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||394 miles||14hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||33mins (10-80%, 170kW)|
Mercedes is near the forefront of electric car development, and is busy creating electric alternatives to its traditional model range. This Mercedes EQE is the battery-powered equivalent of the Mercedes E-Class executive saloon, albeit with sleeker aerodynamic styling and a chunkier pricetag.
In reality, it has more similarities with the Mercedes EQS, the brand’s luxury flagship electric saloon. The two share a platform and even look very closely related (there’s a badge near the wing mirror to tell you which you’re looking at). The EQE is expensive next to an E-Class, but looks reasonable value compared to the EQS, which is considerably more costly.
Key rivals include cheaper versions of the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT, plus the Tesla Model S, although the Tesla isn’t currently available to buy. In the coming years, it’ll also face up against the Polestar 5, BMW i5 and Audi A6 e-tron executive saloons, as well as 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+ was originally the sole choice for UK buyers. It was quickly joined by the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 performance version, but soon after orders of the EQE 350+ were paused due to supply constraints. At the moment, the 350+ isn’t available to order in the UK; buyers can instead choose a slightly less powerful EQE 300 version. This is a temporary measure, we’re told.
Our EQE 350+ test car has a 90kWh battery for a 356-mile range (394 for a car on the smallest alloys) 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.
Buy the EQE 300 and you won’t be missing out on an awful lot. Its 242bhp output and identical 565Nm torque figure allows a 7.3-second 0-62mph sprint, while the range figure stands at 346-384 miles depending on the exact specification of the car.
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 the rapid AMG version is unsurprisingly better in this respect).
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.
Opt for this setup and the EQE doesn’t feel that far removed from a cheaper Mercedes C-Class. Instead of a glossy bank of screens, the passenger has to look at a large slab of rather plain trim; our test car had a couple of frustrating rattles as well.
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 rear seat 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.