What Car? says...
The Mercedes EQE SUV is a taller, boxier version of the EQE electric saloon, and the two models share much of their technological make-up underneath.
Think of the EQE SUV as a slightly smaller version of the Mercedes EQS SUV and you’d be on the money. The EQE SUV doesn’t have the seven seats of the luxury SUV, but is far more modern and luxurious than the smaller (and ageing) Mercedes EQC.
It’ll travel further between charges than the EQC too, with an 89kWh or 91kWh (usable) battery capacity that’s enough to cover more than 300 miles officially.
While the Mercedes EQE places itself in direct competition with electric saloons, the EQE SUV is up against the best electric SUVs including the Audi Q8 e-tron, the BMW iX and the Jaguar I-Pace. So can it match those models for comfort, performance and electric range? That's what we'll tell you in this review.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
So far, we’ve tried the entry-level Mercedes EQE SUV, badged the EQE 350. It produces 288bhp and can sprint from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. That’s slower than the entry-level Audi Q8 e-tron 50 and the BMW iX xDrive40, but there’s still plenty of everyday performance available.
Occupants won’t be pinned back in their seats with much force, but the 350 will easily get up to motorway speeds and take advantage of gaps in traffic without requiring much planning. Four-wheel drive is standard, to help maximise traction.
Those wanting more brute force can look at the EQE 500, which develops 402bhp and cuts the 0-62mph sprint to 4.9 seconds.
Performance fans will be keener on the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53. With 617bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 3.7 seconds, it beats the Audi SQ8 e-tron’s 4.5 seconds time and is slightly quicker than the range-topping iX M60 (3.8 seconds).
When it comes to battery range, the EQE 350, with its 89kWh (usable) battery, officially provides up to 334 miles of range. Both the 500 and the AMG 53 have a slightly larger 91kWh (usable) battery, with the former officially covering up to 324 miles and the AMG version achieving up to 305 miles.
All EQE SUVs come with air suspension and it does a good job of ironing out bumps, especially when you venture above town speeds.
We’d avoid top-spec cars fitted with the largest 22in wheels, though, because the low-speed ride becomes a little busy and struggles to settle down, although it's not uncomfortable. The Q8 e-tron and the iX are better at isolating occupants from the road surface.
Where the EQE SUV struggles is when it's dealing with sharp dimples and crests: it transmits sudden vertical movements to occupants, jostling them around in their seats. It’s less violent than it is in the larger EQS SUV, but the rivals don't do it at all.
Wind, road and electric motor noise are kept to a minimum, with higher spec versions fitted with laminated windows to further trim out exterior noise.
Four-wheel steering is standard on AMG Line Premium Plus models and above. The back wheels can turn by up to 10 degrees and reduce the turning circle from 12.3m to 10.5m, which is smaller than you get in a Mercedes A-Class.
Initially, it takes some time to get used to how little steering lock is required when turning into corners, but it does a great job of making low-speed manoeuvres surprisingly effortless for this size of electric SUV.
Sport mode adds weight to the steering, making it feel more precise and easy to place on the road. Meanwhile, the air suspension and adaptive dampers do a good job of keeping the body upright and minimising body roll in this mode, with less body lean than with the iX.
The brake pedal is light and rather vague, which isn’t a big issue when you gently apply pressure in stop-start traffic, but it does need a good stamp to bring the car to a halt above town speeds.
Strengths Quiet at a cruise; neat handling
Weaknesses Low-speed ride comfort deteriorates on larger wheels; brakes could be smoother
The interior layout, fit and finish
If you like to sit high above the road, you’ll appreciate the Mercedes EQE SUV’s lofty driving position. You have a great view out over the bonnet and the windscreen pillars don’t impede your view very much at junctions.
It’s a similar story when you look over your shoulder, thanks to large side windows and a wide rear windscreen giving you plenty of rear visibility. Parking is easy, thanks to the standard parking sensors front and rear, and a 360-degree camera is standard with all trims except entry-level AMG Line, which gets a rear-view one.
Finding a comfortable driving position is easy, with electrical adjustment for the front seats and steering column. The seats feel plush and thickly padded, with electrically adjustable lumbar support on all trim levels.
The driver gets a 12.3in digital display that’s fully configurable and can show multiple layouts for the dials, trip and media information, as well as navigation information. It feels far less basic than the one in the Jaguar I-Pace, but it’s a shame you have to scroll through the menus using fiddly touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel.
The two lower tier trim levels come with a 12.8in portrait touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard running the latest MBUX infotainment system. It has a simple layout, crisp graphics and quick responses, but BMW’s iDrive system is much more precise to use while driving because of its physical shortcut buttons and rotary controller.
If you like the latest tech, you'll be interested in the Hyperscreen, which is standard on all the other higher spec versions (including the AMG 53 models). It combines three screens spanning the dashboard to form a huge single unit, giving the passenger control over their own separate area in front of them.
Even without the Hyperscreen, there's plenty of visual appeal thanks to the big screens, wood detailing (available on higher trims) and ambient lighting.
Most of the materials feel plush, but it doesn’t contrast well with some of the brittle-sounding plastic surrounds dotted around the dashboard. The Audi Q8 e-tron feels better put together.
Strengths Supportive and comfy seats; decent infotainment system; striking interior design
Weaknesses Doesn’t feel as robust as the best rivals
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
While the Mercedes EQE SUV is smaller than the flagship EQS SUV, it's still very spacious up front, with plenty of head and leg room for 6ft occupants. There’s little risk of them rubbing shoulders either.
Interior storage is impressive, with plenty of areas to put your everyday items. There’s a pair of cupholders and a deep storage cubby underneath the armrest in the centre console. There’s also a secondary storage tray under the centre console and some big door bins.
Rear-seat occupants will much prefer sitting in the EQE SUV than they would the saloon Mercedes EQE. That’s because they get more head room and sit slightly higher above the floor, so their knees aren’t as bent at an awkward angle.
Compared with rivals, there’s plenty of room to stretch out your legs, with more space to tuck your feet under the front seats than in the BMW iX.
Like in the iX, the floor is flat, so a middle passenger won’t have to sit with their feet on either side of a centre tunnel.
On paper, the EQE SUV’s 520-litre boot volume is less than what’s offered in the Audi Q8 e-tron and the Jaguar I-Pace, but slightly more than the iX’s. The boot area is a useful square shape, with enough storage space under the floor for charging cables and safety kit.
Like its rivals, the EQE SUV gets 40/20/40 split folding rear seats for when you need to accommodate larger items, although you can’t fold them down remotely from the boot. The backrest doesn’t recline or slide forwards to improve comfort or free up a little more boot space.
Strengths Spacious for all occupants; plenty of storage areas up front; useful boot capacity
Weaknesses Rear seats could be adjustable; no front boot
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
There are plenty of more affordable electric SUVs than the Mercedes EQE SUV. The cheapest version costs around the same as a top-spec Audi Q8 e-tron 50 Vorsprung. Similarly luxurious rivals include the BMW iX, the BMW iX3 and the Jaguar I-Pace.
At least it comes packed with kit and is predicted to hold on to its value against depreciation slightly better than the Q8 e-tron. You can find the latest prices by checking our New Car Deals pages.
In terms of charging, all versions have a maximum charging speed of 170kW, which matches the Q8 e-tron, but is slower than the iX’s maximum rate of 195kW.
A 10-80% charge should take 31 minutes if you can find a suitably powerful charging point, while a full charge using a 7kW home wall box charger will take around 14 hours.
With the 350, there are four trim levels to choose from and we think the entry-level AMG Line trim gives you a good balance between cost and equipment. It gets you 20in alloys, adaptive air suspension, privacy glass, keyless entry, LED headlights, ambient lighting, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, and three-zone climate control.
AMG Line Premium brings larger 21in alloys, a panoramic sunroof, additional ambient lighting, a Burmester sound system and a dashcam. You can have the EQE 500 in this trim and above.
Stepping up to AMG Line Premium Plus adds 22in alloys, the larger Hyperscreen infotainment system and rear-wheel steering.
Topping off the range is the Business Class trim. It forgoes some of the sportier touches of the AMG line trim cars, but still comes with five-spoke 21in alloys, Nappa leather seats, comfort front seats, a heated steering wheel and deck-style wood interior detailing.
For the AMG 53 models, there are two trims: Night Edition and Touring. Along with the improved performance, these versions get some sportier AMG styling details that include AMG 21in alloys, an AMG-specific grille, more aggressively styled bumpers and AMG sport seats. Both cost more than a BMW iX M60.
There isn’t a specific safety rating for the EQE SUV, but the saloon version was awarded five stars out five when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2022, and did well for adult and child occupant protection.
All versions of the EQE SUV have automatic emergency braking (AEB), active lane-keeping assist and blind-spot assist.
The EQE SUV is too new to feature in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey but Mercedes as a brand didn’t do very well. It finished in 27th place out of 32 manufacturers featured, putting it behind Audi in 14th place, Porsche in 15th and BMW in 16th.
Strengths Well equipped; marginally better residual values than main rivals
Weaknesses Expensive as a private purchase; average maximum charging speed
Yes, all versions come with four-wheel drive as standard.
The 350 version has an official electric range of up to 334 miles, while the 53 AMG drops down to 278 miles.
|RRP price range||£90,560 - £133,860|
|Number of trims (see all)||4|
|Number of engines (see all)||3|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||electric|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£181 / £268|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£362 / £535|