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The Mercedes EQ C is the antithesis of anything AMG

Up until now, Mercedes’ forays into the world of electric cars have constituted a very rare SLS AMG and a very niche B-class, neither of them roving SA. No longer. This is the Mercedes EQ C, the launch star of the company’s all-electric EQ sub-brand. Looks reasonably close to the EQ concept, don’t you think?

Under its svelte, slightly Range Rover Velar SUV proportions, the EQ C uses a familiar tactic in electric car construction. The 80kWh lithium-ion battery, weighing some 650kg (a quarter of the car’s entire 2.4-tonne mass) lives beneath the floor, keeping the centre of gravity low and improving crash safety. The EQ C’s front electric motor aims to offer the most efficiency, while the rear motor – this is a four-wheel-drive vehicle, like the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X – is optimised for more punch.

Maximum combined power output is 298kW, while torque is a predictably titanic 765 Newton meters. More than a C63’s V8 offers up, delivered silently. As a result, Mercedes is claiming 0-100kphin a hot-hatch-spec 5.1 seconds, and a modest top speed of 180kph. While v-max is unimportant, range obviously is.

So, in addition to Comfort, Eco and Sport driving modes, you’ll find a Max Range setting in the EQ C. Deploy that and Mercedes claims you’ll travel 450 kilometres. However, that’s calculated on the old NEDC test cycle, not the new WLTP regulations, so expect a real-world figure somewhere around the 400 kilometre mark. Next up in the EV checklist: charging. Mercedes has fitted a 7.4kW on-board, water-cooled charger.

However, there’s a bespoke Mercedes Wallbox which can juice the EQ C three times faster than a domestic plug. Mercedes says it expects DC charging to offer a 10-80 per cent charge (EVs rarely go lower, and are equally rarely charged up to full) in 40 minutes. Best get lobbying for healthier snacks at your local motorway services…

On the outside, the EQ C doesn’t do the arch-modern scary eco-car thing. Mercedes doesn’t want to alienate the traditionalists. It’s got a flush light bar front and rear, and blue highlights, but it manages to look contemporary without dating like a sci-fi prop, we’d wager. Inside, it’s a similar story. Big screens (albeit reconfigured to show EV-relevant data, not revs and fuel level), and subtle copper detailing in the vents. Because copper, wires, electric… you get the point.

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