2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC
What to expect
- All-new five-passenger electric SUV
- 402 horsepower
- MBUX infotainment system is standard equipment
- 2021 marks the debut of the debut of the EQC
What is it?
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first all-electric vehicle in the brand's impending battery-powered blitz, and the U.S.-spec model is on display at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Sadly, its original on-sale date in 2020 has been pushed back a year due to the company's decision to fulfill European orders first.
It kicks off Mercedes' new electrified EQ sub-brand (or "Electric Intelligence," because you can't spell "intelligence" without "Q"). A small SUV that's about the same size as the current GLC, the EQC delivers 402 total horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels. Mercedes claims the EQC will have a range of 279 miles, but that's based on the European test cycle and might change in the American translation.
The 2021 EQC shares the same wheelbase as the GLC, which is promising news for passengers since the GLC has tons of space inside. But for better or worse, Mercedes-Benz chose to go in a new styling direction with the EQC, rounding off all the edges and arguably removing some "Mercedes-ness" in the process. If you took off the badge and told us this was a Saab design study from around the end of that company's life, we'd probably believe you.
In any case, the EQC's interior looks to be at the top of its game. The design manages to be clean while offering lots of visual interest, from the cooling-fin-inspired door trim to the rose gold highlights in the air vents. Both gauges and infotainment are handled by a free-floating widescreen console made up of two 10.25-inch displays. Mercedes is also promising a supremely quiet interior, taking extra steps to insulate the cabin. M-B's interiors are already some of the best in the game, and the EQC should keep those good times rolling.
Of course, Tesla has raised the bar for electric performance, so expectations for any sort of luxury EV are sky-high. While the EQC isn't going to be winning drag races against a Model X P100D anytime soon, it's reportedly no slouch. The EQC uses two electric motors to drive the axles separately via electrons from an 80-kWh battery pack. Total system power is rated at 402 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque, with an estimated 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds.
So far, so good — but right now the question is, how much range will the EQC have? Mercedes says the EQC will be good for up to 279 miles per charge, which would put it ahead of both the Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi e-tron and only slightly behind the Tesla Model X in its range-topping 100D specification. However, that number comes from the European test cycle, and we know from past examples that some things are often lost in translation. Some buyers might be put off if the EQC's range comes up short since it would make the vehicle harder to use for long trips. Of course, most drivers don't cover more than 200 miles in a day, but bragging rights still matter when it comes to range. We'll keep a weather eye on the situation as it develops.
In any case, the EQC can help you get the most miles out of every charge. Mercedes has taken steps to improve efficiency not just in the drivetrain but also in the driver. Switch the EQC to Eco mode and the accelerator pedal will provide haptic feedback to encourage lifting off for maximum efficiency in certain situations, like when you're nearing a lower speed limit. The car can also automatically adjust regenerative braking levels if a hill or slow traffic is up ahead, although the driver can control them via steering-wheel paddles. We'll be interested to see how the EQC balances performance and range in the real world.
Why does it matter?
The EQ line represents a major investment. The batteries the EQC uses are manufactured by a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz's parent company, Daimler AG, that will create the power packs for all-electric Mercedes-Benz models. More Mercedes electric cars are certain to follow the EQC's lead. Right now, compact EVs beyond the EQC have been confirmed for both the Chinese and European markets.
At launch, there will be three available trims: Progressive, Premium and Advanced. The Progressive and Premium trims offer two paint and upholstery options, while three selections will be available for the Advanced trim. Each trim builds upon the prior with Progressive as the entry point.
We also know there will be an AMG Line model that amounts to an appearance package with large wheels and unique bumpers. Infotainment will be handled by the new MBUX system, which promises natural-language voice control among other usability, responsiveness and appearance upgrades. The latest generation of driver assist systems will also be available, able to handle everything from managing vehicle speed while cruising and in traffic to actively avoid hazards via automated steering corrections.
What does it compete with?
The EQC will go up against other existing luxury EVs, such as the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X. Tesla's new Model Y, which is more affordable than the Model X, is another obvious rival. Volvo's forthcoming XC40 Recharge will also join the growing chorus of EVs when it arrives in late 2020.
With more models debuting every year, things are looking bright if you're shopping for a luxury-branded EV. The 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC looks promising and should deliver the luxury and quality the marque is known for. Check back in the coming months for additional information and further testing and expert analysis.
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2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC video
Edmunds Senior Writer Mark Takahashi gets behind the wheel of one of the finest ultra-premium luxury sedans: the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC. He shares his observations on how it drives and stacks up against its few rivals. But his pretentious alter ego contends that the only thing that matters is how opulent the rear seats are.
[MUSIC PLAYING] ALISTAIR WEAVER: Here at the Paris Auto Show, we finally got our hands on the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQC. Now EQ stands for electric intelligence. It's the first of a blitz of new electric cars from the three-pointed star. On sale next year, it'll do battle with the Jaguar I-PACE and Audi's new e-tron. We price them around $80,000. Let's take a look. [MUSIC PLAYING] If you're honest about it, the EQC doesn't really look like an electric car, and that's kind of the point. We're moving out of an era where people need to shout about their eco credentials. The point is that they're becoming more normal, more mainstream, if you like. Although that slightly controversial nose treatment that I'm no fan of is something that we'll see on more EQ cars going forwards, as Mercedes tries to differentiate it visually from the GLC and other gas-powered alternatives. Inside, it's much more traditional Mercedes fare, with attention focusing on this long digital strip. And overall, the quality is excellent. There's also plenty of space. The EQC employs two electric motors, one in either axle, to deliver all-wheel drive. It's got 402 horsepower, 564 pounds-feet of torque, so it will be quick. We reckon 0 to 60 in under five seconds. Now when Mercedes originally announced it, they said the range would be about 200 miles, which was, frankly, disappointing. Now they're saying, though, it could be anything up to 279 miles. Which is true? Well, we'll have to test it to find out. [MUSIC PLAYING]