MERCEDES is launching a full scaled attack on the EV scene and the all-new EQB is quite unique in the industry as it offers seven-seat practicality.
With a driving rangebetween chargesof250-257 miles, the full-sized five-door SUV, is priced from£52,145 and available in trim levels calledAMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Launch Edition.
There is also a choice between the EQB 300 delivering 225bhp or the EQB 350 with 288bhp. Both versions have a 66.5kWh battery and a 100kW DC on-board charger allowing it to be rapid charged from 10 to 80 per cent in about 32 minutes.
We opted for the high-endEQB 350 4MATIC AMG Line Launch Editionpriced at £62,645 (specialist Rose gold metallic paint added £895 to the cost).
Despite a weight of just over 2.1 tonnes, the EQB is a powerful beast with 370Nm of torque on tap. It can accelerate to 60mph from a standing startin just 6.0 seconds and has a top speed of 99mph.
Our model had plenty of road presence with striking 20-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, an electrically-operated panoramic sunroof, blue EQ badging to highlight the vehicle's electric powertrain, AMG Line bodystyling, roof rails and heat-insulating dark tinted glass.
The interior is exquisitely designed with the focal point being two 10-inch infotainment screens behind a single pane of glass. There isa 10-speaker sound system, sat nav, a head-up display, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto with a wireless charging pad andpowered, heated seats.
All the instrumentation can be personalised to taste and readouts include vital information about battery charge levels and the remaining driving range.
Navigating the many on-board features is achieved via a touch-pad, voice activated personal assistant or gesture control - all of which mean less driver distraction.
Then when it comes to performance, the EQB offers sublime levels of comfort while cruising with ease at 70mph on motorways. It can be pushed hard into twisting country lanes and is deceptively agile in busier city centres.
There is a constant stream of power on tap to make light work of overtaking and drive modes called Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual alter the behaviour of the car. There are also five levels of recuperative braking used for boosting the battery levels on the move.
The electrically-adjustable damping system smooths out bumpy road surfaces and the cabin is beautifully refined with barely a tyre rumble or wind sound filtering through.
Three adults can sit comfortably in the second row of seats and the pair of back seats can quickly be raised or lowered. These are fine for anyone under 5ft 4ins tall and they also come with Isofix child fixtures.
The boot, accessed via a powered tailgate, can hold 465 litres of kit, increasing to 1,710 litres with the seats in rows two and three dropped flat. And there are numerous storage compartments scattered around the cabin, including practical door pockets, seat back nets, a deep central cubby, front and rear cup holders, plus a glovebox.
The EQB features a wealth of safety systems to protect occupants and other road users alike, helping it gain a maximum five stars when tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. And if Mother Nature takes an unpredictable turn for the worse, the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will keep you moving in more challenging driving conditions.
All in all, the EQB, which sits neatly between the EQA and EQC in the Mercedes EV range, is a quality all-rounder. It looks dynamic, drives beautifully and boasts one of the best interiors around.
£62,645292hp, electric motor with 66.6kWh battery driving all four wheels 99mph
3yrs/unlimited miles (battery: 8yrs/100,000 miles)