Pros: Just-right sizing for a lot of drivers; costs less than the EQS; crazy-tight turning circle with rear-wheel steering; comfort and quality at the forefront
Cons: Strange and hard-to-modulate brakes; technology can be overwhelming; poor rear visibility
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE electric sedan is essentially a little brother to the full-size EQS in every way. It’s a little smaller than the EQS, while still being larger inside than the gas-powered E-Class. You wouldn't know it, though, because from the outside and from behind the wheel (especially when taking advantage of its crazy-tight turning circle), the EQE looks and drives a lot smaller than it is. If you’re familiar with the EQS, though, the EQE will look immediately familiar to the point of being indistinguishable, especially inside. That includes the available, dash-dominating Hyperscreen (although we prefer the simpler, standard interface and the pretty dash-width wood trim that comes with it). Really, you’d be forgiven in you have trouble telling the two sedans apart until you sit in the back seat and notice the legroom is merely ample rather than excessive. The EQE also has a fairly small, traditional trunk instead of the gaping, hatchback-esque cargo hold of the EQS.
There are key differences besides size, chief among them being a much lower price. However, the EQE also drives different: its smaller footprint grants it greater maneuverability and a more tossable nature on a winding road (enhanced to an almost absurd degree with the available rear-wheel steering). It also doesn't possess the same whisper-quiet cabin and soft, ride-on-a-cloud ride, but then that's an extremely lofty bar. The EQE is still plenty comfy and quiet.
Now, besides comparisons to its big brother, would we get an EQE rather than Mercedes' tried-and-true, gas-powered E-Class? Short answer, yes. Its ample range and quick-charging should satisfy all but the most ardent road trip warriors or those who cannot install a charger or 240-volt outlet in their garage. It looks, drives and just feels more special than an E-Class (although we can't imagine the AMG EQE will deliver the same driving and audible drama as the E 63). And in case you’re wondering how the EQE lines up to that electric car elephant in the room, Tesla, the EQE falls closer to the Model S in terms of size, but fills the price gap between the Model 3 and Model S. And while Tesla gets away with minimalist design inside its cars, Mercedes customers expect content and ambiance galore, and they get it.
What's new for 2023?
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE is an all-new model.
What are the EQE’s interior and in-car technology like?
The EQE feels roomy and cozy. The seats are comfortable, and feature rich synthetic leatherette or authentic leather. Heated front seats are standard; ventilated and massaging seats are available. There are a number of trim options, including wood or laser-etched plastics, and everything you touch feels substantial. Ambient lighting throughout the cabin helps create more ambiance as the sun goes down, and there are a variety of color schemes from which to choose. You can also customize your own multi-color lighting landscape.
Every EQE has the same infotainment system with a "Zero Layer" interface unique to the EQ line that we find easier to use than Mercedes' usual MBUX setup. The base system features a digital instrument panel and a large, portrait-style infotainment touchscreen with a handful of physical, touch-sensitive buttons below. The upgrade is the "Hyperscreen" when gets an even bigger infotainment screen, an extra touchscreen for the passenger, and a single piece of glass bridging all the screens and the dash. It's a lot. With either setup, there's a lot to figure out and it can seem daunting, but we find it better executed than other systems, including the BMW i4 and iX's iDrive 8. Once you figure it all out, you’ll have a wealth of information and customization at your fingertips. The system will bring relevant functions — like displaying your next turn — to the foreground automatically, and voice recognition can further help you to have to dig through menus. Saying “Hey Mercedes” activates voice control, but don’t be surprised if the voice assistant chimes in whenever you discuss the brand in the car. An optional head-up display employs augmented reality to do things like highlight the car in front of you when using adaptive cruise control, or projecting arrows overlaying the road to point out your next turn when navigating.
The EQE also features a fingerprint scanner that can activate your customized driver profile. You can register up to seven profiles per vehicle.
How big is the EQE?
At 196.6 inches in length with a 122.8-inch wheelbase, the EQE is basically a shorter copy of the EQS (by 10.7 inches overall, and 3.6 inches between the axles). Despite being smaller, there’s plenty of legroom in the EQE, just not with acres to spare like in the EQS. Most passengers won’t have complaints about headroom, especially with the airy feel the sunroof affords the cabin, though some taller passengers might find their heads a little closer to the roof than they’d like.
Unlike the EQS, whose whole rear hatch — glass included — raises up when opened, the EQE Sedan has a more traditional trunk. The specs say has 15 cubic-feet, but in our real-world testing, we found it holds less luggage than other midsize sedans that have a similar volume. In reality, the space is more comparable to a compact sedan. It's also considerably smaller and less accessible than the EQS' hatchbacked cargo area.
What are the EQE’s fuel economy and performance specs?
The EQE will offer four different powertrains. The EQE 350+ is the base car, with a single motor powering the rear wheels. That motor provides 288 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes says it’ll do 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds. That might sound slow when compared to the ludicrous bar set by electric luxury cars (pun intended), but it really isn’t. Driving range and fuel efficiency haven’t been announced yet for the U.S., but its 90.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack should provide in excess of 300 miles on a charge, and is capable of 170-kW DC fast charging.
Mercedes says a 350 4Matic is coming this year, which will be the entry version with all-wheel drive courtesy of a motor added for the front axle. The two motors produce the same 288 hp as the 350+, but boost torque up to 564 lb-ft. It’s just slightly quicker, doing 0-60 in 6.0 seconds
Moving up to the EQE 500 4Matic, this spicier all-wheel-drive variant’s dual motors provide a total of 402 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque. This extra oomph reduces the 0-60 time to 4.5 seconds. We don’t know yet what the extra power means for range from the 90.6-kWh battery, but it will certainly sacrifice some range. In our testing, a full battery showed around 300 miles of range.
The line-topping EQE Sedan will be called the Mercedes-AMG EQE, with a pair of beefier motors providing 617 hp and 701 lb-ft of torque, though a “Race Start” function will temporarily unleash a total of 677 hp and 738 lb-ft. The AMG EQE will do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, which shrinks to 3.2 seconds with Race Start activated. Again, range is TBD.
What's the EQE like to drive?
As of this writing, we’ve only driven the EQE 350+ and the EQE 500 4Matic. Starting with that base model, you’ll find acceleration that’s effortlessly quick, quiet and smooth. It’s not powerful enough to get your guts a-twirlin’, but 288 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque is plenty to feel fast in the city and keep up with faster-flowing traffic on the highway. The 500 4Matic’s 402 horsepower makes for faster starts, as well as increased motivation at higher speeds for quick passing maneuvers. You mash the accelerator and it makes the cars around you disappear.
Other than the powertrains, the non-AMG EQE models feel the same to drive. Both can be had with an air suspension to further improve the ride and let the chassis adapt its behavior based on your selected drive mode, and if you're looking for more of a mini EQS experience, checking that option box is a must. We tested an EQE 500 with the standard fixed suspension, however, and still found it to have an excellent ride-handling balance appropriate for a big Mercedes. With either, you do get more road and wind noise than in the EQS, but that's basically a sealed tomb. Both the 350+ and 500 can abe equipped with rear-wheel steering (up to 10 degrees), which makes for smoother high-speed lane changes and a laughably small turning circle that makes u-turns and parking a snap.
As much as we enjoy driving the EQE, though, there are issues. The main one is braking. There are three selectable levels of regenerative braking, plus an automatic mode that will help maximize your range while helping to keep your distance when coasting behind another vehicle. The strongest regeneration setting will not come to a stop by itself as other EVs will (and therefore creating so-called one-pedal driving) and worse, it possesses a uniquely strange and we'd say disagreeable behavior. The brake pedal moves by itself when regenerative braking starts when you lift off the throttle, meaning it won't be where you expect it to be by the time your foot reaches it. Once there, we found the pedal difficult to modulate and bring the car to a smooth stop. We've now driven various EQ models with it and we don't like it. The EQE also suffers from limited visibility, with a not-very-tall rear window and a high, expansive dashboard.
What other Mercedes-Benz EQE reviews can I read?
Our first drive in the Mercedes EQE Sedan, specifically the 350+ model, which is the base powertrain for the U.S. We found it to be effortlessly quick and quiet, and we can’t help but draw comparisons to the larger EQS.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE First Ride | E-Class of the future now
Our first taste of the electric sedan, from the passenger seat, where we can appreciate its quiet, comfortable ride.
What is the 2023 EQE price and when is it for sale?
The 2023 EQE is offered in three configurations: The rear-wheel drive EQE 350+ and two all-wheel drive variants: EQE 350 4Matic and EQE 500 4Matic. Only the latter 4Matic model gets more power even though both of them are dual-motor powertrains. Each powertrain is available in one of three trims: Premium (base), Exclusive and Pinnacle. The two-wheel-drive 2023 EQE 350+ starts at $75,050 (including an $1,150 destination charge) with the range-topping EQE 500 4Matic checking in at $87,050 before additional options. The top-trim EQE 500 starts at $92,650. For the most part, features are consistent across trim packages, meaning you're not forced into a particular model if you plan to load it up with features. We'll note exceptions as we go.
Premium models get standard MBUX navigation, a surround-view camera system with park assist, heated front seats, faux leather upholstery (with the exception of the EQE 500, which gets leather), a power panoramic roof, Burmester audio, 64-color ambient lighting and (also unique to the EQE 500 4Matic) rear-axle steering. Stepping up to the Exclusive model gets you augmented reality for the navigation system, "active" ambient lighting and M-B's driver assistance package, which adds highway drive assist and a suite of additional semi-automated driver aids. The Pinnacle trim gets you four-zone climate control, a HUD, a 100-watt USB-C charging package and some additional upscale luxury features.
Here's a full breakdown by configuration and trim. All prices include destination:
EQE 350+: $75,050
EQE 350 4MATIC: $79,050
EQE 500 4MATIC: $87,050
EQE 350+: $78,150
EQE 350 4MATIC: $81,150
EQE 500 4MATIC: $89,150
EQE 350+: $81,650*
EQE 350 4MATIC: $84,650
EQE 500 4MATIC: $92,650
What are the EQE’s safety ratings and driver assistance features?
The EQE offers a raft of safety and driver assistance features, including stop-and-go adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering assist and route-based speed adaptation (it’ll automatically slow down for curves and junctions), forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, road sign recognition with speed limit assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, exit warning, driver attention monitoring, automatic high beams, surround-view parking cameras and active parking assist.
The EQE hasn’t yet been evaluated by third parties like NHTSA or the IIHS.
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