• Close enough to touch The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ.

    Magical minutes.

    This car heralds the coming of a new generation of vehicles: the Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ. And this new kid on the block is already turning heads, as we recently ­discovered in Berlin.

    Text: Jörg Heuer | Photos: Tim Adler/Daimler AG

An unforgettable experience.

A ride in the futuristic Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ is an unforgettable experience, inspiring the types of reaction you would normally asso­ciate with the roar of a brand-new Mercedes-AMG ­super-sports car.

Pedestrians stop dead in their tracks, mouths agape. Pointing and staring in wonder at the vehicle, they whip out their phones to get a shot. One young man looks as if he might step forward and kiss the strikingly illuminated surface of the vehicle’s virtual grille: Michael Nakoinz, 38, from the town of Peitz near Cottbus. His rapturous response to our appearance has earned him First Prize: a ride in the Concept EQ. But for now he remains blissfully unaware of his good fortune.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ in the streets of Berlin.
The interior of an Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ.

A coming revolution on four wheels.

Our maiden voyage in the Concept EQ takes us to the EUREF Campus in the district of Schöneberg, where we circle the old gasometer and cruise the streets of this former industrial park located in the heart of Berlin. A four-door SUV coupé, the­ Concept EQ is a sleek, sophisticated machine. There is a ­monolithic quality to its all but seamless body and its interior is functional: spacious, tidy, and pleasantly airy.

But of course this isn’t a Mercedes-AMG super-sports car. It’s not even a sports car. Rather, it’s a coming revolution on four wheels. It’s the Mercedes-Benz of the future.

Good energy, lots of emotion.

Good energy and lots of emotion Touch-based controls open the doors. Cameras fulfil the roles of conventional side and rear view mirrors, with displays to project the view in real time. While the cockpit still features gas and brake pedals along with a steering wheel, it is the intuitive controls and touch-sensitive elements on the central console that really matter here. The design: light leather, ambient lighting, and LED displays integrated into the front backrests.

The car’s good energy can be felt from the cockpit to the back seats. The signature electric seat adjustment – a Mercedes-Benz tradition – has been retained, as have conventional seatbelts. But otherwise, almost everything is new – at once sensuous, sensible and avant-garde. A wide-screen display almost appears to float in space.

As we cruise the streets around the old gaso­meter, the vehicle’s two electric motors are barely audible. A quiet hum is all that can be heard. Despite this, the Concept EQ continues to turn heads. With its sleek design and electric aesthetic, this is a car that stands out in a crowd. And yet it’s only a study – for now. But according to the developers and engineers behind the Concept EQ, its exterior design offers us a very clear picture of the future evolution of mobility.

Close enough to touch The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ.

Vision of automated driving.

EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence”. Zero local emissions. But a thousand emotions. And that’s just how it feels after travelling a few kilometres beneath the car’s vast panoramic rooftop.

This new model series by Mercedes-Benz is expected to be available from 2019. Mercedes me will also roll out a host of new services to create a holistic ecosystem for the EQ brand. Combining data from different sensors will bring the vision of automated driving one step closer to reality in these Mercedes-Benz models.

Endless driving pleasure.

The concept car wows users with up to 300 kW (408 hp) electric motor output, a maximum range of 500 kilometres, and 70 kWh of battery capacity. Fully electric, fully integrated, and fully reliable on the road. And the performance specifications promise endless driving pleasure – from 0 to 100 km/h in under five seconds. There’s more power under the hood than you might think.

We continue to cruise around the old gaso­meter. Leaning back, we take a moment to imagine how all this might soon be everyday reality. ­Outside, the Concept EQ continues to command the attention of pedestrians.

“I don’t believe it. That’s the future passing by.” Michael Nakoinz remarked to his girlfriend, Janine Kuhla, 37, when the Concept EQ glided past him for the first time. He nudged his girlfriend, grabbed his telephone, and photographed the car – all in a single fluid motion.

And today was to be his lucky day. With a gleeful smile, Nakoinz accepted his prize: a ride in the Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ. Beaming as they climb aboard, Nakoinz and his girlfriend buckle up and cautiously drive away
from the pavement.

Close enough to touch The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ.

Three rounds of the block.

We catch up with them three rounds of the block later to find out how things went. “Those few minutes,” says Michael Nakoinz, “were magical, simply unforgettable. I feel like the Captain Kirk of the twenty-first century. Honestly: I would love to drive one of these myself, or even just let the car drive me around. I want to own one – and as soon as possible.”