The new Mercedes-Benz EQA is the German brand's first fully electric compact model and is said to provide an "excellent compromise between performance, costs and time to market".
It is now on sale in EQA 250 form, with prices starting from £40,495 (including government grant) for the Sport model and £41,995 for AMG Line trim. The former comes as standard with cruise control, a reversing camera, adaptive high-beam assist, a multifunction sports steering wheel and a raft of driver aids as standard, while AMG Line brings bespoke styling elements, 20in alloy wheels, artificial leather sports seats and aluminium interior trim.
For an extra £3000, the EQA 250 AMG Line can be upgraded with the Premium package, which adds bespoke twin-spoke alloy wheels, an electric panoramic glass sunroof, an 'augmented reality' navigation system, an upgraded sound system and wireless phone charging pad.
The brand's entry-level EV is one of six EQ models to be launched by 2022, including a seven-seat EQB sitting directly above the EQA.
Mercedes-Benz EQA: unique exterior design and cabin
Using the latest GLA crossover as its base, the EQA (which Autocar recently drove in disguised prototype form) features a number of unique styling details to mark it out from its conventionally powered sibling. These include the now signature 'black panel' EQ radiator grille, plus unbroken lighting strips at the front and rear.
The front has the standard full-LED headlights connected via a fibre optic strip across the front fascia. At the rear, a completely different tailgate design from the GLA, which moves the numberplate down to the bumper, enables the tail-lights to merge as a single-piece light bar. Mercedes claims these features ensure a "high level of recognisability both in daylight and at night".
Distinctive wheel designs not offered on 'standard' Mercedes models are also available at up to 20in in size. These are bi-colour or tri-colour designs, with some featuring rose-gold-coloured or blue detailing. A competitive drag coefficient of 0.28 boosts aerodynamics and therefore range.
Changes made to the interior of the GLA to create the EQA are less extensive than those on the outside. Fundamentally, the basic layout is unchanged, but there is now rose-gold-coloured trim inserts on the vents, seats and key, plus additional trim backlighting. A fully loaded Edition 1 spec brings special leather with blue fabric perforations, too.
As usual, the digital instrument cluster is redesigned for EV-specific display functions, and also features rose gold and blue highlights. Mercedes claims the EQA offers the desired high driving position of an SUV combined with a focus on versatility, with the GLA's 40:20:40 split folding rear seats retained.
Mercedes-Benz EQA: technology