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Electric version of Mercedes's GLB offers seven-seat practicality - at a price.
Heated front sports seats, 18in alloy wheels, front and rear LED light band, parking package with reversing camera, polished aluminium roof rails, privacy glass, multifunction steering wheel, Thermotronic automatic climate control, MBUX multimedia system.
AMG Line, AMG Line Premium
Single speed automatic
Want to make the switch to EV, but need a seven-seater? Well, so far, your choices have been limited, but Mercedes has come up with a solution in the form of the latest member of its EQ electric family - the EQB.
Think it looks like an ICE-powered GLB? Well, you'd be right, but the EQ version gets sleeker front LED headlights, a sealed grille, plus a different front air dam. While at the back of the EQB there's now a full-width rear light bar, with the number plate moving from the tailgate to the revised rear apron. All these changes equal a slipperier 0.28 coefficient for the overall design.
Inside, it's virtually unchanged from the GLB, apart from the special light trim for the Edition 1 version that we drove. This is no bad thing, as Mercedes interiors are some of the nicest and highest quality around - although all seem automatically dated after the latest S-Class and C-Class and their latest version of the MBUX system. The highlight of the dashboard must be twin 10in screens for the instruments and infotainment. The standard navigation features Electric Intelligence over the standard system, meaning that it's able to calculate the fastest route to the given destination based on the available range. It can then make allowances for any necessary charging stops, as well as for numerous other factors, such as the weather.
It is also able to react dynamically to changes, for instance, traffic situations or personal driving style. In addition, the navigation with Electric Intelligence ensures that the high-voltage battery is brought to an optimal charging temperature before a planned charging stop, if required.
The driving position is comfortable and the seats supportive. Move to the rear and the legroom remains impressive - the high body means plenty of headroom for the tallest too. Our test car was a five-seater, but all UK EQBs will be seven-seaters. We can only imagine these two extra seats will be for children only and that there won't be much boot space with them in position, either.
Talking of the range, the EQB is available as the 300, or the 350 that we drove, both with 4Matic four-wheel drive. This means instead of an ICE engine joining the rear axle to the motor via the transmission, the EQB pairs a compact, electric motor under the bonnet with a rear-mounted motor and structural underfloor 66.5lWh battery. The performance in the EQB 300 is 228hp, 390Nm, 0-62mph acceleration in 8.0 seconds and all with a range of 247 miles on a charge. The EQB 350 we have here is even quicker with 292hp, 520Nm of torque, 0-62mph acceleration in 6.2 seconds and the same range.
The 247-mile range is just adequate here, especially when you consider that an EQB 350 costs £53,645 in AMG-Line trim and a Ford Mustang Mach-E Standard Range has a 273-mile range and is priced at £42,530. Still, on the Mercedes's side, it does have those extra seats and on a rapid 100kW charger, it can go from 10-80% charge in just 32 minutes. A single motor version will be introduced later, which promises a longer range and should be more affordable.
On the road, despite the 20in wheels to our test car, the composed ride impresses. There is plenty of grip, but that tall stance results in some body roll.
Refinement, as with all electric cars is good too, but considering the tall shape, Mercedes's work on the GLB's aerodynamics has resulted in a car that is pleasingly free of wind noise, even at the national speed limit. Despite the responsive performance, the EQB is competent rather than fun to drive.
If seven-seats in your EV is a priority, the EQB is a comfy, refined, and high-quality choice. Although the incoming cheaper, longer-range, single-motor version might be the pick of the bunch.