Daimler and its China partner BYD Automotive Industry have launched the new Denza 500 electric vehicle. The new EV is a major leap forwards in terms of design, as you can probably tell when comparing this against its predecessor, the Denza 400.

Engineered and produced in China for domestic use, the Denza 500 drops the old Mercedes-Benz B-Class-esque looks for sleeker styling, featuring “tiger eye” LED headlights, LED taillights and a new set of dual-tone alloy wheels. It looks the business, and has the toys and tech to match.

Inside, the cabin gets a larger nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system encased in a hexagonal frame. It features upgraded connectivity services with smartphone pairing function, and it works with the Denza smartphone application as well. Via the app, users can make use of their WeChat account and the GPS navigation system to quickly locate over 112,000 charging stations across the country.

For the driver, there’s a nice two-spoke steering wheel (much like that seen in the pre-facelift S-Class) with volume and cruise control buttons, behind which rests a full coloured digital instrument cluster. It displays battery charge level, EV range, GPS navigation as well as multimedia information. Down the centre tunnel is where you’ll find the start/stop button, Sport mode switch and electronic gear lever.

Now for the electrifying bit. Instead of the older 62 kWh battery pack, the Denza 500 is equipped with a more energy-dense 70 kWh pack. The car, which weighs less than before, can be had with 86 kW or 135 kW electric motors. The company says these improvements contribute to an extended electric range of around 500 km, and that the car was tested in a wide range of harsh conditions, including severe winter testing at temperatures of as low as –40 degrees Celsius.

As for pricing, Electrek reports that the Denza 500 will carry a base sticker price of 298,800 Yuan (RM185k) after incentives. The launch marks Daimler’s accelerating EV efforts in China to comply with the local ZEV mandate which starts next year.