What is it?
The new Denza notchback, a practical and (with Chinese government subsidies) relatively affordable electric vehicle developed in a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and the automotive arm of Chinese industrial giant BYD.
Although initially conceived on the same underpinnings as the superseded first-generation Mercedes-Benz B-class, the first in what is expected to grow into a limited range of Denza models has ultimately been engineered in China around what is described by Daimler-BYD Auto officials as a “totally unique platform”.
That platform features a longer wheelbase, wider tracks and increased overhangs than its German sibling – measures that provide it with interior space approaching that of the existing E-class saloon, including a commodious 460-litre boot complete with a full-sized spare wheel.
Power for the weighty 2090kg steel bodied notchback, which was styled under a team headed by Olivier Boulay at Daimler’s Beijing based design studio, hails from a front-mounted electric motor provided by BYD Auto.
With a peak output of 115bhp and 214lb ft of torque, it propels the new car from 0-62mph in a claimed 14.0sec and to a top speed limited to 93mph.
Energy for the electric motor is provided by a relatively large 47.5kW/h lithium iron phosphate battery consisting of 144 individual cells and produced by BYD Auto parent company, BYD Company.
Encased in a cast aluminium cradle and mounted within the floor, it is claimed to provide the Denza with an overall range of up to 208 miles at an average speed of 37mph.