Is the new sub-brand's styling distinctive enough?
This week, Mercedes revealed the first model in its new EQ electric sub-brand lineup, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4Matic. With its floor-mounted lithium-ion batteries providing up to 200 miles (322 km) of range and two electric motors producing a combined 402 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque, the EQC will be very different from every other vehicle in Mercedes’ portfolio. But beneath the skin is the same basic structure as the internal-combustion-powered GLC. Did Mercedes do enough to differentiate the electric SUV from its more conventional platform-mate? Read on and see.
As expected, Mercedes didn’t adopt the extreme futuristic look of its Generation EQ concept. However, a few ideas did make the jump from concept to production. The first thing you’ll notice about the front end is a light bar that spans the entire grille and connects to LED accents in the headlights, a nod to the blue illuminated strip that framed the concept’s entire front fascia. Designers wisely opted for an actual grille (even if it’s not necessary on an EV) instead of the simulated light grille of the concept. That grille features a thick chrome frame with horizontal slats in standard trim, or is blacked out and bisected by a twin-blade element in AMG Line guise. No matter which model you choose, the EQC won’t look much like the GLC from the front, especially with the electric SUV’s unique black under-grille trim and stacked headlight clusters.
It’s from the profile view that the two SUVs might look alike to some, but even then there isn’t that much of a resemblance. The EQC appears to have more rear overhang, and the roofline clearly gets more raked as it moves backward. This gives it a narrower greenhouse opening, which is compounded by a beltline kickup at the rear quarter window. The EQC’s wheels range in size from 19 to 21 inches, and are designed with aerodynamics in mind. And lest you forget this is an EV, there are at least two wheel designs with blue accents.
Just like the front, the EQC’s rear end is inspired by the Generation EQ concept, wearing similar full-width taillights and a smooth rear bumper and liftgate. There’s not much to say about the GLC’s rear end, which is generally more upright and subdued, so we’ll just include it in the gallery and you can see for yourself how different the two SUVs are from behind.
Inside, you’ll see a lot of familiar switchgear, including HVAC controls that are nearly identical to the GLC’s, but otherwise the EQC gets an entirely bespoke interior. The first thing you’ll notice is the EQC’s dual 10.3-inch displays running the new MBUX touchscreen interface. This alone makes the GLC’s cabin look ancient in comparison, though it should be noted that the GLC is due for a refresh soon that will likely include a digital instrument panel similar to that of the GLC F-Cell. The EQC gets a curved center console like the GLC, but here the dashboard hangs over it to give it some separation from the central screen. Another obvious difference is the move away from round HVAC vents. The EQC’s vents are rectangular with stylized, copper-accented vanes. Ambient lighting plays a big role in both interiors, but in the EQC the driver is fully surrounded by the color of their choice thanks to light piping that runs behind the screens and along the door panel.
So even though they have a lot in common structurally, the EQC and GLC manage to look distinctive from each other inside and out. Do you like the EQ brand’s design direction? Tell us in the comments on Facebook.