It’s unlikely to ever go into production but it sure can make us dream!
This week Mercedes-Benz unveiled its exciting EQC crossover prototype, with a beefy look that matches its impressive off-road capabilities.
The macho stance is thanks to two major modifications. The first, and certainly the most impactful, is the multi-link portal axle suspension. Unlike conventional axles, the wheels are not at the height of the axle centre, but are instead situated much lower down on the axle hubs owing to the portal gears. This raises the ground clearance to 293 millimetres and boosts the approach and departure angles to 31.8 degrees in the front and 33 in the rear, more than the stock G-class. The fording depth is 40 centimetres.
The second modification that gives this crossover its monster-truck appearance: the flared front and back fenders created to accommodate the larger 20-inch all-terrain wheels. Its capabilities include driving through sand in desert regions and on beaches, on rocky terrain and through mountain streams.
The new Off-Road drive mode uses what Mercedes calls “targeted brake interventions” to help the EQC even out its torque curve to improve traction when taking off on loose ground.
Another highlight of the EQC 4×4 Squared is the enhanced sound experience. Apart from the driver feedback sounds like system availability and parking sounds, the acoustic production gives an interactive, emotionalising driving sound influenced by things like the position of the accelerator pedal, speed or energy recovery rate while minimizing external noise.
The EQC 4×4 Squared also has a more powerful AVAS to alert pedestrians (and wildlife) of your approach, and the external speakers have been creatively housed in the headlamps – they’ve been dubbed “lampspeakers”.
It’s not clear whether the powertrain has been altered, but that is possibly because the standard version of the crossover features a powertrain mated to a 80 kWh battery pack that can produce 402 horses and 561 lb-ft of twist while easily exceeding 300km on a single charge. We suspect that some time off-roading may reduce that.
“Our aim is to combine modern luxury and sustainability with emotional appeal. To put it succinctly, electric, progressive luxury goes off-road,” says Markus Schäfer, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO.
The EQC 4×4 Squared is certainly evoking an emotional response – we’d love to see it traversing the South African landscape.