We flew all the way to Germany to get some seat time in the new 2022 Mercedes EQB electric compact crossover and came away impressed.
While gas prices might finally be settling down a bit, plenty of American motorists aren’t waiting for the next big surge. Sales of battery-electric vehicles jumped by nearly 70% during the first half of this year — and could climb even faster in the months to come.
It helps to have more products to choose from, like the all-new Mercedes-Benz EQB, an all-electric alternative to the automaker’s compact GLB.
GearJunkie took a flight over to Stuttgart, Germany, for a chance to take the luxury crossover for a first drive.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB Review
A new EQB 300 sits in the sweltering sun at the Mercedes-Benz Proving Grounds, a 90-minute drive from Stuttgart. At first glance, it’s easy to confuse it with the automaker’s more familiar GLB, with only a handful of details distinguishing the two SUVs. But the flat panel that replaces the traditional Mercedes grille is the dead giveaway.
The EQB is the next in a fast-growing series of battery-electric vehicles that the German automaker plans to roll out over the next few years. It will follow the brand’s battery flagship, the EQS sedan to become the second all-electric model targeting the U.S. market.
Originally set to arrive in 2023, Mercedes has pushed the launch forward and the EQB will debut as a 2022 model.
Mercedes EQB: By the Numbers
Measuring 184.4 inches in length, 72.2 in width, and 65.6 in height, the EQB and GLB have nearly identical dimensions. But there’s one key difference: the all-electric model has migrated to an all-new, skateboard-style platform mounting its powertrain below the load floor.
Two versions of the electric SUV will reach the States, the EQB 300 powered by a single motor mounted on the rear axle delivering 225 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque. The sportier EQB 350 mounts a second motor up front, bumping the numbers up to 292 hp, and 384 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel-drive is standard on both models.
The EQB 300 and 350 share the same 70.5kWh battery pack. And, surprisingly, both models will deliver the same range, 400 km, or 260 miles, per charge using the global WLTP standard. The stricter EPA test cycle is expected to drop that to somewhere around 230 miles. That would roughly match the range of the 2022 Audi Q4 e-tron and that of the less-luxurious Volkswagen ID.4 with a single motor.
Mercedes has yet to release full specs, but the EQB 350 is expected to hit 60 in as little as 6 seconds, with the base 300 model likely to take closer to 8 seconds. Top speed is an electronically limited 100 mph.
2022 EQB Driving Impressions
What I’ve discovered over time is that EV specs tend to mislead motorists. Electric motors normally deliver maximum tire-spinning torque the moment they start spinning. That means a surprisingly aggressive launch feel, even for the base 300 package. And the two Mercedes SUVs keep it going. I found it easy to merge into traffic and execute a high-speed pass. But those who want the added bit of muscle will clearly want to go for the beefier EQB 350.
One of the downsides of an EV is the added weight of the battery pack. The flip side is that, by mounting the batteries underneath, the EQB has a notably lower center of gravity than the gas-powered GLB — and a near 50:50 weight distribution. During a series of drives through the lush and hilly countryside near the German-Swiss border, the crossover proved pleasantly nimble and predictable in tight corners.
Another plus: standard 1-Pedal driving mode. Electric vehicles extend their range by recapturing energy normally lost during braking and coasting. On the EQB models, you can adjust the level of regenerative braking. The most aggressive, or 1-Pedal, mode, allows you to slow significantly simply by lifting off the throttle. Learn to modulate the pedal and you can drive for miles, even in traffic, without needing to touch the brakes.
Beyond the grille, there are a handful of subtle details that distinguish the EQB from its gas-powered sibling — a more aggressively raked windshield, for one thing, and a lightbar that rides atop the grille-less grille. Peek underneath and you’d discover a smooth, aluminum underbody panel that further reduces range-stealing wind drag, helping the EQB achieve a drag coefficient of 0.28, compared to 0.31 for the GLB.
The cabin has been lifted virtually whole from the GLB, but for a few distinctive touches like the rose gold accents that are a signature of Mercedes’ growing EQ family. Passengers sit ever so slightly higher up, with intrusion from the battery pack stealing about 5 cubic feet of rear cargo space. Disappointingly, the German crossover does not offer a “frunk,” or front trunk, unlike some competitors, such as the Tesla Model Y.
Both EQB models come standard with two rows and seating for five. An optional third row is available — but don’t try to squeeze any adults back there, not if you plan to remain friends. Mercedes says the two rear seats are designed to handle folks no taller than 5’4”.
Like the GLB, the new battery models pair twin 10.25-inch digital displays under a single pane of glass. The gauge cluster includes several unique readouts, including range. The touchscreen infotainment system adds even more unique features allowing a motorist to track the operation of the electric drive system.
The “Navigation Electric Intelligence” system goes well beyond calculating the fastest route to your destination. It factors in things like the topography of your route, as well as traffic, to determine whether you’d need to plug in along the way. If you do, it will display where you can stop and even tell you how much of a charge you’ll likely need.
As with other new Mercedes products, the GLB gets the latest version of the MBUX voice assistant. Say, “Hey, Mercedes,” and you can tell it to control a broad range of vehicle functions, as well as check on the weather, among other things.
There are, as one would expect, plenty of advanced driver assistance systems, including active cruise control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lake Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and Active Brake Assist.
Mercedes EQB: Charging & Pricing
Charging is one of the details we’re still waiting for. The EQB uses the same basic electrical architecture as the big EQS. But with a battery pack that’s about 30% smaller, it should take even less time to charge up. The sedan needs 11 hours for a full recharge using a Level 2 home charger, It can get a “top off” of 180 additional miles in as little as 19 minutes, Mercedes claims, when hooked to a public quick charger.
The numbers that have been released show that the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 4Matic starts at $54,500, with the EQB 350 4Matic jumping to $58,050.
After a slow ramp-up, Mercedes is betting big on battery power. We’ll be seeing a flood of additional models over the next several years, including the EQE, the all-electric equivalent of the familiar E-Class. Other classic Benz models, such as the midsize GLE and big G-Wagen, will later get an electric makeover.
The new GLB is a solid addition for those looking to plug in with a compact crossover. It offers reasonable space and plenty of high-line features. There are some trade-offs. A bit more range would be appreciated. But, on the whole, it’s a solid and welcome addition to the expanding world of battery-electric vehicles.