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Car Review

Mercedes-Benz EQE review

£73,395 - £89,290
710
Published: 18 Jan 2024
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Mini-me EQS that's comfier than its big brother. Would be more relaxing if the tech was less overwhelming

Good stuff

Stellar ride comfort and refinement, Tesla-smashing build quality

Bad stuff

Poor rear cabin headroom and visibility, tech is all very in-your-face, i5 drives better

Overview

What is it?

It’s a medium-sized electric saloon, and helps bring the big Mercedes-EQ electric plan into focus. At the top of the tree, the EQS is the S-Class of Mercedes electric cars: big, plush and sleek. The EQA and EQB are simply GLA and GLB crossovers stuffed with batteries.

Spot the strategy? Mercedes’ less expensive EVs are simply internal-combustion cars with engines swapped for cells and motors, because that’s cheaper to do. But the EQS, EQE and SUV versions of both get their own platform, optimised to take advantage of battery packaging.

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But it looks exactly the same as an EQS.

It does, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. While the EQE (like the EQS) is extremely aerodynamic (the S is slightly slipperier due to a longer tail) there’s a whiff of squashed Toyota Prius about the profile and it’s an amorphous, presence-free shape.

People who buy big luxury Mercs tend to want you to know they’ve done just that, without having to spell it out. But pull the badges off these streamlined pebbles and could you honestly tell it was a Benz? From the rear especially the EQE’s new-age proportions will take some getting used to. 

What's new for the EQE?

It’s 90mm shorter than the EQS, and has either an 89 or 90kWh battery depending on spec – smaller than the EQS’s 108kWh monster. The most range you'll get is from the entry-level EQE 300, which'll do 380 miles on paper. Impressive stuff.

The EQE 350 was the first iteration available to order in the UK, also with a single-motor, rear-wheel drive layout but with that single extra kilowatt-hour in its pocket. Slightly strange. That one gets 288bhp and 417lb ft of torque and will do 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds. The 300? 241bhp, 406lb ft and 7.3s.

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If you want more speed, there’s always the 626bhp twin-motor AMG EQE 53. You can read more on that by clicking these blue words. Other markets will get a twin-motor EQE 500 and a slightly less bonkers AMG EQE 43.

What other headlines do I need to know?

UK cars can be specced with Airmatic suspension (as fitted to our test cars) but won’t get clever rear-wheel steering, so a British-bought EQE won’t have the turning circle of a small hatchback – it’ll need another two metres to spin around.

Inside there’s five seats and the reclined 12.8-inch touchscreen from the S-Class. You can also get the full-width Hyperscreen interface... if you fork out seven grand. Check out the Interior tab for more.

Mercedes builds EQEs for most of the world in Germany, but it’s also built locally in China for the Chinese market, as Mercedes looks to make the EQE the bedrock of its EV push.

There's also a zeitgeisty SUV version of this car which will allow Merc to wring more profit out of these platforms – and begin to recoup some of the enormous investment ploughed into the EQ family.

What's it up against?

Good question. Unlike the SUV sphere, the luxury saloon market isn't bursting with choice just yet. The class leader by a long shot is the BMW i5, and while the Model S rewrote the rulebook it's neither a true luxury car nor, er, sold in RHD any more. Oops.

Audi is still working on an electric A6 and RS6; Porsche has the Taycan, but that's not really a saloon. The Polestar 2 will mop up buyers who'll make do with less opulence and space for less outlay.

How much money will I need to part with then?

In the UK prices will start at £68,810 for the most basic 300, and £77,345 for the 350. Read more over on the Buying tab

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

It’s a much better appointed object than a Tesla Model S, but Mercedes’ extreme efforts on tech may make it too radical for some

If you can get on with how the EQE looks – and that’s a big if – then what you’ll find underneath is a rounded EV that (like its EQS big brother) tries to distil everything Mercedes has learned about luxury cars into a new electric package.

It’s ultimately quite successful at that: this is a quiet, exceedingly comfortable and effortlessly swift car. It rides better than an EQS too. Well, on air suspension it does. Single-motors and rear-wheel drive are surely the best bet, and give the most range with enough acceleration to remind yourself you bought an EV with every press of the throttle pedal. 

The EQE also makes some of the same mistakes as the EQS: feature-packed tech overload is great for filling the online brochure with gimmicks, but doesn’t necessarily make for a relaxing drive.

There’s no doubt it’s a much better appointed object than a Tesla Model S, but Merc's efforts to outdo everyone on tech means the driving experience plays second fiddle. It's why we much prefer the i5.

The Rivals

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