2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic AMG Line X243
Electric seven-seaters remain a rare breed. Other than the £100k Tesla Model X, all that’s available is a glut of vans with windows – the Mercedes EQV, the Nissan e-NV200, or about 60 variants of the same Stellantis model.
Enter the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic AMG Line. It’s not a van but a fashionable compact SUV, albeit a pretty boxy one, like the combustion-engined equivalent, the GLB. You’ll be able to tell the two models apart by the electric model’s signature lighting – like its EQA and EQC siblings, it has full-width LED strips across the front and rear.
All UK EQBs will have that all-important third row. UK models will also all be in AMG Line trim, or for £3k extra AMG Line Premium (different wheels, sliding glass roof, audio upgrade), and in both cases you don’t get those cute rose-gold alloy wheels.
It’s roomier than a Tesla Model Y, though if you’re hoping to keep up with Teslas you’ll be disappointed
Legroom for passengers in the middle row is fine, though it’s a bit narrow for three. It’s not exactly luxurious back in the third row, but by carefully balancing the sliding middle row you can make enough room to keep those under about 5ft 6in tall happy.
It’s roomier than a Tesla Model Y, and more flexible than a van as the seats fold flat without needing to be removed. Not too bad in a car that’s around the same dimensions as a Land Rover Discovery Sport. The EQB will even tow up to 1800kg, which is rare for an EV.
Under the skin you’ll find a 66.5kWh battery pack, set low into the vehicle’s floor, with its frame taking on the structural duties that would otherwise be provided by chassis cross-members. Both variants available at first have a motor on each axle, though there’ll be a less powerful single-motor model out before too long.
The entry model is the 225bhp EQB 300, priced from £52,145 (whereas the GLB starts at £37k). With 288bhp our EQB 350 isn’t exactly slow, though if you’re hoping to keep up with Teslas you’ll be disappointed. It’s relaxed on the motorway, capable of decisive overtakes on country lanes and happy in town.
You can choose your level of regenerative braking, tailoring it to your liking for one-pedal driving, but the drive modes aren’t worth bothering with. Sport makes it twitchy while Eco makes it sluggish.
The EQB’s tall body and numb steering don’t exactly encourage dynamism, but very impressive ride quality and refinement make it more relaxing than racy. It irons out potholes very well, and even at speed there’s only a little wind roar around the upright windscreen.
Long journeys will be relaxing, then. But how long can those journeys be? Well, Mercedes claims a WLTP range of up to 257 miles from both versions of the EQB. Our test route was about 60 miles in the driving rain and freezing cold, during which it lost a little over 70 miles of indicated range. Not too shabby – and Merc’s EVs tend to have fairly accurate range gauges. Charging, meanwhile, can be as quick as 5.5 hours to full if you’re lucky enough to have three-phase electricity and an 11kW charger at home.
No ultra-fast public charging, but 30 minutes on a 100kW unit will get you from 10 to 80 per cent, which will keep the family reasonably happy.
Just the sort of car that’ll turn demanding family buyers onto EVs. Spacious and practical – just not that exciting ★★★★★
THE FIRST HOUR
- 1 minuteWere it not for the rose-gold key, we could be sitting in any petrol Mercedes right now
- 15 minutesThe nav thinks we need to charge, and won’t be dissuaded from directing us to a charger. We don’t need to charge
- 30 minutesParking up to take some photos highlights that this is an amazingly compact car for a seven-seat SUV. It’s like the anti-R-Class
- 1 hourNor rain, wind or gloom of afternoon seems to have too bad an effect on the range
▲ PLUS Spacious and totally unintimidating to drive
MINUS ▼ It’s not as desirable as a Tesla – nor as fast or fun
Blacked-out grille and full-width light strip say it’s electric (as does the price)
Roomy, refined and reasonably well equipped
TECHNICAL DATA FILE
- PRICE £53,645 (EQB 350 4Matic AMG Line)
- POWERTRAIN 66.5kWh battery, twin e-motors, single-speed transmission, all-wheel drive
- PERFORMANCE 288bhp, 382lb ft,
- 6.5sec 0-62mph,
- MAX SPEED 112mph
- WEIGHT 2175kg
- ON SALE Now 2022
- EFFICIENCY 3.8 miles per kWh, 257-mile range