New Mercedes-Benz EQA gains 4WD option with up to 288bhp

13 May 2021 - autocar

New Mercedes-Benz EQA gains 4WD option with up to 288bhp

Mercedes fleshes out the line-up for GLA-based EV, paving the way for full-fat AMG variant

Ahead of customer deliveries getting underway in the coming months, Mercedes-Benz has introduced two new trim levels for its new EQA electric crossover. 

Previously, the electric version of the GLA was available to order exclusively in £44,495 EQA 250 guise, which sends 188bhp and 277lb to the front axle, but now a pair of four-wheel-drive options with more power have been added.

Priced from £48,495, the new EQA 300 4Matic adds an extra motor on the rear axle for a combined output of 225bhp, while the top-rung EQA 350, priced from £49,995, takes the total output to 288bhp. 

Each is available in a choice of three trims - AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus - and shares a 66.5kWh battery pack with the entry-level car for a range of 264 miles. The entry-level car comes as standard with cruise control, a reversing camera, adaptive high-beam assist, a multifunction sports steering wheel and a raft of driver aids as standard, while AMG Line brings bespoke styling elements, 20in alloy wheels, artificial leather sports seats and aluminium interior trim. 

The front-wheel-drive EQA 250 is capable of 0-62mph in 8.9sec, but the two new additions to the range cut that sprint time to 7.7secs and 6.0secs, respectively 

The battery capacity is 66.5kWh (usable), with a WLTP range of 265 miles promised (a longer-range variant with a claimed 311-mile range will arrive later). A maximum DC charging rate of 100kW is quoted, allowing for an 80% charge in around 30 minutes. An 11kW AC charge can take it from empty to full in just under six hours. 

Mercedes-Benz EQA: unique exterior design and cabin

The brand's entry-level EV is one of six EQ models to be launched by 2022, including a seven-seat EQB sitting directly above the EQA. 

Using the latest GLA crossover as its base, the EQA features a number of unique styling details to mark it out from its conventionally powered sibling. These include the now signature 'black panel' EQ radiator grille, plus unbroken lighting strips at the front and rear. 

The front has the standard full-LED headlights connected via a fibre optic strip across the front fascia. At the rear, a completely different tailgate design from the GLA, which moves the numberplate  down to the bumper, enables the tail-lights to merge as a single-piece light bar. Mercedes claims these features ensure a "high level of recognisability both in daylight and at night".

Distinctive wheel designs not offered on 'standard' Mercedes models are also available at up to 20in in size. These are bi-colour or tri-colour designs, with some featuring rose-gold-coloured or blue detailing. A competitive drag coefficient of 0.28 boosts aerodynamics and therefore range. 

Changes made to the interior of the GLA to create the EQA are less extensive than those on the outside. Fundamentally, the basic layout is unchanged, but there is now rose-gold-coloured trim inserts on the vents, seats and key, plus additional trim backlighting. A fully loaded Edition 1 spec brings special leather with blue fabric perforations, too.

As usual, the digital instrument cluster is redesigned for EV-specific display functions, and also features rose gold and blue highlights. Mercedes claims the EQA offers the desired high driving position of an SUV combined with a focus on versatility, with the GLA's 40:20:40 split folding rear seats retained.

Mercedes-Benz EQA: technology

Unique tech features also mark out the EQA from its GLA sibling. A "sophisticated thermal management system" features a heat pump that reuses waste heat from the electric drivetrain, while climate pre-conditioning functions are controlled via the MBUX infotainment system or the multi-function Mercedes Me app. 

There is also a standard 'navigation with electric intelligence' function. As well as calculating the fastest route, it uses range simulations to allow for necessary charging stops and accounts for changes in topography, weather, traffic and driving style. It can even pre-heat or cool the battery while driving to bring it to the ideal temperature for rapid charging. 

The Mercedes Me Charging network, available to all EQ customers, comprises 450,000 charging points across 31 countries. 

Standard safety tech includes Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Brake Assist, while the enhanced Driving Assistance Package brings a number of further active alert functions and assist features, including a warning that detects when pedestrians are near a zebra crossing. 

Mercedes-Benz EQA: drivetrain and platform

The EQA continues Mercedes' current strategy of offering EVs based around the platform of an existing combustion-engined model as opposed to creating a bespoke architecture. 

As such, much of the EQA's platform is shared with the GLA, albeit with several adaptations including the removal of underfloor cross members to allow the underfloor battery to form a structural component. It's protected from damage by the car's existing structure, as well as an aluminium housing. 

Further derivatives to come include a dual-motor, four-wheel-drive AMG performance variant - brought in after the first year of sale. 

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