Mercedes EQE first drive: this is the best Mercedes EV to date

We’ve previously reviewed the EQS, Mercedes’ flagship all-electric luxury sedan, and came away impressed with its supreme comfort, excellent range and forward-looking technology.

Now the famous German brand is looking to replicate the experience in a slightly lighter, smaller, more agile and more affordable electric vehicle, the Mercedes EQE executive sedan.

We recently drove the EQE in Germany and here are our first impressions.

Mercedes EQE Specifications and Features

Two EQE models will be available in the US and Europe later this year: the EQE 350+ (RWD) and the EQE 500 4Matic (AWD).

While we don’t have exact information on pricing and trim levels yet, we do have some specs. Like the EQS, the EQE is built on Mercedes’ all-electric EVA platform. Both models have a 90.6 kWh (usable) battery with 10 modules (compared to 107.8 kWh and 12 modules on the EQS).

For the EQE 350+, Mercedes uses a single motor between the rear wheels, good for 288 hp (212 kW), 391 lb-ft (530 Nm) of torque and a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/ h) 6.2 seconds.

Angled view from the rear of the Mercedes EQE

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

The EQE 500 4Matic adds a second motor between the front wheels for a total output of 402 hp (300 kW, torque unknown), resulting in a 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint in 5.2 seconds . Range is 660 km / 410 miles (WLTP) and 350 miles (EPA estimate) for both models.

Additionally, a twin-motor AMG EQE 4Matic+ will be available in 2023 with the same 90.6 kWh battery pack and with more than 617 hp (453 kW) and 701 lb-ft (950 Nm) of torque. This version will be able to accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than 3.5 seconds.

As for charging, the EQE supports DC fast charging up to 170kW (10-80% in 32 minutes), as well as Level 2 AC charging up to 11kW (three-phase).

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The EQE comes with standard features including a central 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen, heated and ventilated seats, panoramic sunroof and a Burmester audio system.

Rear-wheel steering (up to 10 degrees), air suspension, Mercedes’ 56-inch Hyperscreen, head-up display, 360-degree view, matrix headlights, level 2 driver assistance, massaging seats, 4-zone climate control, and aromatherapy are all optional.

Close up of EQE front wheel and side

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

Mercedes EQE technology

As you’d expect, the EQE inherits most of the technology from the EQS. This includes self-parking, 360-degree view, LTE connectivity, WiFi hotspot support, OTA (over-the-air) software updates, phone-as-key functionality, remote phone control via “me Connect” app, wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Qi wireless phone charging, internet audio streaming and “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant.

The EQE comes standard with a 12.8-inch OLED infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch LCD. Mercedes’ dashboard covering the 56-inch Hyperscreen is optional, just like on the EQS.

It consists of three separate displays glued to a massive curved glass panel – a 12.3-inch instrument display for the driver, a 17.7-inch center touchscreen and a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the passenger.

Picture 1 of 2

Full-width dashboard view with Hyperscreen

To Hyperscreen… (Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)
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Dashboard full width view without Hyperscreen

…or not to Hyperscreen? (Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

While hugely impressive, the Hyperscreen is also somewhat imposing. In fact, we prefer the standard configuration with the 12.8-inch OLED infotainment touchscreen, as it doesn’t give up any functionality other than the additional passenger display, reduces visual clutter and makes the interior more pleasant. .

Whichever screen option you choose, you get haptic feedback and Mercedes’ AR (augmented reality) navigation.

Like the EQS, the EQE includes a comprehensive set of driver assistance and safety features as standard, plus an optional Level 2 ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) that nearly rivals Tesla’s Autopilot.

The Burmester audio system sounds delicious and the sensory experience is further enhanced by hundreds of LEDs that provide customizable and interactive interior mood lighting.

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Mercedes EQE design

At first glance, it is difficult to distinguish EQE from EQS. Both share the same awkward egg-shaped exterior and front proportions – or what Mercedes calls its “one-arch” design.

Still, somehow the EQE looks better than its big brother. The hood (hood) is less inclined, the greenhouse is more compact, and the rear part is shorter. Overall, the EQE is 10.4 inches (26.4 cm) smaller, but its wheelbase is only 3.6 inches (9.1 cm) shorter.

Compared to its ICE (internal combustion engine) cousin – the E-Class – the EQE is 3 inches longer inside with 1 inch more shoulder room. Instead of using a hatch (tailgate) like the EQS, the EQE’s boot (trunk) comes with a standard boot lid under a fixed rear window.

According to Mercedes, this improves rear headroom since there are no tailgate hinges taking up space above the rear passengers.

Rear view of the EQE with the truck lid open

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

While some EQE trim levels include the same flush, motorized, sliding door handles as the EQS, other trim levels have traditional door handles instead.

Like most EVs, the EQE is extremely spacious inside, with plenty of storage compartments and 15.1 cu. ft. (430 liters) of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Like its big brother, the EQE has no trunk (front trunk) – in fact, the bonnet doesn’t even open.

The interior of the EQE is almost unchanged from the EQS. It’s equally opulent and sophisticated, and we particularly like the white and blue interior (with copper accents) inside the gray EQE 350+ Edition One we drove.

It’s ‘kiss of the chef’ good! On the other hand, we’re less enamored with the EQE’s tall hood, which mirrors that of the EQS. It limits forward visibility and feels claustrophobic.

Angled view inside the cabin from the passenger window

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

Mercedes EQE driving impressions

We drove a gray EQE 350+ Edition One with 21-inch wheels, the central 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen and an AMG Line steering wheel, and a blue EQE 500 4Matic with 20-inch wheels and the ‘Hyperscreen.

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Both cars were equipped with rear wheel steering and air suspension. Our route took us over wet mountain roads, the unrestricted freeway and through city traffic, so we encountered a wide range of road conditions.

At 5,200 lb (2,358 kg), the EQE is about 400 lb (181 kg) lighter than the EQS, and the difference is noticeable. The EQE is noticeably more athletic and playful in the corners.

Like the EQS, the EQE offers four levels of regeneration – low, medium, high and automatic – adjustable with paddles on the steering wheel. We mostly kept the regen setting high and the drive mode set to Sport (mountain, Autobahn) or Comfort (city, Autobahn).

Close up of the EQE logo which is in front of the side mirror

(Image credit: TechRadar / Myriam Joire)

Surprisingly, the EQE does a better job than the EQS at mixing regen and hydraulic braking. While the EQE 500 4Matic is certainly punchier off-line, the EQE 350+ doesn’t feel like it takes an extra second to hit 60 mph.

In other words, the acceleration is lively and satisfying. As with most cars these days, the EQE’s steering isn’t the most communicative, but Sport mode does firm things up (along the dampers).

In typical Mercedes fashion, the EQE’s ride is superb. The comfort mode is extremely well tuned and, together with the quiet cabin, makes the EQE ideal for long distance cruising.

Overall, we enjoyed driving the EQE more than the EQS, especially when it came to handling and braking. The EQE simply provides a more engaging experience and once again proves that lighter and smaller is always better.

Considering how well sorted the EQE is already, we can’t wait to drive the AMG version. For now though, it’s clear that the EQE is Mercedes’ best electric vehicle yet and one of the best all-electric cars launched this year.

  • Do you prefer SUVs? Mercedes has you covered with the EQA and EQC.

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