Not content with the serene, luxurious image presented by its electric EQC, Mercedes-Benz has taken its first all-electric SUV off-road to prove it also has some grunt.
Which in a way is reassuring, because all-wheel-drive electric SUVs should not be the preferred vehicle of weekend sport and school pickups, where at least they would not be poisoning the little ones with carbon and other noxious tailpipe emissions.
The new EQC 4×4², which is based on the EQC400 4Matic first launched in Australia in December, has all the off-road perks one would expect from a high-spec bush-basher: multi-link portal axles, increased clearance, big approach departure angles, big arch flares and of course all-terrain tyres with studded wheels.
The EQC 4×4² will even make sure your weekend is not ruined by lack of tunes, as Mercedes-Benz has combined the high intensity headlamps with exterior speakers and dubbed them “lamp-speakers”.
“Our aim is to combine modern luxury and sustainability with emotional appeal,” said board member Markus Schäfer in a statement.
“The EQC 4×4² shows how enjoyable sustainable mobility can be. This is where electromobility high-tech and an intriguing customer experience are transferred to the mountains, thanks to MBUX and over-the-air updates. To put it succinctly, electric, progressive luxury goes offroad,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz reckons that the EQC 4×4² will handle all sorts of landscapes, from rocky mountainsides to sandy deserts and beaches.
It also suggests that by adding a roof-rack and roof-tent as well as an inflatable dinghy, one will have the opportunity to beat the crowds by reaching those remote spots before other exploring types even have a chance to make a morning cuppa.
Getting down to all the dirty details, the EQC 4×4² has more than double the clearance of the EQC400, from 140mm up to 293mm, 58mm more than even the G-Class.
Its approach and departure angles are both increased substantially. The approach goes from 20.6 degrees up to 31.8, while the departure angle increases from 20 degrees up to 33 degrees.
Thanks to the multi-link portal axles, the wheels themselves sit well below the axle centre, while 4×4² suspension is attached to body in the same points as the EQC400’s standard suspension.
Fording depth is a generous 40cm compared to the EQC400’s 25cm, and break over angle goes up from 11.6 degrees to 24.2 degrees.
Taking advantage of over-the-air updates, the EQC 4×4² has an off-road program that uses GLC logic, making things such as targetted brake interventions possible to improve torque.
Mercedes-Benz has even thought of giving off-road drivers “soundscape” feedback to communicate parameters such as acceleration, speed and energy recovery, intelligently reproducing sounds inside as well as generating acoustic alerts through the “lamp-speakers” for increased pedestrian safety.
We’re not sure what the Leyland brothers would make of all that but it certainly sounds impressive.
Sadly though, the EQC 4×4² is for the moment but a study, although there are hints that as the fourth 4×4² model from Mercedes-Benz, a future launch may be forthcoming.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.