Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Mercedes EQB is available with two 'engine' choices, and so far we’ve tried the more potent 288bhp 350 4Matic. It's our favourite version, because it's not much more expensive than the 225bhp 300 4Matic but cuts the 0-62mph time from 7.7sec to 6.0sec.
That puts the 350 on a par with the similarly specced Audi Q4 e-tron 50 quattro, but leaves it trailing the far more potent Tesla Model Y Long Range and Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin. The slower 300 will still beat the 40 version of Q4 e-tron to 62mph, helped by the additional traction of the EQB’s standard four-wheel drive.
What's the EQB's handling like? Well, here is compares well with rivals. The steering is precise during low-speed manoeuvres, with a pleasing build-up in weight at faster speeds that gives you the confidence to place the car accurately in corners.
We have a caveat regarding the ride, though. Our test drive car was a Launch Edition model with adaptive suspension. That trim isn’t available for new orders, and every other EQB comes on passive suspension, with no adaptive set-up option.
Based on what we know about the closely-related GLB, which has a less-than-forgiving ride, we think AMG Line trim will give you the best chance of a decent ride because it comes with smaller wheels (18in) than AMG Line Premium (19in).
Having driven the Launch Edition version with big 20in wheels in its firmest Sport setting, we reckon the EQB should round off the worst of any bumps and potholes far better than the Model Y can.
You’ll still be jostled if you catch a sizeable lump in the road with one of the rear wheels, but that’s often the case with electric SUVs. The Q4 e-tron is still the benchmark, with better body control and a touch more suppleness.
Refinement is an EQB strong suit. There’s just a hint of motor whine when accelerating, but that dies away at a constant cruise. Road and suspension noise are low, too. There is a little bit of wind noise around the pillars – blame the rather steep front windscreen and general lack of background engine noise for that.
We also need to talk about the brakes. Like all electric vehicles, the EQB has regenerative braking to harvest energy while slowing down to replenish the battery. Unlike the XC40 Recharge, you can vary the strength of the regen with paddles behind the wheel. Your choices range from the most aggressive ‘-’ mode, which feels like you’ve dropped an anchor, to ‘+’, which gives you gentler deceleration.