0-100: Mercedes-Benz EQA 250
Mercedes-Benz’s second electric vehicle may be smaller than its big brother but it’s designed to appeal to a wider audience.
When Mercedes-Benz launched its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) the EQC 400 here in late 2019, it did so with the tagline “electric now has a Mercedes”. This clever copywriting was perceived by some as a thinly veiled dig at EV market leader Tesla, and a declaration that the three-pointed star brand was about to go all-in on electric powertrain technology.
Like the rest of the world’s luxury car makers, Mercedes was caught napping by the early success of the Silicon Valley start-up, which quickly positioned itself as the EV brand of choice for a new generation of prestige buyers. Now the giant is stirring, with Mercedes announcing earlier this year a shift in strategy from ‘electric-first’ to ‘electric-only’, with the goal of having a new vehicle portfolio comprised of BEVs from 2030, “where market conditions allow”. Just the second example of this BEV assault arrived in Australia mid-year in the form of the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250, a smaller, more affordable compact SUV that’s based on the brand’s existing GLA and priced to appeal to a broader demographic than the circa $140K EQC 400.
Mercedes describes the EQA 250 as “the electric athlete of the compact segment”, and it is an impressively nimble machine, with the refinement and polished dynamics that buyers expect of the brand. It’s also quick off the mark, with instantaneous mid-range surge that is strong enough to pin you to the seat. That acceleration is delivered near silently, so that inside the well-appointed cabin it feels as if you’re surging along inside a video game. A widescreen array of side-by-side 10.25-inch digital screens reinforces the theme, the displays accompanied by an attractive interior ambient lighting palette that can be altered to suit your mood.
There are plenty of cool features for techheads, like the ever-improving ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant, which operates dozens of common features, and the way the interior lighting predicts when nighttime is nearing and illuminates accordingly. The 66.5kWh lithium-ion battery provides a useful 480km range, aided by a regenerative braking system that’s adjusted via steering wheel paddle shifters.
Safety: ANCAP 5-Stars (2019)
Engine type: Electric asynchronous
Max. torque: 375Nm
Max. power: 140kW
Transmission: Single speed (IVT) with sequential manual mode
Drive type: Front-wheel drive
Battery: 66.5 kWh
Energy consumption: 16.2kWh/100km (ADR)
Body style: Five-door SUV
0-100KM/H: 8.9 secs