A pilot’s licence should probably be a prerequisite to buying the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan.
Acceleration is so effortless and instantaneous that you can quickly find yourself flying through traffic and deep into what-seems-to-be-the-problem-officer territory. This tester, the EQE 500, clocked in at 402 hp, 633 lb-ft of torque, and a zero-to-100 km/hr time of 4.7 seconds.
If that’s not enough, Mercedes offers an even more potent AMG-tuned version that cuts more than a second from that standing sprint time. (There’s also the entry-level EQE 350 for those with less of a need for speed.)
Either way, the EQE is the car you need to take for a spin if you’re still wondering whether an electric vehicle (EV) can make your heart pound and your pulse race. Mash the accelerator at any speed and you’ll swear you’ve been kicked in the chest, such is the way this car buries you in your seat. The power of the EQE is unnerving, but oh-so delightful.
While the styling is definitely modern and futuristic, the Mercedes EQE sedan doesn’t look awkwardly electric like some of its compatriot products. Those unfamiliar with the way it’s powered might simply think the EQE is a thoroughly sleek and modern sedan. Meanwhile, the cabin is a delight for the senses, including smell, thanks to the optional fragrance dispenser.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had crash test data on the EQE sedan at the time of this writing. Across the pond, however, it was tested by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), where it received their highest five-star honour.
According to Euro NCAP, this means the EQE offers “overall excellent performance in crash protection” and is “well equipped with comprehensive and robust crash avoidance technology.” Indeed, the EQE 500 comes with a full array of the most advanced safety systems around. While it doesn’t offer hands-free highway driving, it will help you change lanes on by checking your blind-spot, and then making the change when it deems it safe to do so.
The EQE 500 sedan comes equipped with a very long list of standard features. Some of the more notable items include front seats that actively adjust pressure points as you drive in order to reduce fatigue; a climate control system with dust and pollen filter; voice-controlled Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with artificial intelligence; biometric authentication (like your smartphone), which identifies the driver via fingerprint; a 12.3-inch customizable digital instrument cluster; a 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen; a fabulous surround-sound stereo; and, of course, wireless phone charging, heated seats, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, customizable ambient lighting, and the list goes on and on.
Although this all-electric ‘Benz is user-friendly enough to allow you to get in and drive off, you’ll need to read the owner’s manual (and maybe even watch a few videos) in order to take advantage of all the features Mercedes has packed into it.
This is not a car – it’s a sophisticated computer on wheels, with myriad settings and possibilities. Just about the only oddity in the user-friendliness department is the lack of visibility out the rear window: the distance from the top to the bottom of the window, when looking through the rearview mirror, is only about six inches. [He means 152 mm, eh? – Ed.]
The other oddity is that there’s no way for anyone, other than an authorized mechanic, to open the hood. Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want anyone fiddling with anything under there, and it’s gone so far as to add a special compartment for the addition of windshield washing fluid to the side of the vehicle, just to make sure no one would ever need to pop open the hood at home.
The EQE has room for five, and rear-seat passengers get business-class levels of legroom. Cargo capacity is a decent 430 L, although that’s short of the EQE’s gas-powered counterpart, the E-Class sedan. The rear seats fold down for extra cargo capacity when needed, and there are plenty of storage compartments throughout the interior for everything from smartphones to water bottles, purses and beyond. While we’re on the subject of phones, my only gripe is that the wireless charging dock is right behind the cupholders in the centre console, which makes it impossible to access your phone when the cupholders are in use.
Consult your doctor if you can’t find a comfortable seating position in the EQE. Leather is standard, and both the driver and front passenger get 16-way power-adjustable seats, including cushion length and four-way power lumbar support. The rear seats are also exceptionally comfortable, with the middle seat less so, but still survivable on shorter trips.
Front seats are heated (ventilation is optional), and rear-seat heating is available as an upgrade. This tester was also equipped with massaging front seats. Finally, as far as noise, vibration, and harshness are concerned, these are not words you’ll use when driving this sedan. Smooth and silent are the only applicable adjectives.
The EQE 500 has so much instant torque on tap that it will relieve you of the anxieties other drivers have to endure. No longer will you wonder if you’ll make that next yellow light or squeeze ahead to merge from an ending lane. The answer is always a resounding yes. With 402 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque available from the word go, and with power transmitted to all four wheels for maximum traction, the EQE 500 sedan lowers stress levels while spiking adrenaline.
Driving Feel: 10/10
Despite all the available power and torque, the EQE 500 can be reigned in to provide a comfortable and relaxing ride. With four available settings – eco, comfort, sport, and a programmable individual setting – you can dial in the electric motors’ responsiveness, along with steering and suspension settings, to make the drive as serene or as aggressive as you might desire at any given moment.
The car handles beautifully on the open road, as well as on twists and turns, with minimal body roll. Advanced torque vectoring technology detects understeer while cornering and applies the inside rear brake while shifting torque to the outside wheel. This tester also came equipped with rear-axle steering, which improves the EQE’s agility and manoeuvrability at both low and high speeds.
Fuel Economy: 9/10
The estimated range of the 2023 Mercedes EQE 500 sedan is 418 km. With a Level 2 charger installed at home, a full charge takes a little less than 10 hours. Meanwhile, hooking up to a DC fast-charger can take it from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as half an hour. (The onboard navigation system can route the car to available public chargers when out and about.)
The number of EVs competing in this segment is growing, but none of them come cheap. Even so, the $95,000 starting price for the 2023 EQE 500 sedan is reasonable next to rivals like the Tesla Model S ($121,990 at the time of this writing), Audi E-Tron GT ($146,680), and Porsche Taycan ($131,700), to name a few.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 sedan has what it takes to turn even the most diehard EV naysayers. It can excite the senses and dominate the road, but it can also offer a luxurious and refined driving experience, coddling occupants in luxury and an oasis of tranquility.
Those who like the idea of luxury but don’t necessarily need all the power might be better off with the EQE 350, which starts at $85,600. On the other hand, those with more of a road warrior personality might prefer the potent AMG version, which starts at $121,500.
|Engine Displacement||260 kW|
|Engine Cylinders||Dual Permanently Synchronous Electric Motors|
|Peak Horsepower||402 hp|
|Peak Torque||633 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||25.0/25.5/25.2 kWh/100 km, 2.8/2.9/2.8 Le/100 km cty/hwy/cmb; 418 km est. range|
|Cargo Space||430 L|
|Model Tested||2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 Sedan|
|Price as Tested||$124,270|
$25,505 – Black / space grey Nappa Leather, $1,780; Pinnacle Trim, $10,000; AMG Line Exterior Package, $4,500; Climate Comfort Front Seats, $650; Multicontour Front Seats with Massage, $1,500; MANUFAKTUR Alpine Grey (non-metallic), $2,275; ENERGIZING package Plus, $100; Acoustic Comfort Package, $1,500; ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL Plus, $900; Heated Rear Seats, $700; Dash cam, $300; Rear-axle steering, $1,300