A Superb EV Offering as the Sun Sets on the Internal Combustion Engine
The all-new 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV continues the brand’s march towards a full-electric fleet of cars and sport-utes.
According to Mercedes’ current plans, all new-vehicle architectures are to be exclusively electric from 2025. Benz buyers will then have a fully electric alternative to choose from for each model. The company is investing significantly more in research and development to achieve this.
The new EQE SUV joins the EQE and EQE Sedans and EQB and EQS SUV in Mercedes-Benz full-electric lineup. The EQE SUV is the second fully-electric SUV to be based on the brand’s premium-class electric architecture, following the EQS SUV.
The five-seater EQE SUV is available in three trim levels – EQE 350+, EQE 350 4MATIC, and EQE 500 4MATIC. Range varies from 305 in the single-motor EQE 350+, to 269 miles for the dual-motor EQE 4MATIC.
Key competitors for the EQE SUV include the Audi Q8 e-tron (up to 285 miles of range – $74,400), and BMW iX (up to 307 miles of range – $87,100).
The EQE SUV incorporates the same “One-Bow’ design language shared with the EQE Sedan.
With the EQE SUV, the styling results of the cab forward design are not as dramatic as in the EQE Sedan. But that’s not to say the EQE SUV’s design is compromised, as it certainly isn’t. It simply doesn’t scream “I’m an EV” like the EQE Sedan. Depending on the viewing angle, the EQE SUV can look rugged or luxurious. Up front, a blackout grille panel unit continues the face of the new generation of Mercedes-EQ vehicles. A three-dimensional grille star is an available option. LED headlamps are standard, while “Digital Light” is available as an option. Digital Light headlight modules house three powerful LEDs, with light refracted by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. Almost unbelievably, the micromirror clusters are the size of an adult thumbnail.
Along the sides, flush-fitting door handles are standard, while running boards are optional. Door panels are deeply sculpted, with a raised mid-character line flowing slightly upward from front to rear doors. Depending on trim, wheel sizes range from 19 to 21 inches.
At the rear, a continuous LED light strip lends an athletic air. Depending on trim, a chrome underguard sits in the black surroundings of the lower bumper.
From stem to stern, the EQE SUV has been produced with myriad aerodynamic features that assist with efficiency and improve overall performance. Combine those advanced aero features with extensive sealing and insulation measures that lessen wind and ambient noise, and the result is a super-quiet EQE SUV passenger cabin.
Inside, there are no rugged pretenses. The EQE SUV is all Benz, which means full luxe. Depending on trim, you are treated to leather, piano black and carbon fiber trim, LED mood lighting with scores of color choices, and the optional super-impressive “Hyperscreen,” which at 55 inches in width, covers the dash almost from door to door, adding a third OLED screen for the pleasure of front seat passengers, allowing for video streaming or gaming, among other options.
EQE SUV with 55″ Hyperscreen
Slide behind the meaty, leather flat-bottom steering wheel, and EQS SUV’s performance potential comes to mind, and on the road, it doesn’t disappoint. As expected, a gaggle of luxury, comfort, and convenience features are standard or available depending on trim.
A thermal heat pump assists with interior heat. Waste heat from the electric drive (inverter and electric motor) and also the high-voltage battery can be used to heat the interior. This drastically reduces the draw on battery power for the heating system, increasing overall range.
Lithium-Ion battery capacity is 90.6 kWh for all trims.
A latest-generation charging system sits above the rear axle of the EQE SUV. It can be used to charge the battery with a charging capacity of up to 9.6 kW.
A DC fast charging system with a charging capacity of up to 170 kW is standard on all trims, allowing for 10-80% charges in 32 minutes. Level 2 charging from 10-100% takes 9.5 hours.
Three charging programs are offered in the EQE SUV – Standard, Home and Work. Parameters such as departure time, air conditioning and maximum charge level can be preset. The Home and Work charging programs can be activated based on location. This means that they are switched on automatically as soon as the vehicle is parked at a charging point at the positions stored in the system.
U.S. customers receive two years of complementary 30-Minute DC Fast Charging Sessions on the Electrify America Network.
Safety and Technology
Mercedes-Benz has a legendary history of vehicle occupant safety, and the EQE SUV impresses with standard and optional advanced driver assistance safety systems including Active Distance Assist, Active Lane Keeping and Blind Spot Assist, and PRE-SAFE PLUS including PRE-SAFE Impulse Side impact protection.
Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Emergency Stop Asist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, and Active Speed Limit Assist with Traffic Sign Assist are among myriad additional EQE SUV safety attributes.
On smooth and pockmarked roads in Lisbon, Portugal, the new EQE SUV proved a worthy road performer. Acceleration is good, with a zero-60 time of 6.3 seconds for the 350+, 6.2 seconds for the 350 4Matic, and 4.6 seconds for the 500 4Matic.
Handling is impressive. Our test model was outfitted with optional Airmatic air suspension with ADS+ continuously variable damping. Even on rough roads across Portugal, the Airmatic system, combined with the EQE SUV’s extensive sound dampening, delivered a serene ride.
Another significant option on our tester was rear-axle steering. In parking or narrow street maneuvers, the steering angle at the rear axle can change up to 10 degrees. At higher speeds, handling benefits from a virtual extension of the wheelbase, and the system integrates steering and brake control making for more precise and stable handling at those higher speeds.
Thanks to ECO Assist, the EQE SUV offers true one-pedal driving, as the Eco Assist system also decelerates automatically to a standstill when it detects vehicles ahead, for example at traffic lights.
Clean and Green
In addition to the brand’s aggressive march towards full electrification, Mercedes-Benz is also moving rapidly to becoming a carbon-neutral automaker. For example, Mercedes-Benz has agreed to purchase battery cells manufactured in a CO2-neutral manner. Almost 40 percent of the steel required for the EQE SUV bodyshell comes from recycled materials. Numerous EQE SUV components are made partly from recycled and renewable raw materials. These include grab handles with plastics from chemical recycling, and interior materials made from a microfiber fleece fabric consisting of over 40 percent recycled material.
Having visited 79 countries so far, I don’t take it lightly when I proclaim that Lisbon is one of my “Top Five” destinations.
The city is steeped in history and culture. Traditional Portuguese cuisine offerings are sensational. The city reminds me a lot of San Francisco, California with steep hills and a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge (the Ponte 25 de Abril Suspension Bridge). There is also the Christ the King (Almada) statue that looks very much like the Christ Church statue in Brazil. With a vibrant, fit population of about 545,000, you can enjoy the city without feeling surrounded by millions like in Tokyo, Japan and Mumbai, India. It’s a great walking city!
Lisbon and all of Portugal are known for producing hand-made tiles, and for the verve of the old city. Climb steep hills to São Jorge Castle, and the view of the old city’s pastel-colored buildings, the Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Nearby, the National Azulejo Museum displays 5 centuries of decorative ceramic tiles. Just outside Lisbon is a string of Atlantic beaches, from Cascais to Estoril.
Portuguese is the official language, but English is widely spoken.
Beautiful tile work adorns many sidewalks in the Old City
Sunrise in Lisbon
Great food and views on the beach in Caiscais
Pursuitist automotive and lifestyle contributor Brian Armstead has been involved in print, radio, web and television for over 47 years. Brian has traveled to 79 countries. He is a North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) Juror.