Three years after it’s first teased at the Frankfurt motor show, Mercedes-Benz has finally unveiled the marque’s first fully-electric compact car, the EQA. Interestingly, the actual production EQA takes the form of a crossover, even though the original concept was shown-off as a hatchback!

Said to provide an “excellent compromise between performance, costs and time to market”, the EQA is Mercedes-Benz’s first model in its charge towards electrification, which will see six EQ models to be launched by 2022.

Although it is based on the GLA, the Mercedes-Benz EQA features several significant styling differences to separate itself from its internal combustion-powered sibling. These include the signature ‘black panel’ EQ grille featuring an unbroken fibre optic light signature that joins the two headlights, as well as a reworked tailgate with a full-width tail light design.

The Mercedes-Benz EQA also features significant use of rose gold and blue accents in its design, most notably on the wheels, of which its designs are unique to the model, and are available up to 20-inch in size.

Changes to the interior are less apparent, with most of the functional and design features retained from the GLA counterpart – aside from the blue and rose gold details all around the cabin as well as the dual-screen set-up.

Speaking of screens, the EQA comes with a revamped MBUX system with specific displays and functions for its electric drivetrain. The most significant addition to the system is the ‘navigation with electric intelligence’ feature, which in addition to calculating the fastest route, uses range simulations to plan for any necessary charging stops, taking into account the topography, weather, traffic, and driving style.

The EQ-specific MBUX system can even pre-heat or cool the battery while driving to bring it to the ideal temperature for rapid charging. The heat generated from the electric system is also used to warm the cabin, improving the efficiency of the vehicle – though it’s basically useless in the Malaysian climate, if the car actually does make it over here.

Mercedes-Benz is only offering one variant of the EQA at launch, the EQA 250. It’s powered by a single electric powertrain (called eATS) on the front axle, generating 140 kW (188 hp) and 375 Nm of torque for a 0-100 km/h time of 8.9 seconds, onward to a top speed of 160 km/h.

While not a drag race champion by any means, the EQA does fare pretty well in every-day usage – on paper at least. Mercedes-Benz boasts a range of 486 km (NEDC) on the EQA – which is right up there with the other segment leaders – thanks to its double-decker 66.5 kWh lithium-ion battery and a drag-coefficient of 0.28 Cd.

Charging the battery from empty with a regular AC charger takes just under six hours, while with a DC fast charger, 0-80% takes just 30 minutes. The German carmaker also boasted about its Mercedes me Charge network as the current “world’s biggest charging network”, comprising of more than 450,000 AC and DC charging points across 31 countries.

Mercedes-Benz says that further derivatives of the fully-electric crossover will be introduced soon, including a long-range EQA with more than 500 km in range, alongside an all-wheel drive variant with an additional eATS system on the rear axle.

Pricing wise, the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 starts at GBP39,000 (~RM215K) over in the UK with the government EV grant included, which is about GBP10k (~RM55K) more than the regular internal combustion GLA.