This is the first electric model, and the third overall to be inducted into the 4x4² series

Not too long ago, the Mercedes G-Class 4x4² was spotted undergoing high-altitude testing in the Alps, thus confirming the return of the alter-ego version of the luxurious off-roader.

While we were expecting to hear more about it, Mercedes decided to divert our attention from it by introducing a 4×4² concept version of its all-electric SUV, the EQC. To put it simply the EQC 4×4² is the off-road version of the standard EQC. Do we need something like this at a time when Mercedes is still trying to find its feet in the electric segment?

What’s Special About The EQC 4×4²?

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² Exterior
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Obviously, the EQC 4×4² is based on the standard EQC. The German automaker has tweaked it so it can be taken off the road. There are quite a few things that differentiate it from the standard EQC. For starters, the 4×4² rides on 20-inch wheels wrapped in 285/50 section tires. The wider wheel arches increase the width of the SUV by 3.9 inches. Despite the large wheels and tires and the wider stance, the automaker says that the 4×4² has a small turning radius, thanks to the modern axle kinematics with a four-link front axle. To add to the rugged look, the SUV is wrapped in a matte metallic gunmetal grey car film and the wheel arch flares are finished in black.

The Angles Are Significantly Improved Over The Standard EQC

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² Exterior
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Talking about the specs, the EQC 4×4² has an approach angle of 31.8 degrees, a departure angle of 33 degrees, a breakover angle of 24.2 degrees, and a fording depth of up to 15.7 inches.

This is significantly more than the standard EQC’s numbers, which has an approach angle of 20.6 degrees, a departure angle of 20 degrees, a breakover angle of 11.6 degrees, and a fording depth of up to 9.8 inches. The spec that intrigued me the most, however, was the improved ground clearance. The EQC comes with a ground clearance of 5.5 inches (140 mm), but the EQC 4×4² rides more than twice as high than its stock counterpart, with a rating of 11.5 inches (293 mm).

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² Exterior
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The automaker has also equipped the EQC 4×4² with portal axles.

Unlike the conventional setup, the axle doesn’t drive the wheels directly here. A small gearbox of sorts is attached at the end of each wheel that moves the wheels without the loss of power as the gear ratios remain close to the factory configuration. This helps you capitalize on all the power available at your disposal to move the vehicle effortlessly.

Thanks to this, you are benefited with extra ground clearance without worrying about the obstacles hitting and damaging the differential. This is the understanding in the case of an internal combustion-engined vehicle, but it gives you a gist of how portal axles work and you can expect a similar mechanism in EVs as well. This, however, would’ve perhaps been quite different if the EQC came equipped with in-wheel electric hub motors.

It Sounds Sweet, Too

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² Exterior
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Mercedes has paid special attention to the acoustics of this silent beast. The standard EQC comes equipped with an external noise generator (Acoustic Vehicle Alert System) as required by law to reproduce the sounds for others on the road. The 4×4² has a more powerful version that’s specially composed for it and it makes use of the headlamps as the external speakers for this purpose, which is called “lampspeaker” by the automaker.

What They Had To Say

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² Exterior
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The company’s COO, Markus Schäfer, said, "Our aim is to combine modern luxury and sustainability with emotional appeal. The EQC 4x4² shows how enjoyable sustainable mobility can be. This is where electromobility high-tech and an intriguing customer experience are transferred to the mountains, thanks to MBUX and over-the-air updates. To put it succinctly, electric, progressive luxury goes offroad."

Final Thoughts

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² Exterior
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In all honesty, it doesn’t look the part considering how sophisticated (and dare I say, a bit boring) the EQC looks, but it is still a big step for the automaker as it paves the way for electric off-roaders in the future.

This could be the test rat for Mercedes at the moment to see how people perceive rugged electric SUVs with a star emblem on the grille. If the general response is positive, does it mean we could see the G-Class getting electrified in the near future? Share your thoughts about the EQC 4×4² with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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