Thu, 01 June 2023
Now that the sound of loud and searing engines of Formula 1 cars pelting around the Bahrain International Circuit has abated for another year, there’s plenty of scope to appreciate the quieter and greener side of motoring life.
So it proved with my test drive of the wonderful, fully-electric Mercedes EQB, the latest electric SUV from the iconic marque boasting advanced technology and value luxury for the environmentally-conscious.
I hadn’t even left the parking space outside the marque’s exclusive dealership Al Haddad Motors’ showroom in Tubli before I knew this would be an experience with a difference.
I’d done my usual routine of sitting in the car for my brief with the friendly marketing team, adjusting the seat and mirrors, having a fiddle with the switches on the dashboard and then cycling through the touch-screen to see what sort of features were available.
Then I pressed the stop/start ignition button, and nothing happened. Of course, silly me had forgotten the deathly quiet of an EV firing up without that familiar roar of an engine!
I soon rectified that, whacking the gear stick into ‘Drive’, I glided out of the car park and out onto the roads in mild wonderment at this magical piece of technology.
There is a certain stigma about electric vehicles which indicate that they have no bite, with some detractors almost having you believe they are powered by a couple of AA batteries and not one capable of 215kW of power and 292 horsepower.
I couldn’t help but laugh at this notion when I hit the highway and put my foot down, with G-forces slamming me back in my seat as an emission-free eruption of acceleration greeted me. There’s certainly no compromise compared to petrol power when it comes to the EQB, which can broach the typical 0-100kmph gap in just 6.2 seconds. Slip it into Sport mode for an even tighter, grippy drive that corners with a sharpness that belies the car’s weight.
Indeed, green power continues to improve immeasurably, with the EQB equipped with an advanced battery system that provides a range of up to 426km on a single charge. It also has a fast-charging capability, which means that you can charge the battery up to 80 percent in just 30 minutes.
Continuing the eco-friendly theme, the vehicle is made from recycled materials and is carbon neutral, making it an eco-friendly choice for those who want to reduce their footprint.
There’s plenty of space in this seven-seater, with comfortable seats and a plethora of adjustment options complemented by ample cargo room for larger families. The high-quality finish of the leather and soft-touch fabrics breathe luxury, too.
The infotainment system contains all the quirks, gadgets and apps you’d want, while it barely took me a second to ease into Mercedes’ interface and soon had the air conditioning, music and navigation settings dialled up on the intuitive touch screen. I also appreciate the head-up display showing my speed, RPM and remaining battery charge without ever having to divert my gaze from the wheel.
Whilst very modern under the bonnet, the EQB is modest outside of it, with the face of the EQB blanked off with a gloss black finish and a lightbar across the top connecting the headlights. Beyond that, it’s more of a conventional SUV, with large slab sides and a squarer rear end design with some funky tail lights.
It’s certain that with eco-friendly and exceedingly fun cars like the Mercedes EQB available, the future is not that anymore … it’s the present.
For more information, visit the Al Haddad Motors showroom in Tubli or call 17 785-454.