The German auto motor und sport magazine conducted a comparison test of the new Mercedes EQB vs. its direct rivals, BMW iX1 and Audi Q4 e-tron. Here’s their conclusion.
Photo: Auto motor und sport
All three models participated in the test in their most powerful versions with two-motors and electric all-wheel drive: the Mercedes EQB 350 4Matic (215 kW), the BMW iX1 xDrive30 (230 kW), and the Audi Q4 50 e-tron quattro (220 kW). Our colleagues at auto motor und sport magazine wanted to find out which platform concept is better – the dedicated electric platform like Audi’s MEB or the conventional platform adapted for electric propulsion like those from Mercedes and BMW.
Audi is the most spacious and has the longest range
The dedicated electric platform gives Audi a space advantage. Because there is no option of a thermal engine under the front hood as there is in the other two that have electric and thermal propulsion, the front end is compact, and more of the car’s length has been used for interior space.
Audi has the largest interior, and the third passenger sits comfortably in the back as there is no center tunnel. The Q4 e-tron also has the biggest boot.
Although it takes VW’s MEB platform with ergonomics critics, Audi comes with better solutions. Compared to the ID.3, the climate control block is separate and has its screen, and the instrument cluster is larger.
The Audi Q4 50 e-tron has a 150 kW permanent magnet synchronous motor in the rear and an 80 kW permanent magnet asynchronous motor in the front that operates intermittently only when more power or traction is needed. The Q4 recovers power in three stages via the rear motor. It had the longest range in the test of 327 km (203 miles), but this wasn’t due to lower fuel consumption (24.4 kWh/100 km compared to 23.6 kWh/100 km in the BMW and 25.9 kWh/100 km in the Mercedes) but due to the larger battery of 77 kWh compared to 64.7 kW in the BMW and 66.5 kW in the Mercedes.
The larger battery in Audi contributes 500 kg to the car’s significant weight. At low and medium speeds, the Audi is lively and safe in corners thanks to its progressive variable-ratio steering. But at higher speeds, it starts to understeer, and the ESP reacts early, slowing the car and affecting driving pleasure. In contrast, the Q4 responds well to short bumps, absorbs long bumps without too much roll, and keeps the body under control.
With rear drum brakes, the Audi has the longest braking distances, and the brake pedal’s proportioning is non-linear.
BMW is the most fun to drive, but the Mercedes is the most refined
By comparison, the BMW iX1 consumes less energy by having current-excited motors that are more economical and react more spontaneously to the press of the accelerator pedal. Unlike the Audi, the ESP system intervenes more evenly and later, giving the driver more freedom.
The BMW iX1 drives more pleasantly because the standard M adaptive suspension is more firmly tuned, and the steering is responsive and precise, but feedback is only average. In contrast, the firmer suspension dampens bumps more harshly, and the BMW isn’t as roomy as Audi or Mercedes.
With the OS8 operating system, BMW’s interior is modern, but you’re distracted by the fact that climate controls have been included on the touchscreen. On the other hand, no one can complain the configuration of the instrument cluster, because BMW offers as many options as Mercedes: eight different layouts combined with six drive modes and ambiance.
With a 66.5 kWh battery, Mercedes has achieved a range of only 285 km/177 miles (327 km/203 miles for Audi and 296 km/184 miles for BMW), but it drives most comfortably and harmoniously. Its steering reacts precisely, without fuss, provides reliable, never intrusive feedback, and steers the 2.1-ton car smoothly and safely through corners.
The Mercedes EQB also has the advantage of a 14 cm sliding rear bench and the option of two additional seats where people up to 1.65 meters tall can sit. It also offers the best brake pedal control but not the shortest braking distance.
Instead, like the Audi, the Mercedes is more expensive than the BMW. The Audi Q4 50 e-tron quatro costs 57,900 euro ($61,374), the Mercedes EQB 350 4Matic 58,197 euro ($61,646) and the BMW iX1 xDrive 55,000 euro ($58,300). At this point, Audi has upgraded the Q4 e-tron, and the top version is now called the 55 e-tron quatro instead of 50 e-tron quattro and develops 250 kW compared to 220 kW before.
The final result was very close: BMW won with 630 points, followed by Audi with 616 points and Mercedes with 613 points.
You can find here the whole article.