NOBODY, LEAST OF ALL Mercedes-Benz, positions the EQC as a performance car. This, after all, is the start of Mercedes’ ‘sustainable luxury’ push to have CO2 neutral car production by 2022; electrify 50 per cent of its portfolio by 2030; to have a CO2 neutral fleet by 2039. They are calling it Ambition 2039, a mission that — on the face of it — goes in the opposite direction to what we enthusiasts want. Yet… the first time I step on it, the EQC takes my breath away. And I don’t mean figuratively or anything. It physically, via an application of considerable g-forces, takes the breath out of me.
This is incredibly fast! There obviously is no noise and no drama, but that just heightens the absurdity of the EQC’s turn of pace. Here’s a car whose goal is to keep the grass greener, air cleaner, water clearer and children happier. Yet it goes like a fire-spitting AMG. It has some form of launch control logic that, when your leftfoot is on the brake and right on the accelerator, primes up the two motors and, when you get offthe brakes, catapults you into the horizon. 0-100kmph is in a claimed 5.1 seconds, but it feels faster, at least that’s what my kidneys are telling me. And it is relentless. IC engines have a power band, the torque rises and falls as you rush through the revs, even the fastest twin-clutch gearboxes have a micro-second of pause before the next wave is unleashed — all of this gives combustion engines their inherent joy and character. EVs though… it is relentless. There is no ebb and flow. No shifting of gears. The EQC’s full 760Nm of torque is deployed at launch and stays flat, consistent and vehement — punching a hole through the air — till it hits a wall at 185kmph. There’s so much torque the nose visibly lifts from the outside and you can feel the tyres scrabbling for grip — that’s despite the torque-vectored four-wheel-drive. But because everything is electronically controlled, there’s a super-intelligent management of traction. You don’t feel that tell-tale cut in power that you do when either the brakes are applied or power is cut to the wheels to restore traction in conventional combustion-engined cars. With the EQC there’s no opportunity to catch your breath. Honestly, it is great fun.
Of course EVs are a one-trick pony. Once you get used to the mad acceleration there’s nothing else. There’s no activating rear-drive only mode, switching off traction control and smoking rubber. No hooligan antics apart from rocketing to the horizon. But for first impressions, on a day-long drive, it has you laughing like an idiot. And making your passengers dog-sick.
Incidentally the same team that handles AMG in India will be responsible for the EQC, and they definitely know how to sell fast cars. But performance is only one aspect of the EQC; in fact it is only in this enthusiast-focused magazine that you will find the test devoted to the EQC’s turn of speed. Let’s now get sensible.
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