2022 Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 review: Does the electrified GLB work?

Mercedes-Benz’s GLB is electrified into the EQB, but you’ll really want to want electric fun to bat for one in Singapore.
PHOTO: CarBuyer
  • Launched: September 2022
  • Price: $352,888 with VES and COE
  • Five-door, luxury midsize SUV, seven seats
  • 288hp, dual electric motors, 352km range, VES A1, 18.8kWh/100km

Pros:

  • More refined, good ride and range
  • Spacious and flexible for an EV
  • Dramatic, high-tech interior

Cons:

  • More weight means less fun to drive
  • Less space than regular GLB

2022 is the year of Mercedes-Benz's major electric wave in Singapore. While it's spearheaded by the EQS, the electric luxury limo, arguably it's best exemplified by this – the first electric seven-seat SUV, the EQB.

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What is it? The GLA SUV electrified = EQA. GLC SUV electrified = EQC. GLB electrified = you get the idea.*

The GLB is ubiquitous in Singapore now, you can hardly turn a corner without seeing one. The small/midsized SUV was a hit here thanks to keen pricing and the fact that it's the only lux SUV of its class to pack seven seats.

*Nevermind that the electric version of the E-Class sedan, not the GLE SUV, is the EQE.

As always, CarBuyer has a full explanation with our EQB launch story here in Singapore, and if you read that story, you'd know this car here is the EQB 350, currently the most powerful of the EQB models on sale here.

It has twin motors for electric all-wheel drive and a total of 288hp, so it's also the most expensive of the lot, with a price tag that matches the number in its name.

Design and appearance

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While the EQB 350 is available here only as an AMG Line version, it's not actually an AMG car the way the semi-hot Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is, for example, or the AMG EQS 53.

It's a slightly sportier version of what is still a regular Mercedes-Benz (sorry, Mercedes-EQ).

The AMG Line face is familiar to us now, from the AMG 35, and the EQB 350 also wears it, though the EQ-ness wins out here with that characteristic blacked-out, no-grille front end.

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There's of course the front and rear light bars, both Mercedes-EQ signatures too. 

You can option the AMG Line kit on the lesser EQB 250 (for the EQB 250 Progressive that's a $14,400 option), and that means you get the AMG styling, the sport seats, the sporty steering wheel, and all-important AMG floor mats.

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PHOTO: CarBuyer

What you don't get are the larger 20-inch AMG design wheels (the upgraded 250 makes do with 18-inch AMG wheels) and adaptive sport suspension. 

Interior and equipment

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Stepping into the EQB's cockpit offers little difference from the GLB. The digital domination of the front seats is obvious from the dual screens – both 10.25-inches, one a touchscreen.

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We've said much about the Mercedes human-machine interface in all our reviews – like the GLA and GLB, A-Class hatchback and saloon – but in short it's pretty to look at, has all the features you could want and then some, though it's sometimes confusing and throws up lots of reflections. 

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Like the EQA, the EQB has a unique lighting panel on the passenger's side of the dashboard, and that only serves to bolster the uniquely dramatic mood lighting of the car. If you like your gaming RGB, you'll be right at home here.

Both cars' boxy, tall stature, large windows, and high seating position translate into a proper SUV experience where you feel elevated, in command, and have an easier time of driving.

Space and practicality

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Luckily, the shift to electricity doesn't impinge a huge amount on the original success formula: Lots of space, flexibility, and seats for seven.

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The underfloor battery does reduce interior space a smidgen: It's most noticeable in the second row where – like the EQA – your knees sit higher than in the gasoline model.

But because the EQB has an adjustable second row, you don't mind as much.

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There's a little less room in the third row too, Mercedes says people of 1.65m stature will fit, compared to 1.68m on the GLB, but in both cars it's clear that an adult of 1.7-metres-ish will fit with a little stooping.

PHOTO: CarBuyer
PHOTO: CarBuyer

Driving experience

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Like the EQA/GLA divide, it's in the contrast to gas that you'll realise the benefits of electric power.

The GLB 200 isn't a bad drive, but the buzzy 1.33-litre turbo engine has never been the smoothest power plant around.

Compared that to the dual electric motors of the EQB 350 – both blend front- and all-wheel drive seamlessly as the car simply whirrs along.

On Singapore's rough tarmac, the 20-inch wheels don't ride that badly either. There's some stiffness, but overall the EQB is a step up from the GLB in refinement.

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No vibey engine, obviously, but there is some noise: Tyre roar from the big 20s, and because of the tall profile of the car, wind noise at higher speeds.

Like most EVs, the EQB 350 excels at the day-to-day stuff. It's relaxing to drive for long distances, and a single charge should easily get you more than 350km of range.

Our own drive, covering approximately 280km, saw us better the quoted efficiency with 18.1kWh/100km, which would deliver 370km per charge.

While the EQB 350 has 100hp more than the entry-level EQB 250, plus all-wheel drive via two motors, it isn't lightning quick, but it is capable of strong acceleration thanks to it 520Nm of torque.

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The 350 also has adaptive suspension, which the 250 lacks, and you can ramp it up to decent speed in Sport mode.

But like other EVs, it's very good at normal driving, but not so good at fast stuff because of the extra weight. At 2,175kg EQB 350 is more than 500kg heavier than the GLB 200 and it shows in extra wallow and understeer in Comfort mode.

Sport mode, with stiffer suspension, gives you a little more control, but it's still a heavy car that should not be pushed too far, dynamics wise. An AMG35 GLB it's certainly not.

Competitors and conclusion

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As an electrified GLB, the EQB works. It preserves everything good about the GLB without tremendous compromise, so the competition is primarily from the gasoline version(s) itself.

But in single model terms, it's harder to justify the 350 when you do the sums.

The EQB 250 Progressive ($292,888 with COE) can do the same for a lot less cash, and if you're not fussy about emissions or going fast, so can the entry-entry-level GLB 180 ($244,888 with COE) for even less.

Here’s the non AMG Line model, the EQB Electric Art variant.
PHOTO: Mercedes

If you must have the AMG flavour, the GLB 250 AMG Line ($322,888) or you can add the AMG Line kit to the EQB 250 as mentioned above.

But if that's the case we'd recommend just going for the properly aggro and fun to drive GLB 35 AMG, which at $342,888 with COE, is still cheaper than the EQB 350.

Certainly the EQB 350 will be cheaper to run, and the other obvious thing is that the AMG is loud, proud, and farts like hell, but is all the more funny for it.

The EQB 350, for now and for what it's worth, is the quickest, cleanest version of Merc's less expensive lux seven-seat experience.

Mercedes-EQ EQB 350 4Matic AMG Line

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Drivetrain type Full electric
Electric motor / layout Dual / Front – Rear
Motor power / torque  288hp / 520Nm
Battery type /net capacity  Lithium ion, 66.5kWh
Normal charge type / time 11kW AC / 6h 25min 
Max fast charge type / time 100kW DC / 32 mins 10 to 80 percent
Electric range* 419km WLTP / 353km local spec
0-100km/h 6.2 seconds
Top speed 160km/h
Efficiency* 18.8 kWh/100km
VES band A1/ -$25,000
Agent Mercedes-Benz Singapore
Price $352,888 with COE and VES
Availability Now
Verdict Lux seven-seat SUV delivers clean fun but comes at a cost

This article was first published in CarBuyer.