From the November 2022 issue Car and driver.
most of our lives Mercedes-Benz defined a luxury car. His cars were elegant, simple, well-mannered, technological and steeped in history. The company seems to be moving luxury items in a different direction with its battery-powered EQ models.
These changes are immediately visible in the new EQE. The electric E-Class equivalent has a body shape and details aimed at minimizing aerodynamic drag, with a superb achievement of a coefficient approaching 0.20. However, the editorial eye finds little to savor in the dumpling-like shape that hangs down at both ends and would be unidentifiable as a Benz without the large three-pointed star adorning its nose.
Inside, the EQE hews to recent Mercedes design with fine detailing, handsome wood and plush leather, though we could do without the extra bordello lighting – thankfully it can be turned off.
However, the logical controls have been lost to the new MBUX infotainment system. It took us a few days to figure out how to dim the instrument lighting, which is controlled under the menu labeled System—the category that usually contains software and firmware versions—rather than under the menu labeled Lighting, where it intuitively belongs . Even the “Hey Mercedes” voice function and the owner’s manual didn’t help. Moreover, the mass of tiny controls on the steering wheel spokes resembled a modern Formula 1 yoke and required more dexterity than necessary.
Still, the interior stretches comfortably front and rear, mainly because the EQE is larger than the E-Class sedan — 2.3 inches longer, 2.5 inches wider and 1.7 inches taller, with 7 .1 inch longer in wheelbase. Of course, some of that extra volume is dedicated to the 90.6kWh battery under the floor.
Surprisingly calm on most road surfaces, with roll, pitch and vertical jolts well limited, this smooth-riding electric sedan soaks up even the usual bumps from potholes and pavement joints. It’s also extremely quiet inside. The sounds of the electric transmission are muffled, wind noise seems to be completely absent, and road resonance is minimal. We clocked a sound level of 66 decibels at 70 mph—three decibels quieter than the E450 we tested last year—but the cabin feels even quieter than those numbers suggest.
On the other hand, the 5,488-pound EQE isn’t the most nimble. It easily handles tight corners with minimal lean, but the Bridgestone Turanza T005 soft summer rubber maxes out at just 0.86g and takes 178ft to stop from 70mph. The tires are clearly optimized for ride, quietness and fuel economy, not grip.
This is appropriate because the EQE controls do not encourage spirited driving. The steering is precise and accurate, but feels synthetic. In sport mode, the effort is increased, but not the feedback. And the brake pedal is especially weird because it applies itself when you let off the gas pedal and the regenerative braking starts. When you actually push the pedal, there is little to no travel; modulation is all from pressure.
The accelerator works well, the EQE reacts with the wonderful immediacy and smoothness that characterizes electric transmissions. With 288 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque, it zips around town with gusto. The car accelerates to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and completes the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 97 mph. But the faster you go, the less peppy the EQE becomes. Its 60-60 mph time is 9.8 seconds, which is slightly better than the old four-cylinder E300. Get out to drive down a two-lane road at 55 mph and the EQE seems a lot less ambitious.
The EPA hasn’t released its range estimate yet, but we expect it to be 300 miles. Starting at $79,050, the EQE350 4Matic doesn’t come cheap. In time, a less expensive single-engine, rear-wheel-drive version will be offered, along with the 402-hp EQE500. and AMG EQE53 with 617 hp.
As a luxury electric sedan, the EQE is comfortable, quiet and refined. But it’s a shame that Mercedes has given up many of its other traditional qualities in pursuit of zero tailpipe emissions.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE350+ 4Matic
Vehicle type: front and mid-engine, four-wheel drive, 5-seat, 4-door sedan
Base / As Tested: $78,950 / $94,390
Options: Pinnacle trim, $3,050; Neva Gray/Sable Brown leather upholstery, $2,990; Winter package (heated rear seats, steering wheel, windshield, windshield washer), $1,500; 10-degree rear axle steering, $1,300; Driver Assistance Package (Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Change Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Emergency Stop Assist, Steering Assist, Side Collision Pre-Safe, Advanced Auto Restart), $1,250; digital LED headlights, $1,100; Acoustic Comfort Package, $1,100; 20-inch AMG wheels, $850; ventilated front seats, $450; air energy management with HEPA filter, $450; 110 volt emergency charging cable, $250
Motors: AC synchronous with permanent magnets
Combined power: 288 hp
Combined torque: 564 lb-ft
Battery: Li-ion with liquid cooling, 90.6 kWh
On-board charger: 9.6 kW
Peak speed of direct current fast charging: 170 kW
Transmissions, F/R: Direct Drive/Direct Drive
Suspension, L/R: multi-link/multi-link
Brakes, front/rear: 15.4-inch ventilated disc/14.9-inch ventilated disc
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza T005 B-Silent
255/40R-20 101Y Extra Load MO-S
Wheelbase: 122.8 inches
Length: 196.6 inches
Width: 76.2 inches
Height: 59.5 inches
Passenger volume: 104 feet3
Cargo volume: 15 feet3
Curb weight: 5,488 lbs
C/D EXAMINATION RESULTS
60 mph: 5.3 sec
1/4 mile: 13.9s @ 97 mph
100 mph: 15.0 sec
130 mph: 29.8 sec
The results above are omitted 1 foot deployment 0.3 sec.
Start from 5–60 mph: 5.3 sec
Top Gear, 30–50mph: 2.3s
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.5 sec
Top speed (gov ltd): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 feet
Braking, 100–0 mph: 358 feet
Road resistance, 300-foot pad: 0.86g
C/D FUEL AND CHARGING ECONOMY
Observed: 85 MPGe
Highway driving at 75 mph: 67 MPGe
Highway distance at 75 mph: 260 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/City/Highway: 97/95/100 MPGe
Range: 300 miles
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