Mercedes EQE long-term test

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 with Neil

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 6122 List price £68,810 Target Price £64,810 Price as tested £69,505 Official range 380 miles Test range 280 miles Dealer price now £46,141 Private price now £41,015 Running costs (excl. Depreciation) Electricity £790

05 June 2024 – Ask me anything

As an automotive journalist, I often find myself answering the same questions from friends, family, and curious enthusiasts: “What’s the best, worst, fastest, most expensive [insert your chosen adjective here] car you’ve ever driven?” However, in recent years, a more serious question has emerged: “Should I buy an electric car?

EQE Twins Neil

This seemingly simple question is surprisingly complex to answer, especially in informal settings (like trying to eat copious amounts of cake at someone’s wedding). Everyone’s situation is different, with factors like financing, the ability to charge at home, and range all coming into play. Personally, I’ve always believed that running an electric vehicle (EV) as my only car would be a struggle due to my long commute and family scattered across the country.

However, after being asked this question for the umpteenth time last week, I found it was time to reconsider my stance. Without quite realising it, I’ve covered more than 6000 miles in my Mercedes EQE in the past few months. And honestly, it has been an absolute breeze, largely thanks to the EQE’s impressive 300-mile range.

Lancaster Services in the EQE

I’ve read numerous opinion pieces on EVs claiming that fast charging is more important than a big range. While I agree in theory (we’d all love an EV that could be recharged as quickly as a petrol car), the current charging network is lacking. There are too few fast chargers, and those available are often unreliable. This makes the EQE’s range feel like a luxury, allowing me to visit family in Yorkshire and Wales without needing to stop for a top-up.

Having a big range is only the tip of the iceberg of course, and like all electric car makers, Mercedes is putting its full force behind both range and efficiency. In a interview with Christoph Starzynski, Vice President of Vehicle Engineering and Overall Vehicle Functions at Mercedes, I lost track of the number of innovations his team is working on. They’re experimenting with multi-source heat pumps, air-cooled batteries, solar panels, 850-volt architectures, active aerodynamics, and cheaper, more energy-dense batteries.

As an engineering buff, this excites me massively. Yet, it hasn’t translated into big sales for the brand. According to our sister magazine Autocar, slow sales of both the EQE and its bigger, more luxurious sibling, the EQS, have forced Mercedes to cancel the development of new underpinnings which would have been used on its future electric models. Adding to the woes, Mercedes has postponed its goal of achieving a 50% EV share of sales from 2025 to 2030 and rolled back plans to sell electric cars only by 2030 “in markets where the conditions allow.”

However, I don’t believe the poor sales are due to EV reluctance. Instead, poor interior quality and a lack of standard equipment make it hard for private buyers to consider a base EQE over a cheaper Tesla Model 3 or Volkswagen ID 7. My car, for instance, lacks keyless entry, a panoramic glass roof, fully-electric seats, adaptive cruise control, an electric tailgate, or a 360-degree parking camera – all standard on those rivals.

EQE Lime Wood Trim

If I were to run an EQE again, I’d opt for the AMG Line Premium Plus trim, because, in a rather ironic sense, the more expensive model feels better value for money. In my last update, I mentioned the classy lime wood trim, double-glazed windows, and superb Burmester sound system of the Plus, but failed to highlight that it also benefits from a plusher air-suspended ride, greater manoeuvrability thanks to rear-wheel steering, and the incredible Digital LED headlights that can bend light around other road users. That’s the kind of kit I feel most EQE drivers are going to want. 

On a more positive note, even in base spec, my EQE was easy to live with. Rear seat passengers, including my Australian Labradoodle, Dino, never complained about the space. The touchscreen infotainment system was more intuitive than I expected, and average efficiency of 3.2 miles per kWh provided a real-world range of around 280 miles.

Dino riding shotgun in the EQE

Yes, the EQE is a mixed bag, but there is real potential there, which gives me hope for the recently unveiled facelift model. With a 96kWh bigger battery and a longer official range of 431 miles, the new 350+ model (the replacement for the 300) should be an even better long-distance companion. And if I had my time with the EQE again, it might well be the version I opt for.

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