Quick reads – Mercedes-Benz EQC vs Audi e-tron 50 Quattro Advanced

While I am in the midst of a situation with the Audi dealer who sold me my e-tron I figured I’d see what the other brands have to offer. So today I test-drove the EQC. My observations are below:

  • The interior feels considerably more cramped vs the e-tron, though the materials are for the most part top-notch. The all-black interior colour scheme didn’t help alleviate the cramped feeling, though the sunroof was pretty nice
  • The seats are more firm than those in the e-tron, though the extending thigh support is great
  • Infotainment. Man…Mercedes has nailed the complex multi-layer system if that’s what they were after and not in a good way. Layer upon layer of menus and none of its overly intuitive. Props to “hey Mercedes” voice activation. Works much better than the woeful voice command in the e-tron. Something that bugged me pretty much straight away was that the steering wheel obscures part of the main infotainment screen. the HUD is great and offers much more functionality compared to the HUD in my e-tron. I couldn’t test Carplay since it only has the wired option and I was sans lightning cable. The wireless charger refused to charge my iPhone 12 Pro, coming up with an error every time I put it on the charging pad. Nice though that it still has a wireless phone charger though since many manufacturers are forced to delete hardware due to the ongoing chip shortage
  • Burmester sound system. What a disappointment. I had really high hopes and was left underwhelmed to say the least. Distortion, lack of punch, and an overall tinny sound didn’t compare favourably to the standard sound setup in my e-tron at all. And yes, I played around with the settings, all to no avail. Maybe it’s down to Bluetooth streaming, but even then, I expected better considering all the marketing spiel that goes into the system
  • Driving dynamics. The EQC is very quick off the line with plenty of power on tap. The steering response is sharp too. The ride quality though is inferior to the e-tron IMHO. My test drive route featured all the same roads I drive every day and was not overly impressed. Where the e-tron feels surefooted and composed the EQC feels fidgety and rushed. This could be down to the e-tron having 4-corner air suspension where the EQC only has self-levelling air suspension on the rear
  • Cabin noise/operation. The EQC cabin was noticeably noisier on the test drive compared to the e-tron. The control setup is also confusing with common controls taking a second glance (and I am not new to Mercedes-Benz at all) to locate. Audi has nailed the human-machine interface with the e-tron’s climate touch screen. The touchpad for interacting with the MBUX system reminds me of the awful system used by Lexus and you’d be better off just using the touch screen

So there you have it. Having owned a W211 E-class and C219 CLS in the past I was expecting a familiar quality in the EQC, but it felt very much like a hugely overpriced GLC. While the EQC has better range and comes loaded with features that are optional extras on the e-tron (looking at you, ambient lighting and premium audio) the e-tron is still the better car in my humble opinion.

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