2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV Dials Back the Weirdness

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Ought to EVs make an announcement? Or ought to they mix in with the gas-powered plenty? That is the main query going through designers within the tectonic shift to electrical propulsion. After watching Tesla dash forward because the tech-forward luxurious providing, Mercedes-Benz burst out of the gate with its EQS sedan, an S-class-level electrical automobile on a devoted platform with a glance that pushed the envelope. The following-up mid-size EQE sedan adopted go well with. The SUV fashions, first the EQS SUV and now the EQE SUV, undertake a extra acquainted type. Taking part in within the coronary heart of the market, the EQE SUV tries more durable to not alienate the good swaths of consumers that presumably will quickly enter this phase.

The EQE SUV would not have the odd, taffy-stretched type of the sedans, however it’s decrease (by 4.4 inches) and extra rounded than its conventionally powered counterpart, the GLE. The EQE SUV can also be 2.4 inches trimmer in size however practically equivalent in width. The EQE SUV’s egglike type, plus its clean underbody, contributes to a slippery 0.25 drag coefficient. However it’s no weirder wanting than its BMW counterpart, the iX, which takes an alternate tack on the neo-SUV concept. True aesthetes is perhaps drawn as an alternative to the conventionally formed Audi e-tron or the edgy-but-still-approachable Cadillac Lyriq.

The EQE SUV is the fourth model to make use of Benz’s devoted EV platform, and being fourth has its benefits. Particularly, the EQE SUV introduces two improvements. All-wheel-drive fashions have the power to energy down the entrance motor (besides in Sport mode), which Mercedes claims leads to a 6 p.c enchancment in vary. Moreover, the local weather management system makes use of a warmth pump to extra effectively warmth the cabin. (We’re informed each options will quickly unfold to the opposite EQ fashions.)

Inside, there’s larger commonality with the EQE sedan. The whole entrance passenger compartment is equally configured, and the higher trims have the identical ritzy particulars. The EQE’s sprint dips down on the heart to satisfy the tallish heart console, a much less spacious-feeling association than you will discover in EVs such because the iX and the Genesis GV60 that play up the flat ground of an EV by providing open area on the entrance of the console. Nevertheless, the Mercedes does present a big bay beneath the floating console, and the highest half has a coated bin with area on your telephone and the requisite two cupholders.

Among the EQE SUV fashions we drove had a freestanding central display screen and a separate digital instrument cluster; others had been geared up with the model’s dash-spanning Hyperscreen (though that choice will not be out there in U.S. vehicles till subsequent 12 months). Along with its wow issue, the Hyperscreen provides a show for the entrance passenger that provides redundant controls for a lot of the infotainment, in addition to the power to stream video or video games—or it might probably simply show an image of your canine. With or with out the Hyperscreen, there is a digital instrument cluster and a big central touchscreen. The previous has quite a lot of show choices, and the latter boasts comparatively quick access to main capabilities. When utilizing navigation, as an example, the show retains open small submenus for different capabilities, together with audio, telephone, and main local weather controls. Nonetheless, we bemoan the dearth of any non-touch switchgear, with the worst offenders being the contact slider for audio quantity and the tiny four-way touchpads on the steering wheel. Such are the travails of modernity.

Regardless of a wheelbase that is 3.5 inches shorter than the EQE sedan’s, rear-seat area is beneficiant. Occupants discover loads of legroom and knee clearance, and the flat ground makes the center place tenable. The EQE’s rounded type cuts into cargo area, nonetheless, as its 14 cubic ft behind the rear seats is effectively in need of the GLE’s 33 cubes. Seats folded, the entire quantity is 55 cubic ft. And whereas the GLE wedges in an non-compulsory third-row seat, the EQE SUV is strictly a five-seater.

As nice because the EQE SUV cabin is to take a look at, we want it had been simpler to look out of. The forehead over the dashboard makes for a shallow windshield, and the stocky A-pillars stretch ahead into the sphere of view. We needed to increase the motive force’s seat to get a good view out, however in tight confines, it is powerful to guage the place the bodywork ends.

The SUV largely mirrors the EQE sedan’s motive choices, although right here with a bit extra torque. There are three powertrains: the single-motor, rear-wheel-drive 350+ and the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive 350 4Matic and 500 4Matic. Each 350s have 288 horsepower—fewer ponies than in mid-size electrics from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, or Genesis. Torque output is extra respectable, with the single-motor powertrain spinning out 417 pound-feet and the dual-motor 564 pound-feet. The high-zoot EQE500 pumps out 402 horses and 633 pound-feet, which places it nearer to the BMW iX xDrive50 (516 horsepower, 564 pound-feet). Presumably, the upcoming AMG model of the EQE could have the beans to face off in opposition to the 610-hp iX M60.

We first drove the 350+, and whereas it is perky sufficient on the town, acceleration at greater speeds is relatively languid, notably for an EV. Switching subsequent to the 350 4Matic, one can undoubtedly really feel the dual-motor model’s further torque, which wakes up response when passing on two-lanes or merging onto a freeway. Step as much as the EQE500, and also you get the sort of scenery-blurring acceleration that EVs have gotten identified for. However even the EQE500 remains to be more likely to fall effectively shy of the sprinting capabilities of the Genesis GV60 Efficiency (which hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds in our testing) or the BMW iX xDrive50 (which did so in 4.0). For blame, we’d look to the EQE500’s curb weight, which Mercedes pins at 5665 kilos (even the lightest EQE350+ model is a claimed 5300 kilos). However the iX, the e-tron, and the Lyriq all spent simply as a lot time bellying as much as the buffet, as all three pack greater than 5500 kilos.

Mercedes provides 4 totally different Soundscapes, oddball soundtracks that we had been solely too comfortable to change off. Doing so doesn’t completely extinguish the whir from the electrical motors, nonetheless. At freeway speeds, the automotive is quiet; wind rustle is all however absent, leaving solely tire noise to be heard.

The EQE350+ we drove was using on metal springs and passive dampers, which is the usual setup. Aided by 19-inch wheels (the smallest out there), that suspension did an inexpensive job dealing with the beat-up cobblestone streets within the outdated part of Lisbon, Portugal, the place our drive passed off. The 350+ exhibited some side-to-side physique motions over pavement disturbances at greater speeds. The EQE350 and EQE500 4Matics we drove had the non-compulsory air springs and adaptive dampers. That setup stored a tighter rein on physique motions, though it suffered a bit extra influence harshness, probably owing to the bigger rolling inventory on these two vehicles. We didn’t discern an considerable distinction between the Sport and Consolation modes.

In all three vehicles, the steering has an inexpensive diploma of effort, but it surely would not construct as cornering forces improve and finally ends up simply feeling inert. Rear-axle steering, which turns the rear wheels as much as 10.0 levels, is normal on the EQE500. The system is clearly evident while you totally crank the wheel in low-speed maneuvers, and we had been stunned on the EQE’s capacity to bang a U-turn on a slender two-lane highway.

The EQE provides 4 ranges of brake-energy recuperation: Sturdy, Regular, No, and Clever. Regular approximates the expertise of driving an internal-combustion automotive, whereas No recuperation permits a crusing mode. Clever is slightly bizarre to get used to as a result of the diploma to which the automotive slows while you let off the accelerator is totally different on a regular basis. Typically it varies primarily based on whether or not the system detects a slower automobile forward, and different instances it reacts to data from the navigation system (whether or not you are getting into a reduced-speed zone or approaching a cease signal, say). If the automotive forward stops, Clever mode can work like one-pedal driving, stopping the EQE. However true one-pedal followers would possibly desire Sturdy recuperation mode, which at all times slows the automotive aggressively when the accelerator is launched, even when it would not fairly carry the automobile to a full cease.

2023 mercedesbenz eqe350 suv

Mercedes-Benz

Extra aggressive regen modes maintain further enchantment right here as a result of they decrease the interplay with the brake pedal. Like its sibling EQ fashions, the EQE SUV’s brake modulation feels unnatural, with the preliminary picket response turning into immediately grabby as you apply extra stress. The result’s that clean stops could be a problem.

As with different EQ fashions, the utmost recharge price is 170 kW; at max draw, Mercedes estimates 32 minutes for a recharge of 10 to 80 p.c. On a Degree 2 supply, replenishing the battery from 10 to 100% occurs in 9.5 hours. Clients get two years of free 30-minute fast-charging periods at Electrify America stations, and, wanting forward, Mercedes has introduced a plan to construct its personal fast-charging community, à la Tesla.

All EQE SUVs use the identical 90.6-kWh battery pack. It gives EPA vary estimates of 279 miles for the single-motor EQE350+ and 253 miles for the EQE350 4Matic, with the EQE500 4Matic good for 269 miles. These numbers are credible however not class-leading. They land the Mercedes comfortably forward of the e-tron, however behind the Lyriq and iX and effectively aft of the still-class-leading Tesla Mannequin X.

Pricing for the EQE SUV unsurprisingly begins slightly below the magic $80,000 mark (the automobile’s Alabama meeting web site and U.S. battery manufacturing unit being the opposite key elements in securing federal tax-credit eligibility). What’s uncommon is that the single- and dual-motor EQE350 fashions have the identical $79,050 ask. It is arduous to think about many consumers selecting the 350+ over the 350 4Matic, even with the rear-drive model’s slight benefit in vary. The EQE500 4Matic, in the meantime, opens at $90,650. All three are provided in Premium, Unique, and Pinnacle trims; the EQE500 in Pinnacle type stretches the worth tag to $96,350.

Wealthy pricing is fairly attribute of Mercedes-Benz—for some, it is a part of the model’s enchantment. Not less than with the EQE SUV, anybody who needs to flash round city in an electrical Benz will not should get previous a bizarre exterior form to take action.

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Specs

Specs

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV

Car Sort: mid- or front- and mid-motor, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE

Base: EQE350+, $79,050; EQE350 4Matic, $79,050; EQE500 4Matic, $90,650

POWERTRAIN

Motors: permanent-magnet synchronous AC

Energy: 288 or 402 hp

Torque: 417, 564, or 633 lb-ft

Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 90.6 kWh

Onboard Charger: 9.6 kW

Peak DC Quick-Cost Price: 170 kW

Transmissions: direct-drive

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 119.3 in

Size: 191.5 in

Width: 76.4 in

Top: 66.3 in

Cargo Quantity, Behind F/R: 55/14 ft3

Curb Weight (C/D est): 5350–5750 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)

60 mph: 4.0–5.6 sec

1/4-Mile: 12.5–14.1 sec

Prime Pace: 130 mph

EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)

Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 82–90/85–92/80–88 MPGe

Vary: 253–279 mi

Headshot of Joe Lorio

Deputy Editor, Critiques and Options

Joe Lorio has been obsessive about vehicles since his Matchbox days, and he obtained his first subscription to Automotive and Driver at age 11. Joe began his profession at Car Journal below David E. Davis Jr., and his work has additionally appeared on web sites together with Amazon Autos, Autoblog, AutoTrader, Hagerty, Hemmings, KBB, and TrueCar.

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