2022 Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC : Freight 4-WarD
Singapore - In the time that EVs have populated Singapore’s streets, there are several vehicle niches that have yet to see an electric entrant. There have been no EV two-door coupes, no electric convertibles (there’ll be one coming in a couple of years) and no electric 7-seater SUVs.
Until now that is. Meet the Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC, a fully electric 7-seater crossover from the brand with the three-pointed star.
In Singapore at least, the EQB 350 is the only vehicle in the 7-seat EV SUV niche.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - I'm new, what is EQ?
While some EQ vehicles like the EQS and EQE are built atop Mercedes’s latest electric-only EVA platform, there are others vehicles within the family tree that are based on existing platforms that accommodate internal combustion powertrains.
To name a few, there’s the EQC (the electric variant of the GLC SUV), the EQV (an electric V-Class MPV), the EQA and this EQB. The latter two vehicles are based on the GLA and GLB respectively, sharing the same MFA2 platform as their ICE counterparts.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - So what’s new with this EQ version?
Where visual similarities or differences are concerned, the EQB isn’t a massive deviation from the Mercedes GLB. Like its petrol counterpart, the MFA2 bones impart this EV with broadly similar looks and near-identical dimensions to its ICE variant.
Where it differs from the ICE-powered GLB is in its front fascia, where Mercedes has fitted a flatter, smoother and featureless grille with an LED strip connecting the headlamps. Round the back, the rear tailgate sees the addition of a light bar spanning across the tail lamps.
In the broad scope of Mercedes-EQ vehicles, the EQB (and by extension the EQA) does fly under the radar where appearances are concerned. When specified in our test car’s AMG Line (which is the only available trim option for the EQB 350), it looks remarkably similar to the AMG-lite GLB 35. ish.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - Looks a little familiar on the inside
It’s the same story on the inside. The interior layout is an exact copy of the one you’d find in the ICE GLB. Same MBUX controls, same widescreen cockpit comprised of two 10.25-inch displays, same gear lever, same climate control panel and copious use of ambient lighting elements (the EQB gains an additional illuminated panel on the dashboard).
Which also means immaculate fitment and choice usage of soft touch materials in certain sections of the cabin and doors.
It’s a cabin that feels a considerable step lower than the later flock of Mercedes vehicles like the W223 S-Class or the W206 C-Class that we tested earlier this year, but the EQB 350 is built atop a platform that is almost 4 years old now, so one can hardly fault the older MBUX interface. It’s not dated, it’s familiar.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - Can it really carry seven people?
Of course, the key USP of the EQB 350 is its 7-seater interior configuration, which does work as advertised. But the inherent nature of the EV drivetrain, ergo the batteries in the floor pan, encroaches into the interior space somewhat. With the two rear benches stowed, the EQB’s rear load capacity is rated at 1,620 litres. Down from the GLB’s 1,755 litres.
The higher floor does mean that you’d have to bend your knees a little more. Like the GLB, the middle row can be shifted based on one’s preferences or needs. The two rearmost seats would be a squeeze for adults over 1.7m (ask me how I know), but it doesn’t feel too dissimilar to the space you get in the GLB. It’s still a space better suited for children.
There are two ISOFIX points in both the second and third benches. So families with quadruplets would be able to ferry their little ones. Goes without saying, you and your little ones would be travelling in considerable style.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - What about the electric gubbins?
Of course, many would naturally wonder what this 7-seat electric freighter feels like behind the wheel. For the most part, it feels like a big ol’ GLB. Tall, towering stance, cushy ride, highly adaptable seating position and familiar interfaces.
Where it differs is in its drivetrain. For obvious reasons, there is no engine. In its place under the hood is an electric motor that drives the front axle, and where you’d typically find under-floor storage in the boot lurks an electric motor that powers the rear wheels.
Between those motors lies the 66.5kWh battery pack, which accepts 11kW of juice with AC charging and up to 100kW under ideal DC charging conditions. On paper, the EQB 350’s efficiency is quoted at 18.8kWh/100km.
A rather conservative figure, considering we managed to whittle down that figure to 18.0-17.8kWh per 100 kilometres over several commutes. However, with more load comes a higher consumption figure. Most drivers would easily manage 20kWh/100km off the highway with a passenger or two.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - How does it feel on the road?
In everyday usage, the EQB 350 is plenty quick, with way more power than the average consumer would ever need in a vehicle.
Combined, the AWD electric powertrain generates 292 horsepower and 520Nm of torque. When dispatched in a less than conspicuous manner, the EQB 350 will do 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds. A second shy of the 5.2 seconds that the GLB 35 AMG takes to hit triple digits. Granted, you don’t have to dispense your battery charge in such a manner.
Driven conspicuously and civilly, the EQB 350 offers more refinement, more comfort and better levels of NHV than you’d get in the standard GLB. Engine noise is replaced with a soft, muted whine from the electric motors. Wind and tyre noise becomes more prevalent but rarely intrusive. As a whole, it’s a far quieter vehicle to operate when stacked up against its ICE counterpart.
The EQB 350 comes with adaptive springs as standard (the EQB 250 doesn’t), which do a fair job of ironing out road imperfections for a more supple ride. An impressive feat especially when you consider the 2.5-ton kerb weight of the car.
The EQB 350 also responds quicker than one might expect of an electric SUV such as this, with a well-weighted steering rack that responds quickly to driver inputs. Turn in is sharp as the nose darts into corners with precision. But there is a considerable amount of bulk and heft that has to follow through. So as tightly as you may be able to carve into a bend, the natural cornering prowess of the EQB is inhibited by its bulky 7-seater shell.
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC - What’s the verdict?
So, it’s fairly efficient (if you try hard enough), it’s comfortable and it actually seats 7. For all intents and purposes, it does indeed do as advertised.
As of now, prices for the EQB 350 start at S$362,888. With it, you’d get the AMG Line body kit and accompanying 20-inch rims for extra style points. Should you want less bling and less torque, the EQB 250 Progressive for a whole 47 grand less may be up your alley.
You’d lose the 4MATIC AWD system and have less power - to contend with, but you’d have the same 66.5kWh battery pack and even better efficiency figures.
But, if there’s a hole in your life for a seven-seater electric SUV that does 0-100km/h in under 7 seconds, this may very well fill that hole.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4MATIC
Battery 66.5kWh, Li-Ion, 400V
Electric Motor 292hp/520Nm
Electric Range up to 419km (WLTP)
Top Speed 160km/h (electronically limited)
LxWxH 4964 x 1900 x 1667mm
Efficiency 18.8kWh/100km (Combined)
Charging 100kW DC, 11kW AC