New Mercedes EQE vs Porsche Taycan

As the electric equivalent of an E-Class, the new Mercedes EQE has the potential to shake up the executive car category. But first it’ll have to beat the Porsche Taycan...

Mercedes EQE and Porsche Taycan with London bus

The contenders

NEW Mercedes EQE 300 AMG Line Premium

List price £79,345
Target Price £79,345

All-new electric executive saloon borrows heavily from the larger EQS, with a tech-filled interior and an impressive of cial range of 365 miles

Porsche Taycan RWD Performance Battery Plus

List price £83,709
Target Price £83,709

The Taycan is great to drive, with a plush interior and ultra-fast charging capability, but can the entry-level RWD version compete with the EQE as an everyday proposition?

If at first you don’t succeed, try again with a smaller, lower-priced, more attainable version of your first flagship electric executive saloon. That’s how the saying goes, right? We jest, but considering that the range-topping Mercedes EQS was designed to be an electric alternative to the mighty S-Class luxury car, it hasn’t quite lived up to that billing, with its impressive 400-mile-plus range and tech-filled interior overshadowed by inconsistent ride quality and a relatively cramped interior.

Mercedes EQE rear cornering

Hence the importance of the Mercedes EQE. As the electric equivalent of the venerable Mercedes E-Class, it aims to take the headline-grabbing features of the EQS – namely its impressive range and luxurious interior – and wrap them up in a more competitive package. And it certainly gets off to a good start where range is concerned: even in entry-level, rear-wheel-drive EQE 300 form (the model that should take the bulk of UK sales), you can officially travel for up to 365 miles before you need to stop to top up its sizeable, 89kWh (usable capacity) battery.

But there is a catch: the price. Because while the EQE is more ‘attainable’ than the £120,000 EQS, with prices starting from £74,345, it is still significantly more expensive than a range-topping BMW i4 or Tesla Model 3.

In fact, its elevated price point puts it right in the firing line of the Porsche Taycan. With superb handling, a plush interior and faster charging capability than most other electric vehicles (EVs), the Taycan is one of the best electric saloons you can buy. We’re testing it in entry-level RWD (rear-wheel-drive) guise with the £4454 Performance Battery Plus (which has a usable capacity of 83.7kWh, versus the standard 71kWh), but its official range of 313 miles still falls short of the EQE’s. So, has the Taycan finally met its match?

Porsche Taycan rear cornering


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

If there’s one thing that defines the performance of electric cars in general, it’s their instantaneous accelerator response, but we’re not convinced Mercedes got the memo. Weighing in at more than 2.3 tonnes and with its electric motor producing a relatively modest 241bhp, the EQE doesn’t so much surge off the line as stroll, posting a respectable but hardly scintillating 0-60mph time of 6.9sec.

In comparison, the Taycan – which produces up to 402bhp for short periods and weighs a good couple of hundred kilograms less – feels genuinely sprightly. Activate the easy-to-use launch control mode and you’ll be doing 60mph in just 5.2sec. The Taycan also takes far less time to dispatch a country-road dawdler or accelerate up to speed when joining a motorway.

The EQE’s unhurried demeanour extends to the way it handles. With soft suspension and loose body control, it doesn’t respond well to being pushed hard through corners; do so and you’ll encounter lots of body lean and limited grip. At least its steering, while light, is quick and accurate.

Mercedes EQE front cornering

In stark contrast, the Taycan is a delight to thread down a winding road. Sharp and agile, with tight body control and feelsome steering, it gets closer to feeling like a sports car than a hefty electric saloon has any right to. Four-wheel steering, which aids agility and low-speed manoeuvrability, is optional (but hardly necessary) on the Taycan; to get this on the EQE, you have to step up to a higher trim.

The EQE’s suspension may be softer, but this doesn’t translate into a more comfortable ride. It becomes floaty over undulations and allows sharp intrusions to send loud, unpleasant jolts through the interior. Hit an expansion joint in the Taycan and you might feel a small deflection through your seat, but in general its ride is smooth and composed.

We’ve tried an EQE on air suspension and the ride is far more sophisticated, but unlike in the Taycan, you can’t add this as an option; you need to fork out an extra £7000 for a higher trim to get it as a standard feature.

Porsche Taycan front cornering

Driving the EQE smoothly in an urban environment can be a challenge, because its brakes tend to be grabby and inconsistent, and the pedal feels numb. This isn’t a problem in the Taycan, with its stronger and more progressive braking performance.

Despite the shortcomings of its ride, the EQE can be a superb long-distance cruiser, because it’s incredibly quiet; you can barely hear any wind or road noise at 70mph. Wind noise is well suppressed in the Taycan too, but its tyres generate more rumble.

Another card the EQE has up its sleeve is efficiency. On a test route that included simulated motorway, country road and town driving (at our test track so that traffic conditions wouldn’t influence the results), the EQE returned 3.0 miles per kilowatt hour (kWh), giving it a theoretical real-world range of 267 miles. The Taycan's 2.8 miles/kWh translates into a 234-mile range. Neither is as efficient as a Model 3, though.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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