The 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA has been officially unveiled tonight, the first of six new EQ-branded Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles to lob before the end of 2022.
Essentially an all-electric version of Mercedes-Benz's GLA small SUV, the EQA slots into the line-up as the brand's entry-level electric vehicle and, if the €47,540.50 (AU$75,000) starting price in Germany is any guide, should be priced from around $85,000-$90,000 when it arrives in Australian showrooms in mid-2021.
A sole variant will be offered with at launch, the EQA 250, powered by a single electric motor located on the front axle developing 140kW of power and 375Nm of torque.
Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.9 seconds – slower than its outputs might suggests, thanks to its 2040kg kerb weight, some 555kg more than a front-drive, petrol-powered GLA 200 – towards an electronically-limited top speed of 160km/h.
By comparison, the aforementioned GLA 200 develops 120kW and 250Nm from its 1.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, and can sprint from zero to 100km/h in 8.6 seconds.
The electric motor is paired with a 66.5kWh lithium-ion battery mounted towards the rear of the car (including under the rear seats and boot floor), enabling a 486km range on the NEDC test cycle used in Australia.
According to Europe's stricter WLTP test regime, the EQA claims a range of 426 kilometres – 8km more than its closest rival to date, the 78kWh Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge electric small SUV.
Buyers keen to travel further between charges will, in time, be able to opt for a 'long-range' variant offering more than 500km of WLTP-rated range, along with an all-wheel-drive model developing over 200kW – the lattermost expected to receive AMG badging.
DC fast-charging at up to 100kW is on offer, enabling a 10 to 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes. Recharging via the onboard 11kW AC charger takes a leisurely 5 hours 45 minutes.
Fixed 'comfort' suspension with steel coil springs are standard-fit, with adaptive dampers available as an option.
Retuned variants of the GLA's MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension feature on the EQA, though a range of components have been tweaked and redesigned on the electric model to reduce noise and improve refinement.
Visually, the EQA's GLA-derived architecture means it draws significant parallels in the visual department with its internal-combustion-engined sibling, retaining the GLA's proportions and overall shape – though the EQ-badged model is 53mm longer and 9mm taller, thanks to different bumpers and the underfloor battery.
However, the electric model differs with a unique front fascia with new LED headlights and a closed-off grille, EQ badge plates at the bases of the A-pillars, and unique side skirts and rear spoiler.
The tailgate has been redesigned with a full-width LED tail-light bar and EQA badging, while the Mercedes-Benz logo and licence plate have been repositioned to below the light bar and into the rear bumper respectively.
Alloy wheels up to 20 inches in diameter are available, while both standard and AMG Line styling packs are on offer, each featuring unique front and rear fascias and styling elements.
Mercedes-Benz claims a drag coefficient of 0.28 – identical to that of the GLA, though the EQA's standard 18-inch wheels are larger than those fitted as standard to its petrol- and diesel-powered sibling.
Helping to eek out every last kilometre of range are a variety of tweaks and aerodynamic upgrades including a smooth underbody, aerodynamically-optimised side mirrors and wheels, and a highly-efficient heat pump, the lattermost as you'd find on a Tesla Model 3 or Model Y.
Inside, the Mercedes-Benz EQA's cabin is largely carried over from the GLA, with a pair of 10.25-inch displays (optional in Europe, but likely standard in Australia) dominating the dashboard.
The air vents, seats and key fob can be accented with a choice of rose gold or blue – the latter signalling the car's environmentally-friendly intentions – while the trim inlays can be had in a range of wood and metal finishes, with some offering LED back-lighting.
The screens – which run the German brand's latest MBUX infotainment system, including the 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant – feature an array of EQ-specific displays showing energy flow and consumption, battery details, charging options and power use, with the instrument cluster offering a choice of four modes.
The satellite navigation has been developed specifically for the EQA – taking into account remaining electric range, charging times and charging station locations to ensure the fastest route to the driver's destination – while a standard 'Mercedes me Charge' services provides easy access to 450,000 chargers across 31 countries with one set of login and payment credentials.
A new Eco Assist function varies a range of parameters to maximise range, including adapting to satellite navigation data, recognising 'dips' and crests in the road, and switching between one of five regenerative braking modes, which can also be manually controlled via the steering wheel paddles: DAuto, D+ (no regen, coasting), D (low recuperation), D- (medium) and D-- (high).
Standard features across the European line-up will include LED headlights with auto high-beams, 18-inch alloy wheels, 64-colour ambient lighting, leather-trimmed steering wheel, power-operated tailgate and four-way lumbar support.
Buyers can opt for Night and Edition 1 packages, adding styling features including black exterior accents and black 18-inch wheels for the former, and AMG Line styling, grey leather and blue fabric combination seats, blue piping and unique floor mats for the latter.
Boot capacity is rated at 340 litres with the second row in place, and 1320 litres with it folded – 95 and 110 litres down over the equivalent front-drive GLA respectively.
A full suite of active safety technologies are on offer, including autonomous emergency braking (with support for intersections), adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and safe exit warning.
When will the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA come to Australia?
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA is due to touch down on Australian shores in EQA 250 guise in mid-2021. Local pricing and specifications will be announced closer to launch.