Who wants to buy a premium electric SUV can choose between Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes EQC. We managed to put all three premium SUVs face to face for the most awaited test of the year in the electrical field. Comparison test between Mercedes EQC vs Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron.
Photo credit: Adrian Cobzașu
Who wants a luxury electric SUV must focus on the three premium models that meet in our test: Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQC. All three have a lot of things in common: power around 400 hp, all-wheel drive and high-capacity battery mounted between the axles.
But there are also differences between them and the most important are the differences in size. At 4.90 meters, the Audi e-tron is a big-class SUV being closer to the Audi Q7 than to the Audi Q5, the Mercedes-Benz EQC has the format of the GLC, being a middle class premium SUV while the body of the I-Pace is completely different from any other Jaguar model having the proportions of an electric car with a short front.
Range and charging
Range and charging methods are the most important things in an electric car and that’s why we want to see in detail what each model offers in this regard.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC has the smallest battery, 80 kWh, while the Audi e-tron has an output of 95 kWh, and the Jaguar I-Pace one of 90 kWh. But the real range is not directly proportional to the battery capacity.
Surprisingly, the Mercedes-Benz EQC achieved the highest average range, 335 km, and managed the longest distance on the national road (372 km) and on the highway (288 km).
In the city, the Jaguar managed to obtain the highest range (388 km) , although we expected the British model to be the longest-lived on the highway given its aerodynamics. Many times, however, appearances are misleading because the best aerodynamic coefficient is Audi’s (0.299) followed by that of the Jaguar and that of the Mercedes-Benz, both with 0.325.
A possible explanation for the very good range of Mercedes-Benz EQC is the fact that the rear electric motor does not work at low and medium loads and the EQC has a number of innovations to reduce energy consumption. Thus, in addition to the Eco mode, there is also a Maximum Range mode that maximizes range. The driver can adjust a speed limit and when he depresses the accelerator pedal, when the preset maximum speed is reached, a pressure point on the accelerator pedal stroke instructs him not to press the accelerator further, so as not to exceed the preset speed limit.
Then, the EQC has an intelligent navigation system that allows you to plan a longer trip taking into account the weather, the slopes and ramps and the charging stations on the route. Last but not least, intelligent navigation, using radar data, sends you acoustic signals to take your foot off the accelerator when a slope or a roundabout approaches. This explains the EQC’s low power consumption of only 27 kWh /100 km compared to 30.3 kWh/100 km for the Jaguar and 33.33 kWh/100 km for the Audi.
Everything perfect at Mercedes-Benz? Not quite, because the weight is too big, 2,584 kg, 674 kg more than the Mercedes GLC 220 d 4Matic. The Audi is also very heavy, weighing 2,665 kg, but, paradoxically, at Audi there are mitigating circumstances, because the e-tron is bigger and has 15 kWh more energy in the battery. The Audi also tries to save energy, because at low and medium loads, only the 190 hp rear engine (224 hp with overboost) works. And the overboost function only becomes active when you suddenly press the accelerator.
The lightest is the Jaguar, with only 2,331 kg due to the aluminum construction. All three models have braking energy recovery systems. At Audi and Mercedes-Benz, the degree of recovery is adjusted from the paddles behind the steering wheel, which do not have the role of changing gears, but of increasing or decreasing the degree of recovery in 4 steps from D + to D–.
There are only two degrees of recovery for the Jaguar, High and Low, but on High mode, our impression was that the I-Pace brakes more vigorously than the other two models on D – -.
The Audi has the best charging system. The E-tron can be charged at direct current (DC) stations with up to 150 kW and, at 22 kW alternating current (AC) stations, it can draw 11 kWh standard and optional (1,514.87 euros) even 22 kWh. So, the Audi has clear advantages at both DC stations and AC stations.
At the Tesla superchargers (120 kWh), the Audi e-tron charges quicker than the Mercedes EQC or the Jaguar I-Pace and where there are no DC stations, the Audi performs better at the AC stations.
The Mercedes-Benz can charge at DC stations up to 110 kW, but at the AC ones, only pulls 7.6 kWh, which makes it vulnerable in areas where there are no fast DC stations.
The Jaguar has the same problem, charging slowly at alternating current with only 7.6 kWh. Instead, up to 100 kWh can be charged at direct current.
Body and interior
The Audi e-tron uses a modified MLB Evo platform that is the basis of the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg and therefore has the proportions of a classic car. The interior space in the rear is the largest in the test for both head and legs, and is also the widest.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is built on a platform derived from that of the GLC, with exactly the same wheelbase as the GLC and the same axles. And the interior space corresponds to a middle-class SUV being slightly smaller in the rear than the Jaguar.
I-Pace uses a platform dedicated exclusively to electric propulsion, having a short front and thus resulting in a very large wheelbase, almost 3 meters, at a length 22 cm shorter than the e-tron.
Jaguar and Audi also offer the best visibility while Mercedes-Benz suffers from left-right side visibility.
At the rear, the Jaguar offers more space than the Mercedes-Benz but less than the Audi while the interior height at the rear is similar to that of the EQC although the British model is the shortest in the test. In fact, I-Pace does not look like an SUV but rather like a crossover, especially since the ground clearance, 142 mm, competes with that of a car. However, with the adaptive air suspension, the ground clearance can be raised to 230 mm if necessary. Jaguar also has a smaller trunk than its rivals, but the loading edge is at the lowest level.
The ergonomics of the Mercedes EQC is a mix between the GLC facelift center console, with the same climate controls, and the infotainment system and interlocking displays for on-board digital indicators and the infotainment system carried over from other Mercedes-Benz models (due to the dashboard architecture, the GLC facelift does not have interlocking screens like the GLE or the E-Class), which are offered as standard along with the MBUX infotainment system and touchpad.
And the two rectangular vents are different from the three round vents in the GLC facelift. The EQC offers a lot of quality and fine materials on the inside because the test car featured the Edition 1886 special series equipment, that comes with a dashboard upholstered in gray leather, blue leather on the door faces and rose-gold vents, plus Burmester audio system (the special edition 1886 is not available anymore and for this reason, in the comparison chart, the standard variant appears).
The generous touchpad is elegant, but it is not practical. Anyway, the infotainment system can also be controlled by touch, by voice or via the mini touchpads on the steering wheel, which are very intuitive and easy to handle. Otherwise, the ergonomics are typically Mercedes-Benz with electric adjustments for seats mounted on the doors and the primary controls of air conditioning by physical buttons. However, some will criticize the USB-C plugs, the only type available for the EQC.
Audi e-tron looks even more high-tech inside with the three touch displays and the gearshift similar to a luxury yacht. Very elegant and well organized is the display with haptic feedback for adjusting the air conditioning and seat heating.
In the Advanced equipment, which is a standard equipment and not a special one, the Audi offers the best perception of quality, being in tune with the traditional Audi quality. Everything is perfectly combined down to the last detail.
The high-tech atmosphere is also maintained by the cameras that took the place of the conventional mirrors. But they cost an extra 1,744 euros, and the screens on which the images are displayed are placed on the sides of the doors too sideways. And the cars in the pictures appear closer than they actually are, which is why the e-tron is not too easy to handle in tight spaces.
The Jaguar I-Pace has a unique interior that you will not find in any other model of the British company. And the luxuriant equipment that Jaguar has accustomed us with means that, with the SE test equipment, you have nothing to check off the list of options, because almost everything that costs many thousands of euros in the competitors, is here as standard, from the assistance systems to the top audio system, infotainment system or 20-inch wheels.
The leather-trimmed dashboard is gorgeous as is the futuristic center console with the original P, R, N and D button which replaced the classic gearshift. And the climate controls are special because the temperature control knob has several functions. If you pull it, you enter the seat ventilation menu, and if you press it you enter the seat heating menu. And just like in the Audi, you have three displays, one for the digital dashboards, one for the multimedia system and one for the air conditioning. Not everything is perfect, because in the less visible areas, there are some lower quality plastics, but they do not spoil the very good overall impression.
Dynamics and comfort
Three cars represent two completely different species.
The Jaguar I-Pace is the athlete of this trio, being the most pleasant and exciting to drive. Easier by more than 300 kg compared to the Audi e-tron and 250 kg compared to the Mercedes EQC, the Jag’s steering wheel does not sense the high weight and inertia in fast corners. The center of gravity is lower than that of the rivals, because the ground clearance is lower and the total height is lower, and with the adaptive air suspension on board (1,607 euros), the body roll in the Dynamic mode is reduced. The I-Pace leans slightly in corners, the steering responds superbly to double lane changes and, all the time, you feel the urge to accelerate more and more, because the car induces a great feeling of safety.
The Audi e-tron also behaves remarkably, considering the very large weight, of 2,665 kg. It supports an even higher lateral acceleration than the I-Pace, of 0.97 g, compared to 0.94 g and is very neutral at the limit. When at the limit, you feel very high inertia, but the very good grip and progressive intervention of the ESP ensures the maintenance on the ideal route.
The adaptive air suspension limits the roll and the e-tron drives very agile for its weight. The steering is a bit artificial, but in the Sport mode, it gets stronger and has more consistency. An extra note at Audi for the excellent electro-hydraulic brakes (optional yellow-colored calipers are offered as those of the test car, 453.39 euros) that stop the huge liner shorter than in the case of the Jaguar or the Mercedes-Benz.
The EQC is the softest of the three. Mercedes-Benz wanted to maintain the basic quality of the brand, namely high-class driving comfort. The EQC runs as smoothly and comfortably as the e-tron, while the I-Pace is set slightly stiffer. But without the adaptive or pneumatic suspension from the GLC, which cannot be ordered even optionally, the EQC tilts more in corners, supports a lower lateral acceleration of only 0.89 g and in corners, you feel high inertia, as in the Audi e-tron, and the steering is quite soft.
In addition, the ESP system reacts quite intrusively, safety being at the forefront. All three models have double glazing, but the biggest silence is in the e-tron followed by EQC and I-Pace. Regarding longitudinal dynamics, the Jaguar is the fastest, the British model having accelerations and fulminant rounds, possible also due to the lower weight. But the differences from the other two models are small and all three offer superior dynamics to a diesel, being at the level of conventional sports versions.
The Jaguar is the most expensive, because it also has the highest standard. If we compare the same equipment level, the Jaguar I-Pace is cheaper at the end than Audi e-tron.
Audi is also very expensive at base price and the basic equipment is at a relatively low level for the expectations of this luxury class. In the end, the Audi is the most expensive car and the German carmaker justifies the price with the luxury class SUV format. For some months, Audi also offers a cheaper version with a low capacity battery and a smaller engine.
The Mercedes-Benz is the cheapest and the price difference is maintained even after we add the equivalent options. The Mercedes EQC comes with free inspections for 150,000 km.
But the unpleasant surprise is the cost of use in case of all three models. Due to the tariffs imposed, for example, the cost per 100 km is higher than for an equivalent diesel on an extra-urban route. 0.50 euro for 1 kWh in Europe at high speed DC stations is a high cost and we reach at around 15 euro/100 km.
On an extra urban route, a Mercedes GLC 220d 4Matic has a consumption of 7 l/100km, which means 10 euro/100 km.
The electric age also began in the luxury SUV segment. Jaguar took the biggest risk and built a model dedicated exclusively to electric propulsion that proves that it can offer a lot of driving pleasure even if there is no heat engine under the hood. We expected the Jaguar to have the lowest consumption, but the most efficient was Mercedes, although it is much heavier than Jaguar. Audi and Mercedes focus on driving comfort, but the larger table is a hard-to-beat enemy.
Jaguar I-Pace EV400
Built on a specially dedicated platform, it is the lightest, fastest and most sporty and exciting to drive. It offers a lot of space related to its length. Energy consumption is decent and reasonably priced, if we consider that the standard equipment has much more features than that of its rivals. The smaller trunk and slower charging at the AC are among the disadvantages.
Audi e-tron 55 Quattro
A luxury SUV with top manufacturing quality, typical for Audi, very comfortable and silent. It has the best options for charging, both at DC or AC stations. However, the large weight penalizes consumption and implicitly the range despite the fact that it has the largest battery. It is also very expensive.
Mercedes EQC 400 4Matic
A real Mercedes-Benz in terms of driving comfort, although it does not have an adaptive/pneumatic suspension. It consumes the least and has the greatest range with the smallest battery. It leans a lot in corners and does not have the agility of its competitors. Relatively expensive at a price compared to the size.
|Model||e-tron 55 Quattro Advanced||I-Pace EV400 AWD SE||EQC400 4Matic|
|Engine||2 electric, asincron||2 electric, asincron||2 electric, asincron|
|Max. output (CP)||170 (184)/190 (224)||200/200||408|
|Max. torque (Nm)||247 (309)/314 (355)||348/348||765|
|Gearbox||reductor, 1 gear||reductor, 1 gear||reductor, 1 gear|
|Tyres||Goodyear Eagle F1||Goodyear SUV||Pirelli Scorpion Verde|
|Tyres dimensions||265/45 R21 108H||245/50 R20 105V||235/50 R20 100W - 255/45 R20 101W|
|Boot volume (l)||600-1.725||505-1.163||500-1.460|
|Ground clearance (mm)||222||142||nc|
|Accelerations 0-100 km/h (s)||5,7||4,8||5,1|
|Top speed (km/h)||200||200||180|
|Energy consumption (kWh/100 km)||22,9||22||22,5|
|Battery capacity (kWh)||95||90||80|
|Range WLTP (km)||412||415||414|
|0-60 km/h (s)||2,9||2,5||2,3|
|0-100 km/h (s)||5,4||4,6||4,8|
|0-130 km/h (s)||8,3||7,4||8,1|
|0-150 km/h (s)||11,3||10,8||11,3|
|400 m from standstill (s)||13,8||13,2||13,4|
|1 km from standstill (s)||25,6||24,7||25,7|
|70-90 km/h (s)||1,8||1,6||2,1|
|70-120 km/h (s)||4,3||4,1||4,9|
|Brake from 100 km/h|
|From 100 km/h without load, cold (m)||40,7||41,7||43,9|
|City/national road/highway (kWh/100 km)||31,25/28,57/40,0||24,39/27,02/40,0||25,64/24,39/31,25|
|Test consumption (kWh/100 km)||33,33||30,3||27,02|
|Range city/national road/highway (km)||301/333/239||388/354/241||354/372/288|
|Mixt range (km)||287||317||335|
|Kerbweight measured (kg)||2.665||2.331||2.584|
|Weight distribution (%)||50-50||53-47||48-52|
|At 50 km/h (dBA)||51,7||56,6||53,9|
|At maximum acceleration||65,4||68,9||66,1|
|PRICES/EQUIPMENT (euro with VAT)|
|Climatisation 2/4 zones||serie/800||serie/990||serie/-|
|Cruise control/adaptive||serie/2.040||-/ 816 (1)||serie/2.296 (2)|
|Lane assist/Death angle assistant||400/600||serie/serie||(2/(2)|
|Rear view camera /360 grade camera||470/1.150||serie/(1)||serie/547 (3)|
|Park sensors rear||serie||serie||serie|
|Electrical adjustments front seats||1.250||serie||1.309|
|Heated front seats||380||388||387|
|Light alloy wheels 19/20/21 inch||serie/serie/1.050||-/serie/-||serie/952/2.261|
|Full LED Headlamps||serie||serie||serie|
|Charging 7,6/11/22 kWh||-/serie/||serie/-/-||serie/-/-|
|Equivalent price (euro with VAT)||93.740||91.756||81.556|
|(1) Assistant package; (2) Assistance package; (3) included in the park package|