These days, we’ve become used to receiving terse news releases from automakers teasing upcoming product launches, but the one we just received from Mercedes-Benz all but reaches the limits of brevity, with just two words accompanying this image: “Mystic Details.”
While we’re not sure what the word, mystic, references, the odds seem to favor the pic being a close-up of headlight and grille details on the new Mercedes-EQ C battery-electric vehicle that will make its debut on September 4th, the first in an all-new sub-brand the German automaker will be fleshing out over the next few years.
Roughly the size of today’s Mercedes-Benz GLC, the EQ C will be company’s first long-range all-electric model, essentially a competitor for the Tesla Model Y crossover that is still a few years away from production. It will be followed soon after by a production version of the Mercedes EQA Concept that was revealed in June.
(AMG electrifies. Expect to see Mercedes’ performance brand use battery power to boost performance. Click Here for more.)
Whether Mercedes might use the word, mystic, as part of its marketing strategy remains to be seen, but in a conversation with Dietmar Exler earlier this summer, the Mercedes-Benz USA chief suggested that consumers may be surprised to see how affordable the brand’s first long-range battery-electric vehicle will be.
Don’t worry, however, you’ll get to see a range of BEVs from Mercedes-EQ that will move up the price ladder, much like the company’s more conventional product line-up.
The teaser image clearly matches up with details we can glean from the heavily camouflaged EQ C Mercedes recently showed off during track testing near Zurich, Switzerland, as well as in various spy shots that have begun surfacing.
The most distinctive feature, clearly seen here, is the light bar that crosses the grille and then picks up above the headlights, before making a short J-curve. It’s unclear, however, if that’s a conventional LED strip or an even newer “light pipe” system.
The hood, meanwhile, appears to be heavily sculpted, flaring out from the inner corner of the headlight cluster towards the wheel arch.
(Mercedes previews new all-electric EQ line with test drive of Concept EQA. Click Here for more.)
What we know about the Mercedes-EQ C is that it will adopt a crossover body style quite close to that of the conventionally powered GLC – though it is about four inches longer, has a more coupe-like slope to the roof and a longer rear overhang.
The EQ C platform is unique, however, designed to mount batteries and the motor drive system below the load floor. As with the bigger – and decidedly more expensive Jaguar I-Pace, this approach will help minimize the impact of the added mass of the battery pack. In fact, it will almost certainly give the EQ C a lower center of gravity which, like the I-Pace, could translate into unexpectedly good handling.
Those who have been inside the EQ C suggest the packaging is relatively similar to the GLC, as well, in contrast to the I-Pace which makes use of some of the space no longer for a conventional engine compartment to deliver class-above cabin space. But the instrumentation is also said to be much more space-age-like. We’ll have to wait to see if the EQ C makes use of the cutting-edge MBUX infotainment system that debuted at CES last January and is coming to market first on the all-new Mercedes A-Class.
Recent reports indicate the EQ C will make about 402 horsepower, half from the front motor, half from the rear, with that able to get it to 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in about five seconds. Top speed is said to be somewhere at or under 200 kmh, or 125 mph.
More important, perhaps, Mercedes has been bragging that it will be able to deliver repeatable performance, unlike current Tesla models that can through you deep into your seat using optional Ludicrous Mode only a few times before battery power runs down and the drive system overheats.
Power comes from a 70-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack capable of around 250 miles range, though it is unclear if that is using the more forgiving European test cycle or the EPA test. Also unclear is whether the German maker will lift a page from the Tesla playbook and offer an optional, longer-range pack. So far, Tesla has only been building the Model 3 with a 75 kWh pack topping 300 miles of range, but it also plans to offer a base, 50 kWh pack delivering around 220 miles per charge.
What’s clear is that the Mercedes-EQ C will be the first big rock the automaker plans to throw at Tesla and, with other players getting into the long-range game, everyone from Hyundai to General Motors to BMW, Audi and Porsche, the California EV maker will be facing some real challenges in the coming year or two.
Look for the Mercedes-EQ C to reach showrooms sometime early next year as a 2020 model.
(Mercedes tooling up French plant to taken on Tesla Model 3. Click Here for the story.)