Mercedes EQE long-term test: report 1

The Mercedes EQE offers the longest real-world range of any car we've ever tested, theoretically making it the ideal choice for high-mileage drivers...

Mercedes EQE LT side driving

The car Mercedes EQE 300 Sport Edition Run by Neil Winn, Deputy Reviews Editor

Why it’s here To see if Mercedes’ premium electric executive car can excel as a long-distance tourer and justify its price premium over cheaper rivals

Needs to Combine outstanding comfort and refinement with a class-leading real-world range

Miles covered 800 List price £68,810 Target Price £64,810 Price as tested £69,505 Official range 380 miles Options fitted Manufaktur Alpine Grey Solid paint (£695)

12 March 2024 – EQE is in it for the long haul

My relationship with electric cars is probably best described as complex. As a car reviewer, a significant portion of my time is dedicated to testing them, and the majority of my experiences have been positive.

Indeed, I’ve set a world record (which you can watch in the video below) for the most countries visited in 24 hours in an electric car, co-authored a study into the real-world costs of public charging, and written hundreds of thousands of words praising their refinement and effortless performance.

And yet, I’ve always maintained that I (and many others) would struggle to run one as my only car. It’s an opinion that has led to various debates with electric enthusiasts over the years. "Did you know that more than half the vehicles in Great Britain travel less than 100 miles per week?" they ask me. "Are you aware that the average dwell time on a petrol forecourt is seven minutes? That’s 100 miles of range in a modern electric car."

However, unlike the majority of my colleagues, whose family all live in the south of England, my relatives are up in Scotland; door to door it is roughly 313 miles to my parent’s house, for example. It’s a trip I make regularly, and it’s a relative breeze in a modern petrol or diesel car (I’ve done the trip in one hit in everything from an Alpine A110 to a Volkswagen Up), but in an electric car, I've always felt I'd suffer from serious range anxiety.

Mercedes EQE LT rear driving

If you’re reading this and can relate, then allow me, dear reader, to be your guinea pig for the next few months. Yes, I’m going electric (the company car tax savings are just too big for me to ignore) and I’ve vowed to complete all my ‘big’ trips in the car I've chosen. But which electric car to pick?

Well, the answer was actually fairly obvious. Every summer and winter, we spend a day driving a range of electric models at our test facility in Bedfordshire from full until fully empty, to find out how far they’ll go in real-world conditions.

Last year, in our summer test, the Mercedes-Benz EQE 300, with its massive 89.9kWh battery and slippery aerodynamics set a new record of 329 real-world miles. The perfect electric car, then, in which to undertake big trips. 

I’ve gone for base Sport Edition trim, which comes on comparatively small 19in wheels which help give it the greatest official range of all the EQEs (380 miles), but it’s not what you would call generously equipped. 

EQE Interior Neil Winn Driving

Yes, you get climate control, LED headlights with high-beam assist, a reversing camera, heated seats, and ambient interior lighting (more on that in a bit), but you miss out on keyless entry, a panoramic glass roof, fully-electric seats, adaptive cruise control, an electric tailgate and a 360-degree parking camera – all of which come as standard on a base BYD Seal or Tesla Model 3.

But do you really need all of that tech? Personally, I don’t mind adjusting the seats manually, nor is it a hardship to shut the surprisingly light boot lid by hand.

On the other hand, I am a little unsure about the interior trim on my car. You see, Sport Edition model get a dashboard that is made up of one massive piece of plastic covered in hundreds of little Mercedes logos that illuminate at night. A couple of passengers have already remarked that it's a bit gaudy, which makes me wonder whether I should have upgraded to the AMG Line model, which replaces this with a lime wood panel.

Mercedes EQE LT front cornering

What I have no complaints about is performance. With a 242bhp rear-mounted motor, 0-62mph officially takes 7.3sec, but my car feels quite a bit faster than that due to the way the electric motor delivers instantaneous power. And personally, I’d prefer to give up a bit of pace in order to benefit from greater efficiency; the twin-motor 616bhp EQE 53 AMG, for example, has an official range of just 280 miles.

I also know from our range day that the EQE is a wonderfully relaxing long-distance companion. So I’m wasting no time. With a family wedding to attend to back in my homeland, I’ve grabbed my kilt and am about to set off for north of the border.

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