First Drive – Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic – 7 Passenger EV SUV

2013 was the first year that electric vehicles (EV) were brought into Malaysia and after 10 years, it can be said that the supply of local electric vehicles for private use is still limited to electric vehicles that only have 5 seats. But starting in 2022, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has started bringing in their EQB 350 4Matic model which has 7 seats.

Mercedes Benz EQB 350 4Matic

Driving Mode Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual

Travel Distance (WLTP) 423km

Acceleration 0-100 km/h – 6.2 seconds

Maximum speed 160 km/h (limited)

Battery Capacity 66.5 kWh

Charging Speed

AC 11kW 0-100%: ~ 5 hours 45 minutes

DC 100 kW 10-80%: ~ 32 minutes

Seat 7

Maximum Power 292 Ps

Maximum Torque 520 Nm

Other Functions Active Distance Assist Distronic, Park Assist Parktronic

Lane Keep Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist

Adaptive Highbeam Assist

Selling Price RM 333,888

Interior Exterior Design

In terms of design, the EQB 350 4Matic follows the size and design of its petrol version, the GLB 35, with a finish reserved for their electric vehicles through the blue strip found on the rim, and also the front lights. From the outside, it doesn't spill over like an SUV and is suitable for users who want a vehicle with a higher floor height than a normal car.

A slight difference when I opened the front boot was the presence of components, without any storage space that usually exists in electric vehicles. There is usually a front compartment or popularly called a 'frunk', which holds any charging cables or emergency kits. For this EQB 350, there is no frunk but there is an electric motor component that does not have any additional cover. Despite the absence of additional covers, no noise can be heard as the interior has excellent sound insulation.

The interior space also brings finishes along with luxury, from the interface display, seat finish and driving controls, as well as the comfort of the passengers. What I found the interface display seems to operate in 60FPS rate, and if you are a video editor, this fps difference can be clearly seen in every movement and animation. In fact, I can feel that the quality of the display is also emphasized as having a high ppi rate, such as Retina Display.

The interface display called MBUX stands for Mercedes-Benz User Experience and has various ways to control it, apart from the touch screen, you can also control it from the touch pad found in the center console space, and also the same touch control buttons as the phone intelligence is found on the Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The presence of these two controls allows the driver to easily control the entertainment display as well as the driving display. The MBUX also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and is always connected to the internet and can be accessed with the Mercedes app, but I didn't have access to that app in this test session.

Passenger comfort is guaranteed with air conditioning in every corner, and also a USB-C charging connection including for passengers in the third row. It should be noted that passengers in the third row should not exceed 165cm in height because if taller passengers sit in the third row, it will be an experience that may cause discomfort for a long journey.

But one thing when using the third row, is the lack of storage space and users may have to expect additional storage space on the roof that needs to be purchased separately. So I can say this is probably a 5-passenger SUV with enough storage space, and if you take 7 passengers for a day trip there may be no storage problem, but if you intend to go home with 7 people you definitely need a separate storage space.

Performance & Driving Experience

For driving, I have taken this Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic around the city and also around Kuala Pilah, Rembau Tampin and the North-South Highway. The car has a 66.5kW battery which gives a range of 423km WLTP and when I received it, it had a range of 392km as this range will always be based on previous driving patterns.

For charging, it has 11kW 3-phase AC charging which allows it to be charged from 0-100% in around 5 hours 45 minutes. For DC fast charging, it supports 100kW and can charge from 10%-80% as fast as 32 minutes. The 4Matic label for the EQB 350 means that all the tires will move (All Wheel Drive) so it has two motors located in the front and rear that produce 292 PS and 520 Nm of torque with an acceleration time of 0-100 km/h as fast as 6.2 seconds, and a maximum speed of 160 km/h.

There are four driving modes namely Eco, Comfort, and Sport as well as Individual which allows users to set their own driving patterns. During this trial period, I drove a lot in Eco and Comfort modes to save energy consumption, and only drove Sport for the trial period. I found that for the Eco mode, it is a driving mode with a normal level of responsiveness and there is a speed limit of 130 km/h. To reach speeds above 130 km/h, users need to change to Comfort or Sport mode. Eco mode will usually show an energy consumption of around 16 kWh / 100KM.

Comfort mode is an intermediate mode where the acceleration is not very responsive, but can reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h at the appropriate time. For this mode, it will usually make energy consumption around 18 kWh / 100KM. If you switch to Sports Mode, all power settings go to maximum, and you can even reach maximum speed very quickly. In terms of energy consumption, Sports Mode makes me use energy around 22 kWh / 100KM.

For all three modes, I can feel that the motor delivers very high power and is very fast in line with the mode you select however if you are driving in Eco Mode, and you want to overtake the vehicle, there is no indication on the driving display telling you that you are in limited speed conditions.

Further improving this driving is the HUD display (Heads Up Display) that is emitted and can be customized by the user. Users are free to put information such as energy consumption, speed display and one panel that cannot be changed is Active Distance Assist Distronic which allows you to follow the speed of the vehicle in front of you without having to step on your electric pedal. That panel will stay there, and the other two panels can change if you activate navigation, or select other information.

The smart functions found on the EQB 350 include a lane keeping system (Active Lane Keep Assist - LKA), a blind spot detection system (Active Blind Spot Assist), a parking assistance system (Park Assist), an automatic high beam system (Adaptive Highbeam Assist) and various more. I personally don't like the level of LKA detection because it is too sensitive, and there are times when road markers have been deleted, the system detects the direction and tries to correct the route.

Along this journey I have also taken advantage of regenerative braking which can be controlled through the left and right levers on the steering wheel. Through this lever, it provides three options for regenerative braking, which is D at the normal level, D+ with less level of regenerative braking, and D- which is the maximum level of regenerative braking.

However during my driving, I did not see any percentage of the battery being recovered, probably because of my aggressive driving style, and the energy regenerated at times was not enough to give even 1% indication.

Regardless, during the 4 days of driving the EQB 350, I can say that with the same driving style as when I drive a petrol car, I did not experience any Range Anxiety because the distance displayed was even and did not stray far enough to cause any annoyance. However, I only experienced Charging Anxiety when I arrived at the charger with a dead battery.

In the video above, what happened is that the Gentari charger at Behrang Next Stop is a mobile modular charger and has limited energy at one time. I started the trip with half a battery, and through the Gentari Go app, the charger was still ready to go when I left. Just when I arrived, there was a Tesla that had just finished charging, and right after that the charger went into maintenance mode. I had to cancel the intention of using the WCE, and turned back to Ulu Bernam to charge the EQB 350 which had 50km left.

As for the charging experience, I often charge outside the house because there is no charger in the apartment house. Among them I have charged from 61% to 93% which is as much as 23.8kW for 2 hours at KL Eco City Mall and with the ability to receive AC 11kW 3 phases, it is quite a good period and corresponds to the time used to break the fast in Mid Valley.

I also used DC fast charging at Mercedes Benz Minsoon Seremban Sales Center, to fully charge while hunting for 0KM in Seri Menanti and Rembau. This 40 minute charging period has taken advantage of the 100kW DC charging capability however when compared to most electric cars on offer now support a higher DC charging capability.

If this EQB 350 uses AC charging at a rate of 3.6kW, it will take a long time, and in the screen above, I am charging at PKNS Shah Alam at 6:18pm, and the 80% charging level will only be reached at 3:10am next day. It is therefore important for potential owners to find AC charging as fast as 11kW to ensure a reasonable and not too long charging period.

My journey from Seremban took me to Seri Menanti, Kuala Pilah, before going down through the village road to Tampin, and up again to Rembau, before returning to Kuala Lumpur but stopping for a while to charge at the AC 22kW ChargEV charger at Kawasan Rehat & Rawat Seremban while breaking fast fast for almost an hour and can charge from 57% to 70%.

In short, I can summarize the 4-day experience of driving the Mercedes Benz EQB 350 4Matic is a luxurious and practical experience in terms of driving comfort, display quality, control and responsive performance. However, at the price of RM 333,888 there are some things that may need to be improved such as the AC charging speed offered at 11kW, and also the DC charging speed of 100kW. Both of these for me are disadvantages as there are many other electric cars that offer higher AC and DC charging specifications, at a cheaper price despite the absence of a third row of seats.

Another drawback that I found is that the maximum speed is only limited to 160 km/h. For me personally, although the constant maximum speed can drain the battery dramatically, and make charging more frequent, this may be a drawback for those who choose a car for the reason of prioritizing speed. With progress and time, I'm sure this could be improved in future versions, or offered through different models.

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