Mercedes releases its fourth EQ EV and its first high-performance all-electric performance SUV.
Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius says that the luxury segment will spearhead the full-scale switch to electrification, and that is certainly true in the case of the just-released 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV and its high-performance AMG EQE SUV big brother. The EQE SUV is the EQ sub-brand's fourth all-electric model after the EQS and EQE sedans and the EQS SUV, and the entry-level version of the new arrival features a 288-horsepower, 417 lb-ft of torque permanently excited synchronous motor on the rear axle, while the opposite end of the scale sees the hottest AMG version, set to arrive as a 2024 model, produce up to 677 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque thanks to twice as many motors, which also provide all-wheel drive. Now you have the headline figures, let's go into a little more detail.
Three non-AMG variants are available, and each is powered by a 90.6-kWh battery that takes 9.5 hours to charge from 10-100% on a 240-volt/32-amp wallbox. On DC fast charging at a rate of 170 kW, 10-80% charge is recouped in 32 minutes.
The base EQE 350+ features the abovementioned 288-hp configuration, and it manages 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, while the mid-tier EQE 350 4MATIC gives away its advantage in its name - it's got AWD thanks to one electric motor on each axle, but as the "350" part of the name suggests, the powertrain still produces 288 ponies, albeit with more torque - 564 lb-ft of the stuff rather than 417. This drops just a tenth from the 0-60 time. All use a single-speed gearbox, as is common.
Before heading into AMG territory, the EQE 500 4MATIC also runs two motors, but its total output is 402 hp with a useful 633 lb-ft of torque. As a result, 0-60 mph is dealt with in 4.6 seconds. All three trims have a top speed of 130 mph.
There's only one Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV - the brand's first all-electric performance SUV - but you can have it with or without the AMG Dynamic Plus Package. Either way, you have a permanently excited synchronous motor on each axle once again, but now the AWD system has been retuned and renamed AMG Performance 4MATIC+. This means it's a fully-variable system, which is great when you consider that you have 617 hp and 701 lb-ft of torque without the abovementioned package, or 677 hp and 738 lb-ft with it.
In Slippery mode, you have 50% of output or around 308 hp. Comfort takes you to 80% (493 hp), and Sport gives you 90% (555 hp). In Sport+, you get the full 617 hp, but when you have the Dynamic Plus package and activate the Race Start launch control system, you get "110% output," or 677 hp.
Similarly, the 4MATIC-equipped EQE 350 boasts an unhyphenated "Offroad" mode for better grip. We'll wait to see how effective it is - things weren't looking too good a couple of months back.
Here, 0-60 mph is achieved in an estimated 3.4 seconds. No time has been given without it. As for top speed, you get 137 mph without the package and 149 mph with it. Comparatively, the most powerful BMW iX M60 does 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds but has a higher top speed of 155 mph. The Audi e-tron isn't even in the conversation with a top speed well south of 130 mph. As for the AMG's power storage system, the same battery with the same maximum DC charging capacity of 170 kW applies.
Optional Airmatic air suspension with continuously adjustable damping can increase body height by up to an inch, while 10-degree rear-axle steering (also an option) aids in high-speed stability and low-speed maneuverability.
On Europe's WLTP cycle, estimates of between 233 and 341 miles are given for the entire range. Expect those figures to drop significantly on the EPA's tests.
The new Mercedes EQ product...looks just like the last Mercedes EQ product. Far be it from us and our lack of artistry with a pencil to proffer suggestions on how to style the next new car to come out of Affalterbach, but it's going to be a challenge telling the EQS and EQE apart. While BMW has gone boldly where no design team ever should have, Mercedes EQ design is going nowhere. Even telling the AMG model apart is tricky without its lesser counterpart alongside it. On the one hand, safe and simple offends nobody, but on the other, it doesn't really get one's pulse racing either. At least a panoramic sunroof is standard.
The regular EQE has wheels varying in size from 19-21 inches, while the AMG gets unique 21- or 22-inch wheels. AMG-specific wheel arch cladding, grille, mirror caps, and diffuser help set the go-faster model apart. Mercedes has not revealed the exterior paint color options for either model yet, but don't expect anything too revolutionary.
Where you will find some amazing innovation is in the optional DIGITAL LIGHT technology, which can project auxiliary markings or warning symbols onto the road. It's like a head-up display, only better.
As for size, the EQE SUV measures 191.5 inches along its length, with a width of 76.4 inches and a height of 66.4 inches. The wheelbase is 119.3 inches, 3.5 inches shorter than the wheelbase of the EQE Sedan. As for weight, which may be different for US-spec models, the AMG tips the scales at 5,930 pounds, while the regular EQE SUV has no figure. Whatever it is, over 154 lbs of it is made proportionately from recycled and renewable materials, and the entire vehicle's production is carbon neutral from start to end.
And as restrained as the styling may be, space has been used well. 18.4 cubic feet of volume is available with the seats up, but if you move the backrests into the optional cargo position, you get 20 cu.ft. Fold the seats and you'll have around 59 cu.ft. with roof-high loading.
As standard, the interior boasts the latest MBUX infotainment system with a 12.8-inch central OLED touchscreen portrait display and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. A wireless smartphone charger and a Burmester 3D Sound System with Dolby Atmos are included too, along with 64-color ambient lighting, heated front seats with their own ambient lighting, and a fingerprint sensor to allow you to restrict performance when your teenager has the car or a valet is parking it.
Two soundscapes called Silver Waves and Vivid Flux are available initially, with Roaring Pulse and Serene Breeze available over the air.
On the instrument panel and armrest, Neotex fabric "combines the look of nubuck leather high-tech neoprene." Again, colors are not listed in full, but Mercedes says five combinations will be offered, one of which sees Sable Brown combined with Neva Grey and Biscaya Blue/Black. As for trims, a hybrid look mixes faux wood and aluminum, while another in an Anthracite 3D relief-look finish boasts fine metal pigments. Backlighting adds to the occasion.
The three-display Hyperscreen is optional and can be had with AMG-specific graphics and functions. Speaking of the AMG model, this gets special upholstery in MB-Tex with microfiber and red topstitching, but you can opt for Nappa leather if you prefer. The instrument panel and upper door cards are finished in Space Grey MB-Tex with more red stitching, while the center panels on the doors and the area in the center console below the instrument panel come in Black microfiber. The flat-bottomed steering wheel is an AMG Performance unit in Nappa leather with perforated grips and Silver aluminum paddles - for adjusting various recuperation levels. AMG sport pedals, floor mats, and illuminated sills complete the look. And of course, what would an AMG interior be without plenty of carbon fiber?
Unfortunately, pricing has not yet been revealed, but we do know that the non-AMG EQE SUV range is expected to arrive at US dealerships in 2023. When it does reach us, it will have more than just the iX and the e-tron SUV to contend with - the 2023 Polestar 3 has just been unveiled too, and although it's got less power and torque with only as much as 517 hp and 671 lb-ft, it's got a unique identity that is sure to turn heads and shake up the electric SUV segment.
The 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV is likely to arrive at the end of 2023 if not the start of 2024.