This is a four-wheel drive electric vehicle, powered by two motors. The front motor and all the associated electrics can be viewed underneath a massive black plastic cover beneath the bonnet, but the motor for the rear axle is tucked away under the boot.
It’s easy to understand why owners of Teslas and other similarly punchy electric vehicles wax lyrical about how fun and easy to use their cars are once you drive something of a similar calibre, because it just feels so efficient. Overtaking is easily completed even before the other cars around you are aware that you’re fitting through the gap in traffic, provided you brace yourself and your passengers for the whiplash potential from the car’s massive thrust. It’s not faster than a supercar like the McLaren GT, but the power delivery is instant. It doesn’t even need space to build momentum. We’re not even talking about lag-free power, but immediate, instant torque.
It’ll go from 0 to 100km/h in 5.1 seconds, but the real kicker is that according to the official stats, it’ll go from 80 to 120km/h in about three and a half seconds. A BMW 330i takes four and a half seconds to hit 120km/h from 80km/h. The electric power delivery really changes how you plan your moves on the road.
The EQC is not really a sports car, despite the provision of a ‘sport’ mode in the drive selector menu. It’s quick and has plenty of traction but the suspension is tuned for comfort. It’s also very heavy, tipping the sales at 2,495kg. That’s almost 2.5 metric tons. You’ll feel it in the way the car corners on winding roads and in its braking dynamics. The brakes are good and powerful but inertia wants to carry the car forwards. It’s very agile for its size and weight, but for proper dynamic driving an Audi RS Q3 is far ahead.
The car’s ‘eco’ mode engages a detent about halfway into the travel of the accelerator pedal, beyond which the spring tension is slightly increased. You still get access to full power when you push past that mark, but it’s there to encourage you not to.
The sequential gear shift paddles on the steering wheel are relegated to the function of engaging coasting or regeneration modes, since being an electric car the EQC has no multi-speed transmission. It’s just one gear ratio for forward drive.
We found that the car is really the most effective in coasting mode, which is reached by pulling the ‘+’ paddle once. Here the car freewheels along, applying very minimal power when your foot is taken off the accelerator. On expressways there is just enough power applied to keep the car rolling at 90km/h consistently.
Pulling the ‘-’ shifter paddle up to two times engages a medium and then heavy regeneration mode, where the engine braking effect is more pronounced. The idea is that the car can put more battery charge back into the tank, but in practice we found it to be not very smooth and the regeneration simply doesn’t refill the batteries as much as the coasting mode saves. It’s very handy while descending long multi-storey car park ramps though.
Electrical efficiency varies depending how the car is driven. Plenty of full beans dashing about will drain the batteries quickly and you’ll probably end up with around 300km of range in total. Driven sensibly though, and there’s more than 400km in the ‘tank’. The rated efficiency of 21.5kWh/100km is just about on point, as that’s what the car delivered when on long expressway cruises.