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2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 6/22/2018 Jens Meiners
2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations: We tagged along while Mercedes tests its EQC EV, the first model from the EQ sub-brand. Read more and see the pictures at Car and Driver.© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc We tagged along while Mercedes tests its EQC EV, the first model from the EQ sub-brand. Read more and see the pictures at Car and Driver.

The prototype accelerates out of the corner with authority, the front wheels squeal, and a high-pitched sound is audible from the rear-this is the future of mobility, and it’s seemingly coming in a hurry. We are seated in the passenger seat of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, the first model from the Mercedes-EQ sub-brand for electric vehicles. In deep southern Spain, near Almeria, project manager Martin Hermsen is overseeing final tests of the still camouflaged SUV, asking himself-and us-key questions: “Should you hear the motor and power electronics at full load or not? How much power should we send to the front axle?” At this stage, the engineers are still fine-tuning the new EV.

They’re also hot-weather testing. In the daytime, temperatures here soar to near-tropical levels. If batteries hate anything, it’s extreme cold or heat. But Hermsen is relaxed; the EQC is achieving its targets.

a truck that is driving down the road: 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations© Car and Driver 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations

The Mercedes-Benz EQC not only is adorned with a camo wrap, it also wears three-dimensional panels designed to hide its shape. What the disguise cannot hide, however, is how closely related the EQC is to the Mercedes-Benz GLC-class SUV. The two share the same basic platform-their wheelbase is identical-as well as a vast number of components.

Yes, the EQC has its own styling, with a model-specific grille headlights, a gently rounded shoulder, and a rear overhang that’s some four inches longer. There’s also a coupelike sloping roof and a sleek, horizontal light band at the rear that makes for a futuristic accent. Overall, it looks close to the Generation EQ concept, which served as a preview for this new model.

But the interior, as far as we could see, is very familiar. The dashboard and center console in this prototype come straight from the GLC, as do the seats. The instrumentation, though, is much more modern, as the EQC borrows the latest gizmos from the new A-class, and there’s a touchpad controller on the center console. The air vents and decorative stitching are rose gold in color, and the top of dashboard and door trim shimmers in a metallic fabric.

a close up of a car: 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations© Car and Driver 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations

The gear selector is a conventional column-mounted unit; just pull it down to D and step on the accelerator. The electric drivetrain produces 402 horsepower-201 from the front motor and 201 from the rear. That’s enough to sprint from zero to 62 mph in five seconds, Mercedes says, and for a yet-to-be-defined top speed in the range of 110 to 125 mph. That may not sound like much considering the total horsepower on tap, but Mercedes wants the EQC’s terminal velocity to be sustainable over an extended period of time. And the company says the sprint from zero to 62 mph will be repeatable 10 times in a row. Supplying the power is a 70.0-kWh battery pack that should provide an EPA-rated range of approximately 250 miles.

With its low center of gravity, the EQC hugs the road impressively, but handling-based on our feel from the passenger seat-is somewhat affected by the vehicle’s prodigious weight of around 5000 pounds. And it’s no off-roader, as ground clearance is no better than that of an E-class.

a car parked on the side of a mountain: 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations© Car and Driver 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC: An EV Crossover with Big Expectations

Mercedes-Benz will unveil the finished EQC in September, and it arrives in dealerships next year. A price point of around $80,000 will put it in direct competition with the Jaguar I-Pace and the upcoming Audi e-tron, as well as the entry-level Tesla Model X.

In addition to the EQC, Mercedes-Benz is launching a GLC hybrid with a hydrogen fuel cell, and that’s in addition to the GLC with conventional gasoline engines, the Europe-market GLC diesel, and the plug-in gasoline-hybrid GLC350e. As Mercedes readies its new EV, it’s clearly also preparing for various powertrain scenarios, electric or not.

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