It won’t be an exaggeration if we say that Mercedes-Benz has a love affair with portal axles. It probably started with the G500 4x42 before the brilliant E-Class All-Terrain 4x42 debuted in 2017. Just a few weeks ago, the Stuttgart-based automaker reinvented the idea for the new era of mobility with the EQC 4x42.
Only a concept at this point, the high-riding zero-emission SUV is finally making its first appearance on camera. A new promotional video features the prototype performing off-road manoeuvres and pulling wakeboard world champion Sanne Meijer. With the clip, Mercedes asks a fundamental question - “who says electric cars and action-loaded driving don’t go together?” The answer is simple: “that’s in the past.”
Gallery: Mercedes EQC 4x4² concept
And if you are still on the fence about whether electric vehicles can do proper off-roading, the rugged EQC will surely convenience you. It gets portal axles and a lifted suspension that raises the ride height from the standard 140 mm (5.5 inches) to 293 mm (11.5 inches) - a whole 23 mm (nearly one inch) higher than the G-Class. Not only that, but the switch to portal axles also brings a massive increase of the fording depth by 150 mm (5.9 inches) to 400 mm (15.7 inches).
Those chunky off-road tyres you see in action in the video are actually 20-inch wheels wrapped in 285/50 R20 rubber. With all those mechanical upgrades, we’ll forgive the one-off EQC for looking a lot like a Kia Sportage at the back.
Needless to say, unfortunately, Mercedes has no plans to bring that concept into production. Maybe a less hardcore, off-road-oriented version of the EQC is a possibility in the future but it’ll be nowhere near the EQC 4x42's outlandish off-road capabilities.