Great Luxury Sedan, Better EV
Mercedes-Benzs launched their quickly expanding all-electric EQ sub-brand with the EQS sedan, arguably the first EV to come from an established brand that truly delivered the flagship luxury sedan experience. Well, it’s time now to determine if this midsize EQE sedan can deliver the same experience for the rest of us.
Making a fully electric luxury flagship sedan is easy when money is no object, and Mercedes sure created a great one with last year’s EQS. Bringing that excellence down to a lower price point is much more difficult; but Mercedes wasted no time undertaking it with this midsize 2023 Mercedes-EQE.
The interior is not quite to EQS levels of sophistication, but still glorious to look at and with all the ambient lighting, almost as high-tech feeling.
While the EQS’ wide Hyperscreen dash is available, a more traditional setup is standard with the central control panel housing a 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen, with a tablet style 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster mounted upright behind the steering wheel. The MBUX interface is similar and responds quickly, with most functions easy to find. Standard navigation with Electric Intelligence will plan the most efficient route, or one with charging stations if necessary.
Whether you stick with the standard MB-Tex upholstery or upgrade to real leather, the feel is luxurious throughout. Front seats are very comfortable, as are the rear seats with plenty of legroom. A large panoramic roof and a premium Burmester sound system are standard.
Regen braking has three levels right up to full 1-pedal driving, plus an auto setting which never seemed to give the feedback we were looking for. Overall, the EQE was very solid feeling on the road, behaving more like a typical Mercedes-Benz sedan than an electric car. The only detractor from the experience was a very thick sloping A-pillar which seemed to be in our line of sight more than we’d like.
On to more specific powertrain details. A base 350+ features a single rear motor rated at 288-horsepower and 305-miles of range from a 90.6-kWh battery. An additional motor can be added up front for 4MATIC all-wheel drive both in 350 form, and this top of the line 500 4MATIC which cranks out 402-horsepower from 300kWs worth of dual-motors. No official range figure for the 500 yet, but our car indicated as many as 263-miles available, though based on our driving loop, around 220 seems much more realistic.
Off to Mason Dixon Dragway to see how that 400-plus horsepower translates to acceleration times.
While there was enough oomph off the line to press us back in the seat a bit, it felt mostly smooth for a somewhat soft launch. There are plenty of unique hyperdrive-like sounds to go along with the very quick 4.0-second trip to 60 miles-per-hour. According to Mercedes, torque delivery is checked 10,000-times per minute, distributing power to front and rear motors, according to traction, way faster than is possible with any mechanical system. Power stayed pretty consistent until just before the end of the ¼-mile, where it tapered off slightly as we finished in 12.6-seconds at 108 miles-per-hour.
In our handling course, the EQE delivered a very unique experience as its optional rear axle steering provides an extreme 10-degrees of turning, which translated to very little input needed to the steering wheel to change direction quickly. And while that hyper responsiveness took some getting used to, the minimal body roll and overall well-balanced nature were much appreciated. And needless to say, whipping in and out of parking spots is a breeze.
While the EQE shares the same basic one-bow, cab-forward shape of the EQS, the smaller size makes for a bit less of an elegant profile. Still very futuristic looking however, with a smooth face and wheelbase stretched to the max. Pricing starts at $76,050 for the rear-drive 350+, with the top 500 4MATIC beginning at $87,050.
While it doesn’t have quite the presence or panache of the full-size EQS, the 2023 Mercedes-EQE Sedan does a great job of bringing plenty of the flagship flair down to a more attainable level. Making it not only a great luxury sedan, but an even better EV.
Motor Setup: Dual Motor (300kW)
Torque: 633 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
1/4 Mile: 12.6 seconds at 108 mph
60-0 Braking: 105 feet (avg)
Tested Range: ~ 220 miles