ELECTRIC MERCEDES EQB350

A packaging triumph and very brisk performer, the EQB350 impresses as one of the most thoroughly resolved EVs around.

The real beauty of the EQB350 is apparent within the first kilometre of driving. It’s an intelligently calibrated device for all kinds of driving, making it supremely smooth, swift and calming when quietly negotiating city traffic or pressing on out of town. In either case, the impressive torque of the two drive motors is always on tap while the cabin isolation, pliant suspension and sound body control are pleasing constants. It only takes a few kilometres to get entirely comfortable and, after a week, we genuinely wondered how we could do without it.

The bigger EQC might appeal as a more attractive design but several AMG embellishments hint at the performance potential of the 350 and lift the overall appearance of a two-box that majors on function. Note, for example, the 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels, the backlit black radiator grille with twin blades and the high-gloss front apron with chrome trim and fully functional air curtains.

Refreshingly, there are no eco-themed gimmicks in the cabin, just high-quality materials, brilliant graphic displays and firm, highly supportive seats that feel as though they will maintain their shape forever. Much to our relief, both driver and front passenger get four-way lumbar adjustment. And the electric architecture only adds space to an already airy cabin that affords outstanding visibility from every seat. Rear seat passengers enjoy good legroom and great access, and there’s over 1700L of load space when you lower the rear seats.

You pay a $10k premium for the 350 over the single-motor EQB250 (with 140kW/385Nm) but there’s no contest in the driver appeal, performance or equipment stakes. The dual-motor EQB350 brings with it 4MATIC security and cuts 3.0 secs off the 0-100km/h sprint while only weighing an extra 94kg. And even riding on 20-inch wheels, the EQB350 disguises its weight superbly, soaking up bumps with aplomb and containing body roll in the bends. The only penalty is apparent in higher overall energy consumption, with the 350 rated at 18.8kWh/100km v 16.7 in the single-motor variant.

In case you’re wondering, the test vehicle came in Iridium Silver metallic and the sports seats were trimmed in a mix of ARTICO man-made leather and black microfibre with red double topstitching. Other niceties include Mercedes’ Automatic Panoramic Electric Sunroof, a multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather and funky spiral-look interior trim elements that look especially good when illuminated at night.

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MERCEDES EQB350 4MATIC

MOTORS Dual electric

BATTERY 66.5kWh li-ion

POWER 215kW/ 520Nm

TRANSMISSION Single-speed

DRIVETRAIN 4MATIC AWD

WHEELS 20-inch AMG alloys

TYRES 235/55 R20

LENGTH 4.55m

WEIGHT 2150kg

0-100KM/H 6.2 secs

RANGE 445km

PRICE from $109,900

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