While we were in Germany enjoying a long stint behind the wheel of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE, our dog handlers took a brief drive of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB as a first look at the subcompact SUV. battery-powered that goes on sale in the US later this year. While the EQE is highly advanced in every way – state-of-the-art aerodynamics, intergalactic sensor array, sci-fi hyperscreen, sepulchral silence – the EQB is brighter, lighter, easier to use and more fun to ride. conduct.
This brightness is literal. The gas-powered GLB’s upright roller-skate shape is unchanged for the electric version, and the tall windows welcome heaps of light into the cabin and offer much better visibility than we experienced through the compressed greenhouse of the EQE.
Exterior changes from GLB to EQB are few. The only way to identify it as the all-electric model is from the front by the black grille topped by a full-width LED light bar and at the rear by the full-width LED bar connecting the taillights. The EQB will also offer an exclusive Rose Gold exterior color and wheel choices, as well as Blue highlights, depending on the option packages chosen.
There are some hidden aero tweaks. Looks past a re-sculpted front bumper to active lower flaps, reshaped lower front and rear spoilers, there’s a fully enclosed and ribbed subfloor, and the wheel design is changed. These efforts lower the drag coefficient from the 0.31 clocked by the GLB 250 4Matic to 0.28.
The EQB interior maintains the passenger room of the GLB, and it also offers an optional pint-sized third row. The cargo space is however reduced. The EQB gives up to five cubic feet of luggage space depending on how the second and third rows are laid out.
Compared to the EQE, the technology suite is significantly reduced. The 10.3-inch digital cluster and 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen are all the show for interactive displays; a head-up display is an option. Once on the road, the EQB is mostly analog and muted. Nothing to do here except drive.
Mercedes lists the curb weight of the EQB 350 4Matic we drove at 4795 pounds, making it over 1000 pounds heavier than its gas-powered counterpart. Distributing that low weight throughout the chassis acts as a mass damper, easing jitters on rough roads around town and countering body roll through twisty bits.
The EQB, however, weighs 400 pounds less than the EQE 350 4Matic. And the EQB 350 4Matic makes the same 288 horsepower as the EQE 350, and its 384 pound-feet of torque is slightly lower, so those lacking at 400 pounds make their absence felt when accelerating or turns. (A 225-hp, 288-lb-ft EQB 300 4Matic will also be offered.) The EQB’s electric motors also overcome the sluggish throttle we bemoaned in the GLB 250 4Matic, with the result being that the crossover dipped to through winding roads outside Stuttgart looks more like the AMG GLB 35.
With a 66.5 kWh battery, the figure for the European WLTP range registers at 260 miles. Our EPA-rated number will be lower, though we don’t expect the EQB to end up far behind the Audi Q4 E-tron and Volkswagen ID.4, the competition Mercedes-Benz is aiming for. Connecting to a DC fast charger at the maximum charge rate of the 100kW pack boosts the battery from 10% to 80% in 32 minutes, according to Mercedes.
The EQB welcomes riders into the world of electron powertrains without the risk of digital overload, making it a stepping stone to the EQE in more ways than platform, price and model designation. Both EVs are dandy for different reasons. The EQE wants to be everything you need and can imagine you will need for the foreseeable electric future, but it has a long learning curve. The EQB, on the other hand, is a familiar, laid-back and practical city car that also benefits from a little electric boogaloo along fun two-lane back roads. For anyone who finds the GLB appealing, there’s nothing here not to like.
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