Jay Leno drives the new Benz EV to find out.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 was publicly unveiled at the Paris Auto Show last October but while it is slated to go on sale early this year across Europe, we will have to wait until 2020 for its US debut. To get a better idea of what the EQC 400 will offer when it does arrive, Jay Leno sampled a pre-production example at his garage with the aid of Mercedes-Benz powertrain testing engineer, Bastian Schult.
Styling-wise, the EQC follows the design language of the current Mercedes GLC and GLE crossovers which is perhaps a bit restrained compared to the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace. Jay mentioned that perhaps the subdued styling would broaden this EVs appeal. Under those unassuming body panels, the EQC packs two electric motors which give it a combined 408 horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of just over five seconds, both just about on par with the competition.
Less impressive is the projected 220 mile range, this lags slightly behind the similarly priced (using European pricing as a guide) Model X 75D which can manage 237 miles and an I-Pace will also do up to 234 miles on a single charge.
Slightly shorter range aside, there is a lot of impressive technology that is also debuting for the first time with the EQC 400 such as the adjustable energy regeneration system, while a fast charging option charges the battery to 80 percent in just 40 minutes.
Bastian and his team drove from San Francisco to LA and he commented on how the charging infrastructure was good enough to warrant using an EV without worrying about running out of charge.
He also reiterated that the EQC is the first of ten EVs that will be introduced over the next three years by Mercedes, this will be in addition to the partial electrification of most of the rest of the model range.
There may not be an engine under the hood but the EQC 400 is packed with electronics that fill the space where a traditional gasoline engine would go. The front motor is set up for efficiency while the one in the rear kicks in when additional power is required. On the road, Jay marvelled at how quiet and smooth the EQC drove, as well as its instant torque delivery, something most modern EVs tend to be rather good at.
After playing around with the settings and trying out the various driving modes Jay walked away from the test drive very impressed. As to whether it can match the Model X in the real world, we will have to wait until 2020 to find out. With the constant advancement in EV tech, the EQC 400 may also have received some drivetrain improvements by then so the comparison will be an interesting one.