What is it?
As seems to be the way with the roll-out of the Mercedes-Benz EV line-up, the new Mercedes EQB looks and feels a lot like the conventional Mercedes-Benz GLB, with which it so obviously shares its platform and interior.
You’re either going to be the sort of person who likes the sense of familiarity that this approach engenders or the sort who finds it pretty uninspiring.
If you’re the latter, you can hardly blame Mercedes for pursuing this strategy. The GLB is a popular compact SUV, and even with the arrival of its structural underfloor 66.5kWh battery and rear-mounted motor, the EQB carries over its option of a third of row seats. That makes it unique in its class, which is now a fairly broad church, including the Audi Q4 E-tron, BMW iX3, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Volkswagen ID 4 and Volvo XC40 Recharge.
The GLB is also competitively endowed in the drive department. While the rear axle's synchronous motor is favoured for both propulsion and regenerative braking, there’s another, more compact asynchronous motor in the nose. Combined output for this top-end EQB 350 4Matic version is 288bhp and 383lb ft (the lesser EQB 300 4Matic makes 255bhp and 288lb ft), meaning it can hit 62mph in 6.0sec. That means that, off the mark, it will hang onto the coat-tails of something like the Honda Civic Type R.
However, the EQB 350's range is rated at only 257 miles, which is somewhat under par. The Mustang Mach-E Extended Range AWD, to take just one alternative, costs less yet can do 335 miles, and most premium-badged rivals will also go farther than the Mercedes.
Charging capacity is another area where the EQB's spec-sheet appeal is found wanting. The car's maximum charging rate is 100kW, whereas plenty of rivals now offer closer to 150kW and the Ioniq 5 as much as 350kW. It can still recharge its battery from 10-80% capacity in around half an hour, and currently in the UK we're not exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to 100kW-plus public charging stations, but that will change in time, and so the EQB is a little less securely futureproofed than the others.
As for trim, the car you seen here is the all-singing, all-dancing Edition 1, hence the 20in gold-tone wheels and various bits of sporting body trim. Once this has sold out, you will have the option of either AMG Line (from £52,145 for the 300 4Matic) or AMG Line Premium (from £55,145).
The latter brings 19in wheels – up from 18in – as well as the panoramic glass sunroof, wireless smartphone charging and various other small extras. However, all EQB models have the closed-off grille and full-width light bars both at the front and back of the car.