The world’s oldest car maker calls its new EQE the “all-electric alternative to the world’s most loved business saloon, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.”
The sleek new sedan illustrates Benz’s headlong dive towards a purely electric future – the brand will have eight EVs on sale here by year’s end.
Higher prices aside, that’s no bad thing. Mercedes is churning out some exquisite EVs, this EQE included.
Sleek, striking, long-legged and brimming with luxury, tech and safety, this Benz ticks all the boxes.
The entry-level EQE 300 is about $142,000 drive-away, the EQE 350 $163,000 and mad dog AMG EQE 53 $242,000. The more powerful the model, the less range it has. The 300 claims 508km between charges, the 350 has 462km and the 53 has 435km.
No EQE model is cheap, but they are spectacular. Boldly aerodynamic, its slippery face, coupe-like body, disc wheels and flush doorhandles bring one of the lowest drag coefficients in auto history.
In the metal, the EQE’s lengthy wheelbase and sealed bonnet with strange shut lines take some getting used to. It lacks a Porsche Taycan’s or Audi e-tron GT’s visual clout, but micro mirrors in its LED headlamps produce 2.6 million illuminated pixels for ample razzmatazz.
Australian EQEs are “AMG Line” only, meaning sumptuous, expensive-looking cabins with 20-inch alloys, sporty heated leather seats, Nappa leather steering wheels and panoramic sunroofs.
A 12.8-inch centre screen can be unlocked with a fingerprint scanner, the satnav has an “augmented reality” display and there’s a 3D surround-sound audio unit.
The EQE 300 and 350 share specifications, so the latter’s $20,000 premium covers a second electric motor and the associated performance jump. It delivers 215kW and 765Nm, compared with the 300’s 180kW and 550Nm. The extra motor cuts the 0-100km/h time from 7.3 seconds to 6.3 seconds.
The ballistic EQE 53 comprehensively shades both. Its dual e-motors generate 460kW and 950Nm, lurching to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds. An AMG Dynamic Plus package (for an extra $7400) drops that time to 3.3 seconds, courtesy of 505kW and 1000Nm outputs.
This EQE 53 also adds black AMG styling, 21-inch alloys, Nappa leather, Alcantara, rear wheel steering and, importantly, air suspension.
Why important? Because the 53 has a more comfortable, settled and predictable ride than the 300 and 350 on their steel coil suspension.
Our test drive revealed the more everyman EQEs felt road imperfections more acutely and became more unsettled when confronted with mid-corner bumps.
The EQE’s hefty weight – about 2300kg – makes it difficult to deliver a plush, yet well controlled ride. Air suspension with adaptive damping ($3800) looks money well spent.
The rest of the drive is far more Merc-like: a lush, comfortable cabin, minimal sound intrusion and effortless progress at any speed.
The single motor EQE 300 is no speed demon but still has the punchy, instant electric torque of all EVs. So despite another motor on its front axle (making it all-wheel-drive), the 350 doesn’t move the performance game on much, certainly not enough to warrant an extra $20k spend.
The AMG 53, meanwhile, borders on deranged.
On wet Victorian roads, just half throttle brings supersonic acceleration and a jump in the heart-rate that resets your reality. The way this lardy four-door remains composed in corners also deeply impresses, all the while emitting (at the driver’s request) an angry, throaty cosmic noise.
The 300 and 350 have a menu of EV noises too, all through an audiovisual treat of dashboard screens. But they need serious study to work out. Navigating the abundant steering wheel buttons and operating everything, including the aircon, by prodding a screen proves a mission on the move.
While we’re being picky, the EQE’s braking feels unnatural when shifting between regenerative and mechanical force, the rear head room and visibility is compromised and the lack of a liftback boot limits cargo room to 430 litres. An equivalent E-Class has 540L.
Mercedes claims the EQE adds 250km driving range in 15 minutes using a DC fast charger, thanks to a 170kW charge rate.
Our test nearly matched the claimed energy consumption, meaning EQE 300 drivers can expect an assuring 500km between charges.
A likeable addition to Benz’s EV line-up, rich with cabin class and tech, although not as practical as an SUV.
PRICE: From about $145,000 to $230,000 drive-away
POWER: Single/twin electric motors, 180kW/550Nm to 460kW/950Nm
WARRANTY/SERVICE: 5-year, unl’td km, $2950 over five years
SAFETY: 10 airbags, front and rear auto emergency braking, active cruise control, lane-keep and blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic-sign assist
RANGE: 435 to 508km
LUGGAGE: 430 litres
SPARE: Repair kit