Mercedes EQE review

Category: Electric car

A refined and comfortable electric car that has a very long range, but the BMW i4 is cheaper and quicker

Mercedes EQE front cornering
  • Mercedes EQE front cornering
  • Mercedes EQE rear cornering
  • Mercedes EQE interior dashboard
  • Mercedes EQE interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQE interior infotainment
  • Mercedes EQE right driving
  • Mercedes EQE front cornering
  • Mercedes EQE rear left driving
  • Mercedes EQE front right driving
  • Mercedes EQE left static boot open
  • Mercedes EQE alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes EQE badge detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior front seats
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE boot open
  • Mercedes EQE boot open
  • Mercedes EQE front cornering
  • Mercedes EQE rear cornering
  • Mercedes EQE interior dashboard
  • Mercedes EQE interior back seats
  • Mercedes EQE interior infotainment
  • Mercedes EQE right driving
  • Mercedes EQE front cornering
  • Mercedes EQE rear left driving
  • Mercedes EQE front right driving
  • Mercedes EQE left static boot open
  • Mercedes EQE alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes EQE badge detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior front seats
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE interior detail
  • Mercedes EQE boot open
  • Mercedes EQE boot open
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Author Avatar
by
Dan Jones
Published13 November 2023

Introduction

What Car? says...

The design process for this Mercedes EQE was a bit like ripping out your kitchen and starting again, rather than merely replacing the fixtures and fittings.

You see, while Mercedes builds some of its electric cars on modified underpinnings of existing models, the EQE sits on a bespoke electric set-up. That allows the engineers to really, er, throw the kitchen sink at the car – creating a new model without compromise, and maximising performance, range and practicality.

So, where does the Mercedes EQE fit into the German car maker's range? Well, it helps to explain the naming structure.

The EQ bit of its name means it's an electric vehicle, while the last E refers to its size. In other words, the EQE is a Mercedes E-Class sized electric vehicle – or, if you prefer, a smaller, less expensive alternative to the (S-Class sized) Mercedes EQS.

That puts it in direct competition with the Audi e-tron GT, the BMW i5 and the Porsche Taycan. So can it match those models for pace, performance and – crucially in this class – electric range? That's what we'll tell you in this review. Read on to learn more...

Overview

If you’re looking for a refined and comfortable electric car that has a very long range, the Mercedes EQE is well worth a look. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the cheaper BMW i4 has a similar range, quicker performance and better practicality. The entry-level EQE 300 in AMG Line trim is our recommended version.

  • Impressive range
  • Comfortable ride
  • Very refined
  • Poor rear visibility
  • Back seats are uncomfortable on long trips
  • Teslas have a better charging infrastructure
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The entry-level Mercedes EQE is badged the EQE 300. It has a 242bhp rear-mounted electric motor giving it a respectable but hardly scintillating 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds.

Up next is the EQE 350. It has one rear-mounted motor too, but it's more powerful, with a healthier 288bhp. That cuts the 0-62mph time to 6.4 seconds – although that's still slower than entry-level versions of the BMW i5 (6.0 seconds) and Tesla Model 3 (5.8 seconds).

Regardless of which version you go for, you can be sure that it’ll have enough power for your daily needs, with a smooth and linear delivery as you put your foot down. Of course, while the 300 will easily overtake most cars, the extra power of the EQE 350 means you have even more confidence when merging into traffic or taking advantage of gaps in traffic.

If you desire truly impressive performance and the traction benefits of four-wheel drive, there’s also the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53. It has two motors (one on each axle) and 616bhp, for 0-62mph in just 3.5 seconds. That’s quicker than the range-topping i5 M50 (3.8 seconds), but not quite as rapid as the Porsche Taycan Turbo (3.2 seconds).

So, what's the electric range like? Well, the EQE 300 and EQE 350 each have a big 89kWh battery, officially providing up to 388 miles of range, but unless you do all your mileage in the city, it’s unlikely you’ll get near this number.

Mercedes EQE image
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In our summer real range test the car covered 324 miles before running out of juice – 5 miles more than a Model 3 Long Range achieved on the same day. The AMG version gets a slightly larger 90.6kWh battery, but a shorter official range of 290 miles, which doesn’t quite match the 315 miles of an i5 M50.

Once you’re behind the wheel of the EQE, it quickly becomes clear that it’s designed for comfort and doesn’t want to tussle it out with the sportier electric cars available, the Audi e-tron GT and the Taycan. On twisting, broiling roads the standard steel suspension struggles to contain the movements of the body causing it to feel somewhat unsettled, while quick changes of direction generate a lot of body lean.

Cars on air suspension (which you get with the EQE in AMG Line Premium Plus and Exclusive Luxury trims) have a broader bandwidth. Sport mode does a reasonable job of resisting lean in the bends, while Comfort allowing the car to breathe on the motorway. However, the EQE still trips up over lumps and bumps around town, which the more controlled i5 doesn't.

The EQE is a big car at 4.9m long, so it’s not particularly manoeuvrable in tight car parks, but you can make life easier by opting for one of the top trims, which get rear-wheel steering as standard, reducing the turning circle and making the car easier to manoeuvre at low speeds.

Driving overview

Strengths Quiet at a cruise; excellent high-speed ride

Weaknesses Poor low-speed ride; lots of lean in bends; brakes could be smoother

Mercedes EQE rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Mercedes EQE has a raised dashboard that places the steering wheel unusually high. To achieve true comfort, you have to raise your seat a lot to match the wheel's height. It doesn’t feel entirely natural, but the seats are at least comfortable and snug, almost hugging you in place.

Forward visibility isn’t brilliant compared with the main rivals, such as the BMW i5, and it's hard to judge where the steeply sloped bonnet ends. Meanwhile, rear visibility is heavily compromised by the thick rear pillars and tiny rear window. The standard front and rear parking sensors, rear-view camera and blind-spot monitoring do help, though.

The driver gets a 12.3in digital display that’s found on other new models, including the Mercedes C-Class. As with that car's set-up, it’s fully configurable and can show multiple layouts for the dials, trip and media information, as well as navigation information. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as intuitive as the Virtual Cockpit in the Audi e-tron GT (which also gives you physical controls that are much easier to use than the EQE's touch-sensitive ones).

In the centre of the dashboard sits a 12.8in touchscreen running the latest MBUX infotainment system. It has a simple layout, crisp graphics and quick responses, but BMW’s iDrive system is much easier 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 available as an expensive option on the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 (Mercedes has hinted that it’ll be available on other versions eventually). It effectively turns the entire face of the dashboard into a screen, giving the driver and passenger control over their own separate areas. 

Even without the Hyperscreen, there's a lot of visual glamour thanks to the big screens, wood detailing (available on higher trims) and ambient lighting. Still, some of the EQE's fixtures and fittings feel disappointingly cheap or flimsy, particularly around the infotainment system and centre console. The e-tron GT, the i5 and the Taycan all feel better put together.

More positively, interior storage is impressive, with plenty of places to put your everyday items, including two large storage cubbies in the centre console and some big door bins.

Interior overview

Strengths Supportive and comfy seats; decent infotainment system; striking interior design

Weaknesses Strange driving position; patchy interior quality; poor visibility

Mercedes EQE interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

While the EQE is smaller than the Mercedes EQS it's still pretty spacious up front, with plenty of head and leg room for a six-foot adult and enough shoulder room that even a pair of broad rugby players won’t be rubbing shoulders.

It’s a different story in the back seats. While there’s plenty of leg room and a small central tunnel that gives the middle-seat occupant a little extra foot room, the rear bench itself is fixed quite low in relation to the floor.

As a result, rear passengers will find their knees bent at an awkward angle, while the short squab leaves their thighs with little support over long journeys. On top of that, the car’s swooping roofline restricts rear head room for taller passengers. The BMW i5 is far better in this regard. 

On the plus side, the EQE's 430-litre boot is a good square shape, and makes the most of the available space with a standard 40/20/40 split folding arrangement, just like in the Audi e-tron GT, the BMW i4 i5 and the Porsche Taycan.

We managed to fit six carry-on suitcases in the boot of the EQE – one less than we got in the e-tron GT, i5 and Taycan and three less than we squeezed into the Model 3. For a bigger boot and more space inside, have a look at the Mercedes EQE SUV – the higher riding electric SUV variant.

Practicality overview

Strengths Spacious up front; decent front seat adjustability 

Weaknesses Lack of headroom in rear; no frunk

Mercedes EQE interior back seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Our favourite Mercedes EQE, the 300 AMG Line Premium Plus, with its air suspension and rear-wheel steering, is a more expensive cash buy than a BMW i5 eDrive50 or a Porsche Taycan.

However, it comes packed with kit and benefits from competitive PCP finance deals, although the rivals are predicted to hold their value against depreciation slightly better. You can find the latest prices by checking our New Car Deals pages.

As with all electric cars, the EQE will be much cheaper to run as a company car than a petrol or diesel, because of the very low BIK tax rate.

In terms of charging, all versions have a maximum charging speed of 170kWh, which is slower than the i5’s max rate of 205kW, and the Model 3 Long Range's heady 250kW. 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 a little over 14 hours.

With the 300 and 350, there are four trim levels to choose from and we think the entry-level EQE 300 paired with AMG Line trim gives you a good balance between cost and equipment. It gets you 19in alloys, a panoramic glass sunroof, heated front seats, a wireless phone-charging pad, ambient interior lighting and a reversing camera as standard.

AMG Line Premium adds 20in alloys, keyless entry, four-zone climate control and a Driving Assistance package with adaptive cruise, lane-keep assistance and blind-spot warning.

However, we would recommend you step up to AMG Line Premium Plus as it nets you multi-spoke 21in alloys, a head-up display, a Burmester sound system, a heated windscreen, full LED headlights, a Parking Assist package with a self-parking system, a 360-degree reversing camera, air suspension and rear-wheel steering. Those last two features enhance the ride quality and agility of the car significantly. 

Topping off the range is the Exclusive Luxury 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, heated rear seats 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, a boot lid spoiler, AMG sport seats and the rear-wheel steering system.

When it was tested by Euro NCAP for safety in 2022, the model was awarded five stars out five, and scored highly for adult and child occupant protection. All versions have automatic emergency braking (AEB). The BMW i4 scored four stars when it was tested the same year, and did particularly poorly in the Safety Assist tests (the i5 hasn't been tested yet).

The EQE 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.

Costs overview

Strengths Competitive PCP finance deals; AMG Line Premium Plus version comes with all the kit you need

Weaknesses Expensive as a private purchase; relatively quick predicted depreciation; average maximum charging speed

Mercedes EQE interior infotainment

FAQs

  • The 300 and 350 versions are rear-wheel-drive only, so for the time being, only the high-performance 53 AMG model gets four-wheel drive.

  • The 300 and 350 versions have an official electric range of up to 388 miles, while the 4Matic four-wheel-drive 53 AMG drops down to 290 miles.

  • It's quite big, with a capacity of 430 litres, but the saloon opening is a bit narrow. It misses out on the handy front boot and large underfloor storage you get in the Tesla Model 3.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £68,360
or from £1,030pm
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Nearly new deals
From £47,300
RRP price range £68,360 - £115,860
Number of trims (see all)6
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 4
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £137 / £232
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £273 / £463
Available colours