New BMW i5 vs Mercedes EQE: practicality

BMW’s fully electric i5 aims to raise the bar for executive cars. But first it has to see off the Mercedes EQE...

BMW i5 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

Up front, the slightly taller BMW i5 offers a touch more head room, while the Mercedes EQE provides more leg room, but in reality you’ll find there’s plenty of space on offer in both even if you’re well north of six feet tall. These are cars designed to spend their lives pounding up and down motorways and therefore feel spacious and offer up plenty of storage space.

There is, however, more of a difference when you move to the rear seats. Both cars offer generous leg room, but the EQE’s curved roofline means head room is tight for tall passengers. This isn’t an issue in the i5. Moreover, the latter’s rear bench is mounted higher in relation to the floor than the EQE’s, so long-legged occupants won’t have to sit with their knees raised at an awkward angle. The seat base itself is also longer and provides better under-thigh support. There’s a tall floor hump that robs a middle passenger of foot room, though, whereas the EQE has a flat floor.

Mercedes EQE rear seats

Both cars have decent-sized boots, with the i5’s being slightly larger (490 litres versus 430). As a result, it can swallow seven
carry-on suitcases – one more than the EQE – with space left over for a couple of soft bags in both. Neither car has a front boot, but both provide underfloor storage for charging cables.

Only the EQE is equipped with an electric bootlid as standard (this is part of the £1700 Comfort Pack on the i5), but both have boot-mounted levers for folding down the handy 40/20/40 split rear seatbacks. When folded, the seatbacks are slightly inclined in both, but the EQE’s also create a step in the extended floor area.

Boot space

BMW i5

BMW i5 boot

Boot capacity 490 litres Suitcases 7

Mercedes EQE

Mercedes EQE boot

Boot capacity 430 litres Suitcases 6

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