Electric Intelligence

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ heralds the coming of a new generation of vehicles – and is already turning heads in Berlin.

A ride in the sleek, futuristic Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ is an unforgettable experience, inspiring the kinds of reactions you would normally associate with the roar of a brand new Mercedes-AMG supercar. Pedestrians stop dead in their tracks, mouths agape. Pointing and staring in wonder at the vehicle, they whip out their phones to get a photograph.

Our maiden voyage in the Concept EQ takes us to the EUREF-Campus, a high-tech research centre and sustainable energy pilot project in the district of Schöneberg. There, we cruise the streets of this former industrial park located in the heart of Berlin.

A four-door SUV coupe, the Concept EQ is a sophisticated machine. There is a monolithic quality to its all but seamless body, and its interior is functional: spacious, tidy and pleasantly airy. But, of course, this isn’t a Mercedes-AMG supercar. It’s not even a sports car. Rather, it’s a coming revolution on four wheels. It’s the Mercedes-Benz of the future.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ interior

With a maximum output of 408 hp the concept vehicle packs a real punch. The new models, Mercedes-Benz promises, will deliver plenty of power, with enhanced engine and battery capacities.

Smart moves

EQ is shorthand for “Electric Intelligence.” The vehicle features zero local emissions, but it evokes a thousand emotions. Touch-based controls open the doors. Cameras fill the roles of conventional side and rear-view mirrors, with displays to project the view in real time. While the cockpit still features accelerator and brake pedals along with a steering wheel, it is the intuitive controls and touch-sensitive elements on the central console that really matter here. The design is accented by light leather, ambient lighting and LED displays integrated into the front backrests.

The vehicle’s positive energy can be felt from the cockpit to the back seats. The signature electric seat adjustment – a Mercedes-Benz tradition – has been retained, as have conventional seatbelts. But otherwise, almost everything is new, at once sensuous, sensible and avant-garde. A wide-screen display almost appears to float in space.

As we drive, the vehicle’s two electric motors are barely audible. A quiet hum is all that can be heard. Despite this, the Concept EQ continues to turn heads. With its sleek design and electric aesthetic, this is a vehicle that stands out in a crowd. And yet it’s only a concept car – for now. But according to the developers and engineers behind the Concept EQ, its exterior design offers us a very clear picture of the future evolution of mobility.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ

The concept vehicle has a range of up to 500 km.

This new model series by Mercedes-Benz is expected to be available in Canada by 2020. Mercedes me will also roll out a host of new services to create a holistic ecosystem for the EQ brand. Combining data from different sensors will bring the vision of automated driving one step closer to reality in these Mercedes-Benz models.

Driving pleasure

The concept car wows users with a 408-hp electric motor, a maximum range of 500 kilometres and 70 kWh of battery capacity. Fully electric, fully integrated and fully reliable on the road. And the performance specifications promise endless driving pleasure – from 0 to 100 km/h in under five seconds. There’s much more power under the hood than you might think.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ

The new Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ fascinated onlookers Janine Kuhla and Michael Nakoinz (pictured), who were invited to take a test drive.

We continue to cruise around the old industrial park. Leaning back, we take a moment to imagine how all this might soon be everyday reality. Outside, the Concept EQ continues to command the attention of pedestrians. One young man, Michael Nakoinz, looks as if he might step forward and kiss the strikingly illuminated surface of the vehicle’s virtual grille. His rapturous response to our arrival has earned him First Prize: a ride in the Concept EQ.

I don’t believe it. That’s the future passing by!” Michael Nakoinz, pedestrian

“I don’t believe it. That’s the future passing by!” Nakoinz remarks to his girlfriend, Janine Kuhla, when the Concept EQ drives by them for the first time. He nudges her, grabs his mobile phone and photographs the vehicle – all in a single fluid motion. Then he is informed that today is his lucky day. With a gleeful smile, Nakoinz accepts his prize: a test drive. Beaming as they climb aboard, Nakoinz and Kuhla buckle up and cautiously pull away from the curb.

We catch up with them three rounds of the block later to find out how things went. “Those few minutes,” says Nakoinz, “were magical, simply unforgettable. I feel like the Captain Kirk of the 21st century. Honestly, I would love to drive one of these myself, or even just let the car drive me around. I want to own one – and as soon as possible.”

Cool for School
Read the next article

Cool for School

Ice tracks are no match for expert instruction at Canada’s AMG Winter Sporting program.