows the EQC, EQA and EQV electric cars, is actually the fifth off-shoot from Mercedes-Benz’ EQ electric car line-up.

It is heavily based on the GLB, as its exterior suggests. And just like its internal-combustion-engined sibling, the new SUV offers the choice of five seats as standard or seven seats as an option – a factor Mercedes-Benz is banking on to provide it with wider sales appeal than its key premium brand rivals, the Audi Q4 E-tron and BMW iX3.

GLB and EQB share the MFA platform (Modular Front Architecture), which is used in Mercedes-Benz’s compact cars. It has been modified to house the EQB’s dual-electric motor driveline and associated power electronics. All of these are located low within the high strength steel and aluminium structure to give it a low center of gravity.

Modifications also reach the outer body, though on a subtle scale. Mercedes-Benz’s latest EQ-badged model has a modified rear bumper that does not include the integrated tailpipes from its petrol- or diesel-engined sibling models. This helps to differentiate the EQB from the GLB.

Officials believe aerodynamics played an important role in the design of the new model. However, drag-inducing elements like the roof railings or raised ride height still remain. Despite this, improved sealing in the front and flat panelling inside the underbody allows the EQB equal the drag coefficient of the more proportionate Audi Q4 Etron quattro at 0.28.

There are currently two EQB models. They mirror the layout of the larger EQC and have an asynchronous motor at the front and a synchronous unit in the rear. This allows for four-wheel drive. The new Mercedes-Benz model also has a lithium-ion battery with a nominal capacity 190Ah and an operating voltage of 420V. This gives it usable electric energy storage of 66.5kWh.

The EQB 300 4Matic is the most expensive, and it produces a combined 225bhp & 280lb ft. We are referring to the more powerful EQB 350 4Matic. It boasts 288bhp, 383lb ft torque and a claimed 0-62mph time of 6.2sec. The top speed is governed at 100 mph.

The interior design of the dashboard and switchgear is very similar to the GLB’s. Only one change was made to the dashboard design and switchgear. The new digital instruments are model-specific and include new energy consumption and flow functions. This infotainment system operates using the same-generation MBUX technology found in all current Mercedes-Benz compact cars.

It has a premium feel, and it is well-made with soft-touch plastics throughout and galvanized trim elements.

The GLB also includes accommodation. There is enough space to fit five people in the two rows and four hundred litres in the boot.

To navigate the second row of seats before reaching the backmost seats, you will need to use a lot of dexterity. They do have a decent, if not excessive, amount of space.

You can slide the second row forward and backward by 140mm. This allows you to alter rear leg space without sacrificing load capacity. You can store the third and second rows of seats away to increase your boot space by up to 1710 litres. This is 220 litres more that the Audi Q4 E-tron quattro. There is no shortage of versatility.

The drivetrain is programmed so that the rear electric motor is preferred at lower speeds. It operates in rear-wheel drive mode to increase efficiency. The front electric motor is used during strong acceleration at higher speeds to give it four-wheel drive capabilities when it is most needed.

There are three driving modes, as well as an individual setting that lets you customize the characteristics of the driveline and steering to your liking.

The Eco and Comfort models have a relaxed throttle response and a speed limit of 80 mph before kickdown. This gives a smooth, quiet and peaceful driving experience that will suit most buyers. This car is a great combination of performance and refinement.

Sport has a noticeably faster response. Although there is no additional power, the throttle calibration is such that the initial tip in elicits much more immediate acceleration. The step-off performance of both EQB models is strong. This gives them a lively, nippy feel around town. Progress is quick on more open roads without feeling luridly aggressive, as in some electric-powered rivals.

The energy recuperation function allows for you to adjust the amount of kinetic electrical harvested from a trailing throttle using paddles mounted on your steering wheel. There are three modes available as well as the so-called “situation optimised recuperation”, which can be used in conjunction with Eco driving mode. The D- setting is the strongest, which allows one-pedal driving in most situations.

At 66.5kWh, the EQB 350 4Matic’s lithium-ion battery is smaller than its competitors. This compares to the 76.6kWh of Q4 Etron quattro’s Q4 E-tron and 74.0kWh for the iX3. The official WLTP range for the Mercedes-Benz model is 255 miles, which is 54 more than that claimed by Audi, and 30 less than that of BMW. However, the average consumption of 3.8 kW is reflected in this figure.

Despite the extra weight of the battery, the EQB 350 4Matic still manages to deliver Mercedes-Benz-like dynamics and comfort. This is due to the long-travel suspension and optional variable damping control. These combine to give it impressive body control with good isolation of road shock.

The standard 4Matic four wheel drive system provides plenty of grip and strong stability.

It is also worth noting that the steering is direct off center, evenly weighted in all driving modes, and provides a fair amount of feedback. However, there is a tendency to feel a bit of torque steer when the electric motors are combined from standstill.

The EQB’s 100kW maximum charging rate may seem a bit disappointing considering the fact that charging times are so integral to the electric car experience. Mercedes-Benz claims that a full charge can be achieved in 32 minutes using a DC system with high power. An 11kW AC system will take up to five hours 45 minutes to complete a full charge. This is why patience is so important.

The EQB is a worthy competitor to the Q4 Etron and iX3, in many key areas. It brings the versatility of its combustion engine sibling together with a punchy performance and the kind of relaxed and comfortable driving characteristics that will appeal to a wide variety of buyers.

Access to a charger is essential, as the range and power of these devices are not up to current standards. It won’t come cheap. Although the official pricing has yet to be revealed, it is likely that you will pay a PS10,000 premium over similar GLB models. The EQB 350 4Matic, which is driven here, is expected to cost around PS55,000 once UK deliveries begin in the spring.