The verdict: Of all the new Mercedes-EQ models, this version might be the perfect formula: smashing performance, a comfortable cabin, usable cargo space, excellent driving dynamics and not too much quirk.
Versus the competition: The EQE500 SUV is far more upscale and luxurious than anything from Tesla, and it doesn’t trip the weird styling alarm like a BMW iX.
Mercedes-Benz has taken an interesting path with its electrification strategy. While some luxury brands are creating electrified versions of their traditional offerings, Mercedes-Benz has created an entirely new electric lineup, complete with its own platforms, interiors, styling, and ethos. The EQ lineup consists of the big EQS Sedan and SUV, the compact EQB SUV, and the mid-size EQE Sedan and SUV — the latter of which is the subject of this review.
Related: 2023 Mercedes-EQ EQB 300 Review: A Solid EV With Room for Improvement
I’ve driven all of the EQ offerings and found them to be a bit of a mixed bag, but with the EQE SUV, I think I’ve finally found one that gets the formula right. This vehicle is a successful mix of high technology and excellent driving dynamics packaged in a sensible layout that works better than the EQ sedans.
Pick Your Propulsion
There are four EQE SUV models, starting with the 350+. This version has rear-wheel drive and a single motor that makes 288 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet of torque, with an EPA-rated 279 miles of range from its 90.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Next up is the EQE350 4Matic, which uses a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup that still makes 288 hp system total but with more torque: 564 pounds-feet. Its range and battery capacity, however, are lower, with 253 miles of estimated range from an 89-kWh pack. Topping the regular range is the EQE500 4Matic, again with two motors and AWD but packing system totals of 402 hp and 633 pounds-feet of torque. It has an estimated driving range of 269 miles from its 90.6-kWh battery. If you’d like to go all out, the fourth model is a dual-motor AWD AMG EQE, which pumps out 617 hp and 701 pounds-feet of torque but has just 235 miles of driving range from its 90.6-kWh battery.
I drove an EQE500 4Matic, and while it’s not the fire-breathing AMG model, it does feature the more powerful motors and 269-mile range. It’s also not as crazy expensive as the top model, and it delivers an excellent mix of performance, comfort and utility.
1 Jellybean, 3 Sizes
The Mercedes-EQ lineup has been criticized for its generic styling, and that’s fair; it really is generic — especially the SUVs. The sedans are more quirky and distinctive thanks to their dramatically futuristic, cab-forward style and sweeping, arched rooflines that prioritize aerodynamics over aesthetics. The SUVs are not quirky; the design is clean and uncomplicated, with a tacked-on faux grille, amorphous head- and taillights, and a fairly traditional two-box shape. It doesn’t telegraph “Mercedes-Benz” at all. The EQE could be from just about any brand; the only Mercedes styling cues are the wheel designs and a big three-pointed star up front.
In a world where Hyundai, Kia and even Cadillac are making incredible, dramatically styled vehicles that are moving their brands into an eventual all-electric future, this feels like a safe step sideways for Mercedes design. The EQE SUV is something of a technological marvel given the extraordinary engineering that’s gone into it, but you’d never know that from looking at it. The fact that it’s also almost indistinguishable from the smaller EQB and larger EQS SUVs doesn’t help the situation.
The Sweet Spot Inside
I have complaints about the EQE and EQS sedans’ interiors, mostly related to their odd packaging. The cars’ super-short hoods and long rooflines should afford a commanding view forward — a benefit of the cab-forward design aesthetic (see Chrysler Corp.’s 1990s-era sedans for another example of this style) — but it doesn’t because of their crazy high, imposing dashboards. The EQE SUV also has a big dashboard, but given it’s an SUV with taller seating, you don’t get quite the same sensation of looking over a cliff to see out the front. Visibility isn’t as good as it could be, but it’s not nearly as compromised as it is in the EQE Sedan, especially to the rear. While that car gives drivers just a tiny gun-slit rear window, the SUV has a taller (but oddly narrow) back window.
Materials quality in the EQE SUV matches the rest of the EQ lineup. It’s an interesting mix of nice surfaces, glass screens and often hollow-sounding panels. The seats, however, are impeccable in any position — another improvement over the EQE Sedan. The front seats are large, supportive and adjustable for people of all shapes and sizes, and there’s plenty of headroom in front and back — something that can’t be said of the sedans, with their swoopy rooflines and corresponding constrained airspace. The SUV’s backseat legroom is also good, and the higher rear bench than you get in the sedan makes it comfy in any position.
The EQE SUV has plentiful cargo space behind the backseat. Whereas the sedan’s trunk space is surprisingly small, the SUV has no such issues — and its formal, upright roofline makes the EQE SUV’s interior a more usable space than what you’ll get in a “coupe-style SUV” like a Tesla Model Y or one of Mercedes’ gas-powered models, like the GLE Coupe. There’s no frunk, however; you can’t even open the hood. (Mercedes installed a massive air purifier in there, so there’s nothing to see anyway.) Dropping the rear seats creates even more luggage space, making this a genuinely useful vehicle, as well as a comfortable and luxurious one.