The electrification of vehicles has proven to be a task that many automotive manufacturers take drastically different paths in doing so, and at times the result is something that we didn’t quite expect. That isn’t to say that any new EVs are bad, especially the all-new Mercedes-AMG EQE fully-electric sedan that I had a chance to check out this week.
What I have found in the new 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE Sedan is that we shouldn’t expect most of what we’ve enjoyed in AMG vehicles of the past mostly because new electric vehicle (EV) AMGs are a completely different platform animal. Sure, there’s plenty of power and performance, but is there excitement in playing with that EV performance this time around? It’s almost as if Mercedes is dictating to us what we should want in a performance Benz – but is it what we really want, or enjoy for that matter?
The new Mercedes-AMG EQE fills the spot of the E Class AMG Mercedes at its E63 level, but what we have in the AMG EQE Sedan is a completely different design that mostly only retains the midsize proportions of the E Class. Apart from that, the AMG EQE Sedan beats to a different drum, one that utilizes a pair of electric motors, one at each axle, to produce 617 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque and momentarily producing as much as 677 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque utilizing the standard Dynamic Plus package’s overboost function during Race Start mode (launch mode). The Race Start mode is rather entertaining as you press the brake firmly, stomp your foot flat on the accelerator, then the vehicle starts to shake, the front seatbelts tighten, and you hear an amplified Jetsons vehicle tune play through the speakers just before you release the brake to hear an even louder tune that nearly matches the G forces you feel.
The power is strong and relentless in most conditions, but that’s mostly dependent on your drive mode, of which there are five: snow, individual, comfort, sport, and sport+. Through each drive mode, the power output varies where Sport+ yields the full 617 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque opening up the momentary use of overboost during a Race Start mode with 677 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. Using the Race Start mode will get you to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds without fail. The 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires, in a 265 front and 295 rear width staggered size, proved to be quite grippy but are claimed to offer added efficiency for lower rolling resistance when compared to their Pilot Sport 4S counterparts.
The driving dynamics of the AMG EQE Sedan feel mostly artificial and weighted. With the AMG EQE Sedan tipping the scale at 5,569 pounds, there’s a lot of heft to contend with, and you can feel it at times when you’re driving in the Comfort mode with the adaptive air suspension set in its most relaxed mode. Dial up Sport+ mode, and the adaptive dampers stiffen, and the air suspension lowers the vehicle slightly for better handling through a lower center of gravity. Moreover, the dynamics of the AMG EQE Sedan change with its all-wheel-drive programming becoming a bit more aggressive where you feel it biting down with some vectoring out of turns with more authority versus doing the same maneuver in the Comfort drive mode.
There’s something odd about how the AMG EQE Sedan feels out on the road, starting with the braking pedal that is somewhat inconsistent at lower speeds. Though, at higher speeds, the braking feels excellent using the optional Carbon Ceramic brakes on my test vehicle in conjunction with the regenerative braking that has four modes: no regen, normal regen, strong regen (basically a one-pedal drive mode), and intelligent regen that uses the front radar to automatically add regen upon approaching vehicles. In the normal regen mode, the AMG EQE feels more like a traditional gas-engine vehicle for deceleration. The overall ride quality is decent, but I feel that Mercedes could do more to adapt to road conditions, even if it has more of sporty feeling being an AMG vehicle. That bit of extra work could be the difference in making the AMG EQE Sedan inspire more confidence in driving it aggressively, even though it handles exceptionally well for its mass.
The rear wheel steering adds a slight nimbleness to the dynamics of the vehicle where the rears can turn as much as 3.6 degrees in either direction at lower speeds for an ultra-short turning radius. The steering feel is mostly numb, but there’s a welcomed weighted feeling when gripping the rather thick, flat bottom wheel.
The new Mercedes-AMG EQE Sedan is stated to have a range of 225 miles, but I’m beginning to think most manufacturers, like Mercedes, are understating the range figures or at least compensating for the range decline in cooler temperatures as batteries degrade in performance when they are cold. However, in my hot 90-degree Florida weather during the week with the AMG EQE Sedan, the range was somewhat extended, getting me as much as 242 miles with about 12 miles left indicated by one of the range readouts. I say one of the readouts because the AMG EQE gives you two range calculations, one for the “maximum” range and the other as a case for driving a little outside of normal perimeters. The Max range estimate seems to be what you could muster out of the battery if you turned off the air conditioner and utilized the reserved power output setting by configuring your desirable drive settings in the Individual drive mode. The AMG EQE Sedan’s EPA estimates are 74 MPGe city and 73 MPGe highway.
As far as charging, the AMG EQE Sedan can accept up to 170 kW from a DC fast charger taking about 32 minutes for a 10% to 80% state of charge. Using a Level 2 240-volt home charger the AMG EQE Sedan hoovers around 9.6 kW to get you around 20 to 30 miles per hour added to the 90.6 kWh battery pack.
In the true fashion of Mercedes-Benz, the interior of the AMG EQE Sedan is a nice space utilizing the latest setup of its waterfall infotainment touchscreen running the brand’s MBUX system. The digital gauge cluster is slightly updated with different themes to fit the electrification information that the driver needs, but the screen feels like it is mounted a bit too high for my liking, as the steering wheel tends to block a good portion of the upper real estate of the screen. A color head-up display would help with such an issue, which comes equipped on the upper AMG EQE Pinnacle trim.
The complications from the new MBUX setup and touchscreen tend to frustrate you more than most. The system has many features that you fail to understand until you spend several days overcoming the long learning curve. While there is no hyperscreen setup that has a third screen for the front passenger, there’s more than enough screen to digest – so much that it took me 4 solid days of commuting to realize there’s an onscreen shortcut button in the top left for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which can be integrated via USB connection or wirelessly. I did, however, notice the mostly-hidden wireless charger pad far under the center screen forward of the cupholders.
The seating areas have a good amount of spacing and ample power adjustments via clever pressure-touch controls on the door. The up front seats, with heating, ventilation, and massaging functions, are comfy, but I would have liked to see an option for seats like the ones that you find in the Mercedes-AMG GT. The flat floor allows for some extra spacing and storage below the front console. Additionally, with a wheelbase that’s about 7 inches longer than the normal E Class, the AMG EQE Sedan has a lot more legroom to stretch out. The limited selection of physical buttons and a push-button-capacitive volume slider all seem to eventually be agreeable, but only after a few hours of use to become acclimated to their unique response.
Out back, the seating area has a good amount of legroom but it is mostly basic without any climate functions, only a large plastic panel where such controls are placed for the higher AMG EQE Pinnacle trim for a 4-zone system. The cargo space is good as well, accessed by a power trunk lid, which should have been a hatch door considering the sloping angle of the AMG EQE Sedan’s rear end. One thing to note, the rear window is very short limited reward visibility, and the front windshield has an aggressive rake that may amplify reflections and seeing over the dashboard, which is all from the high beltline of the AMG EQE Sedan.
As you expect, the AMG EQE Sedan comes with a full array of expected active safety features, which include the highlights of adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance, forward collision warning with automatic braking, front and rear cross-traffic warning, an automated parking system, and one of the widest-angle 360-degree camera systems I’ve ever experienced.
The Mercedes-AMG EQE Sedan is a very unique vehicle that has most onlookers doing a double-take. That double-take could be for one of many reasons, one being that the AMG EQE Sedan looks just like its bigger EQS sibling, has a sportier appeal with its unique wheels and bubbly roof line, and has a stately menacing presence. When you dish out the base price of $106,900, the AMG EQE Sedan is quite competitive in its segment for electric luxury performance sedans. Adding on the options, which raises the price to $123,390 for my nicely-equipped test vehicle, people may naturally start to wonder if the value remains. Considering the larger proportions of the AMG EQE Sedan over its E Class gas-powered counterpart and the collective of the features and jolting electric power, the price of admission isn’t such a bad deal in my view.