2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4MATIC review - the deal just got sweeter
After we drove the EQB in Kodaikanal a few months back, we got back behind the wheel of this electrified Mercedes-Benz yet again earlier this month. Usually, it would have been for a comparison story, but honestly, the EQB doesn't have much competition. Its primary competition (if at all) comes from its internal combustion-engined sibling, the GLB, and of course the more desirable GLC. The older GLC stopped taking orders a few months back though and the new GLC is still some time away (should be here by Diwali). But until that happens, the GLB and the EQB have the daunting task of holding the fort for Mercedes-Benz in this particular price bracket. You might recall that in my previous review, I said I would choose the EQB over the GLB for the kind of performance, range and clean emissions that it offers over its ICE counterpart. Many buyers also seem to agree with that because the EQB is indeed the better-selling variant out of the two. Mercedes-Benz is now making the deal on the electric a little sweeter though, by introducing the EQB 350 4MATIC that you see here.
One can identify the EQB 350 with the badge on the boot lid and a new design for the alloy wheels, which continue to use an 18-inch diameter. The keyfob has lost its bronze accents though, while the rest of the car's design remains unchanged. This means that you continue to get what essentially looks like a scaled-down GLS, which has three rows of seating, a smart and youthful-looking dashboard with multiple textures, and two screens - which too are scaled-down compared to the screens in the GLS, but are just as feature-rich with the latest MBUX software. It also means that the driver-side AC temperature readout is still hard to read, but the instrumentation will show quicker speedometer readouts because the EQB 350 is a faster car than the 300.
Step on the, eh gas, and the 350 will accelerate from standstill to 100kmph in 6.2s (6.8s tested), which is almost 2s quicker than the EQB 300. Stepping hard on the throttle isn't something expected of someone driving a practical three-row electric, but the quick acceleration is addictive and aids with easier overtaking too. Being heavy with the right foot doesn't seem to affect the range all that much either.
This is astonishing, considering the 350 uses the same 66.5kWh battery pack as the 300. Which means the charging times are similar too. Where the 350 differentiates itself is with the motor configuration. The 350 is predominantly a rear-wheel-driven car and uses a complex and more precise permanently excited synchronous motor on the rear axle. A relatively low-cost asynchronous motor powers the front axle for an all-wheel-drive system which comes into play only when the car detects slip or loss of traction or when there is demand for more torque for scaling inclines or pulling overtakes etc. Save for the quicker acceleration, you may not notice much difference between the driving dynamics of the 300 versus the 350, but the latter's setup uses a superior running gear and one that contributes towards maintaining a similar driving range to the 300, despite the higher performance on offer.
Our test figures reveal around 5km/kW for the highway and around 6.2km/kW for city usage on the EQB 350. So expect a real-world range of around 350kmph which is around 30km lesser than our estimated range on the EQB 300. With most 60kW chargers billing you at ?21-23 per kilowatt at the moment, you are looking at paying ~?1,500 for every 350kms (or even lesser when charging at home). That's the least I have paid for road-tripping in a Mercedes-Benz, ever!
Revisiting what I said in the beginning, the electric is still the one to go for if you have to choose between the GLB and the EQB. The introduction of the EQB 350 over the 300 has only made the deal sweeter, thanks to the enhanced performance without the range taking much of a hit. It's marginally pricier, but worth the asking price. So if you don't wish to wait for the new GLC or if you are looking to buy yourself a practical electric crossover in the luxury space, the EQB 350 could tick all the right boxes for you.
Words Rohit Paradkar
Photography Neel Paradkar