Mercedes EQE review
Smaller sibling to the EQS, the EQE serves as the electric equivalent to Mercedes’ highly popular E-Class saloon
- Very comfortable
- Great driving range
- Superb interior quality
- Small boot opening
- Not as quick as Teslas
- Poor rear headroom and visibility
|Car type||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||409 miles||14hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||33mins (10-80%, 170kW)|
The rapid expansion of the electric-car market in recent years has been driven mainly by small city cars and large, family-orientated SUVs. More traditional market segments such as executive saloon cars have been slower to electrify, but it’s starting to happen. Mercedes is already up and running with its EQS luxury flagship – an EV equivalent to the long-serving S-Class – and now its electric range has grown once again with this EQE.
As the name suggests, it’s effectively a downsized version of the EQS and serves as a fully electric equivalent to the petrol, diesel and hybrid-engined E-Class saloon. But although it’s roughly the same size as that big-selling model, it mimics the swoopy, aerodynamic shape of its bigger sibling the EQS, making it more of a large four-door coupe or fastback than a traditional ‘three-box’ saloon.
Key rivals include the Tesla Model S, as well as the upcoming Polestar 5, BMW i5 and Audi A6 e-tron executive saloons, and the electric Maserati Quattroporte that’s due by 2025. Under the bodywork you’ll find the same platform that underpins the EQS, although for the most part the EQE’s numbers are slightly less impressive.
The EQE 350+, which is initially the sole choice for UK buyers, has a 90kWh battery for a 409-mile range and a single 288bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels. Top speed is 130mph and accelerating from 0-62mph takes 6.4 seconds. Charging speed peaks at 170kW (versus 200kW for the EQS), so a 10-80% top-up at a suitably fast public point will take you just over 30 minutes.
As those performance figures suggest, the EQE can’t match the blisteringly fast acceleration familiar to Tesla owners, but overall it feels like Mercedes’ engineers have focused more on making this a comfortable and refined car to drive, rather than a corner-carving sports saloon (although a rapid AMG version is also in the works).
As is common in electric cars these days, you can choose from several driving modes in the EQE, namely Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. We didn’t notice a radical difference between them during our test, however, and our car’s optional adaptive air suspension meant it remained well controlled in corners, so stiffening it with Sport mode didn’t seem necessary. Despite the air suspension, however, the EQE doesn’t feel quite as comfortable as an E-Class saloon in everyday driving – a comparison where the EQS also falls short of the S-Class.
Also like the EQS, the EQE boasts a stunning interior, with an eye-catching design and high-quality materials throughout. It feels much more in keeping with the traditional executive saloon philosophy than the now quite dated and sparse-feeling Tesla Model S cabin. The dashboard-spanning ‘Hyperscreen’ three-displays-in-one setup is an optional extra – albeit one that can’t be ordered in the UK just yet. As standard, the EQE gets a setup akin to those in other current Mercedes models, with a digital driver’s display and large central touchscreen.
While the EQE looks from most angles like a shrunken-down EQS, the two cars differ in one important respect: while the larger EQS has a wide-opening hatchback boot that makes filling its large luggage area very easy, the EQE has less space and a small saloon-style opening, similar to that of the Tesla Model 3. Total luggage capacity is 430 litres, but if you want something more practical, the arrival of the EQE’s SUV equivalent isn’t far off.
As regards rear passenger space, there’s plenty of legroom thanks to an almost-flat floor, but headroom is less impressive. Our test car featured an optional sunroof, and many taller adults will likely find their heads brushing it. Furthermore, the central of the three rear seats is also only really suitable for children. Another blot in the EQE’s copybook is rearward visibility, which is quite limited due to those swoopy exterior lines.
All that being said, if you’re simply looking for a classy electric saloon car and don’t often need to carry large amounts of luggage or adult passengers in the rear, the Mercedes EQE is a very fine option. It’s as good to drive (if not quite as fast) as a Tesla Model S, while being much better built and more luxurious inside. We’d rather Mercedes hadn’t reduced range and charging speeds compared to the EQS, but the upside of these moves is a reasonable starting price (compared to its rivals) of just over £76,000.