It's potent, but the design and styling will split opinions.
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE is the closest thing you can get to an electric E63 - but you wouldn't know by looking at it. When this car arrived at our doorstep, we almost didn't notice it was the AMG model, thinking it was one of the regular EQE variants. The AMG EQE is unique in that unlike most recent models from Affalterbach, it doesn't shout to the world about its AMG designation and demand attention.
That's not to say that AMG hasn't instilled its expected lunacy into the EQE. The car produces nearly 700 horsepower with launch control, customers can opt for six-piston carbon ceramic brakes, and despite it being electric, it makes some of the most hysterical noises you could imagine. Is it a direct replacement for an E63? Absolutely not. But in a budding segment of luxury electric sedans, there are plenty of reasons to consider the EQE, especially this wildly brisk AMG model. After spending a week in the 2023 AMG EQE, we found a lot to love - but also a lot to question.
When spending over $105k on a luxury vehicle, many rational elements of a car purchase get thrown out the window, and style and desirability take a higher priority. What good is it spending all that money if people in the econobox behind you aren't jealous, right? In this, the AMG EQE fails to deliver.
Much like the larger EQS, the EQE's design is dictated by aerodynamics, resulting in an egg-like shape that slips through the air but struggles to make its way into our hearts. Perhaps a color other than black might attract more stares, but we felt completely anonymous, despite driving around in a brand-new AMG car. It just doesn't convey an AMG impression.
Still, AMG tried its best to dial up the flare of the EQE with larger 21-inch wheels, a digital interpretation of the Panamericana grille, and even a sizable spoiler on the back, but none of these changes seem to make up for the fact that the shape isn't sexy. We get that Mercedes wanted the car to be aerodynamically efficient for improved range, but when that engineering then gets offset by massive wheels with thick tires (and more power), the decision-making seems questionable.
One area where the AMG EQE does not struggle is in the power department. Dual electric motors deliver 617 horsepower and 701 lb-ft in Sport+ Mode, and the driver can choose to reduce that figure by up to 50% (308 hp) by driving in Slippery mode. Even in comfort mode where the AMG EQE only delivers 80% power (493 hp), it can pin the driver's head to the AMG-embossed headrest. Sport mode enables 90% power (555 hp), allowing the AMG EQE to start causing physical pain with its acceleration.
Using Race Start, what Mercedes calls its launch control program, the motors can deliver a 110% boost good for a total of 677 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Hold the brake, mash the throttle, and get ready to hit 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. Yes, A Tesla Model S Plaid or a Lucid Air Sapphire is quicker, but the AMG EQE is quick enough to make you feel ill after just a few hard launches. There's no debate about this - the AMG EQE is plenty quick.
The way the car sounds is more impressive still. Mercedes has a feature called AMG Sound Control, which plays noise through the speakers during acceleration. There are two modes to choose from, Authentic and Performance, each with three volume settings. Performance is a beefier, more natural noise that sounds closer to an engine rumble. It emits a low electric hum that grows louder the harder you mash the throttle.
As for Authentic, it's a bit more subtle when you drive around normally, but during race start, it exudes a sound that could only be described as a sci-fi spaceship warming up its other-worldly propulsion system. Will these sounds ever replace the rumble of a good V8? Maybe not to some folks, but they are very entertaining in a different way.
Having driven the AMG EQS, we can confidently say the smaller AMG EQE is a more engaging car to drive. The shorter wheelbase results in nimbler handling, while the standard AMG Ride Control Air Suspension provides what we would call a comfortable ride for this level of performance. If the E63 is the benchmark, the AMG EQE could be considered more cloud-like by comparison. That being said, the E63 still feels like the more exciting car to drive; it's lighter, the steering is sharper, the suspension is stiffer, and there's a drift mode that deactivates the all-wheel-drive system for maximum entertainment. The EQE may accelerate like a rocket and play sci-fi noises, but it just feels like a rapid luxury car, not a driver's car.
We won't fault AMG, though, because building an EV that sucks as an everyday car in the pursuit of driving enjoyment also feels like a silly goal, and the AMG EQE seems to cover most of the bases relatively well. Drivers who demand uncompromised comfort with almost unnecessary speed will enjoy this car. There aren't many cars on the market right now that directly stack up against the AMG EQE, and the ones that do are more expensive. That Tesla Model S Plaid might be quicker, but the AMG is softer, more engaging, and overall more luxurious.
All EQE models pack the same 90.6 kWh battery pack and 170 kW charge speed. We began the week disappointed that the EQE can't match the EQS's 200 kW peak, but in our experience charging the car on a 350 kW DC fast-charger, it has an impressive curve that should help reduce the length of time spent plugged in. Even without preconditioning the battery, the EQE quickly jumped to around 162 kW and stayed there for a significant time. We recorded a 34-100% charge session in under an hour, which is pretty impressive.
In terms of range, the AMG sits at the bottom of the EQE lineup with an EPA rating of just 225 miles. That estimate seems highly conservative, though, as a 100% charge showed around 270 miles of charge on the car's computer, and we easily recorded 250 miles on a full charge with room to spare. Annoyingly, the EQE only reads out its efficiency in watt hours per mile, not our preferred miles per kilowatt-hour. Doing some math, we calculated that the car achieved around 2.6 mi/kWh during the week, meaning it should theoretically cover 234 miles per charge in mixed driving.
The EQE 350 4MATIC and 500 4MATIC deliver a more impressive 260-mile range, and the base EQE 350+ is rated at a whopping 305 miles. If range is more important to you than overall performance, we highly recommend checking out one of the lesser EQE variants.
Inside, the AMG EQE's cabin is a befuddling hodgepodge of the best and worst Mercedes design has to offer. For the 2023 model year, the massive 56-inch Hyperscreen from the EQS is not available on the EQE, and we didn't miss it for a second. Unless you have a co-pilot, the passenger screen is useless, and there isn't much added functionality besides that. The 12.8-inch OLED display is plenty large, easy enough to use, and packed with features. We'd kill for an old-school volume knob, though. Speaking of which, the touch capacitive controls on the steering wheel are frustrating to use, and it makes us yearn for the previous generation's metal buttons.
The screen sits in front of a large, textured panel that Mercedes calls Natural Grain Wood, but to this writer, it looks more like a veneer you'd find on cheap furniture. There are plenty of premium materials in the cabin, though, such as the Nappa leather, which is a $2,990 option, but much like the EQS, the overall quality feels a step below the gasoline equivalent.
The back seats seem particularly ill-designed. They offer plenty of legroom, but headroom feels tight even for shorter occupants, and the back rest is stiff, leaving passengers to sit bolt upright. It's pretty hard to get comfortable in the rear seat, and anyone sitting back there will be jealous of the front occupants with their multi-contour massage seats.
The EQE's traditional trunk is decently capacious, but it could be far more useful were it a hatch-style trunk as that of the EQS sedan - especially since this ground-up EV doesn't have a frunk.
Pricing for the AMG EQE starts at $106,900. That's a large sum of money that in some ways may seem excessive, but in others ways, it's kind of a bargain. Hear us out on this: A Tesla Model S Long Range offers similar performance for $94,990, and a Plaid is more expensive at $114,990. The Tesla goes further on a charge and charges quicker, but the interior pales in comparison to the Mercedes-AMG EQE. Lucid offers several Air variants that are quicker than the AMG EQE and deliver vastly superior range, but they, too, are pricey. Buyers looking for pure comfort could look at the Genesis Electrified G80, but the Korean automaker doesn't have anything that comes near AMG levels of performance.
Then there are the non-AMG EQE variants, which make a strong case against buying the AMG with their superior range. Though it only produces 288 hp, the EQE 350+ seems like a strong buy at a reasonable-ish $74,900 for over 300 miles of range. Even the EQE 500 for $85,900 with 480 hp is plenty quick, hitting 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds while still delivering 260 miles on a charge. If we were shopping for an EQE, the 500 seems like the best balance of range, performance, and price, but we'd still cross-shop it with other EVs on the market.
Join The Discussion