The E-Class is the bread and butter of the Mercedes-Benz lineup. Its lineage traces back to 1953 and more than 13 million of them have been sold since the name was made official in 1992. Now that the Stuttgart brand has promised a fully electrified lineup by 2030, where does that leave Mercedes-Benz’s midsize mainstay? Enter the EQE.
Hot on the heels of this year’s full-size EQS, the EQE is the next step in battery-powered alternatives to familiar Mercedes models. It matches the E-Class in size and will hit U.S. showrooms by Summer 2022. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE.
By the Numbers: Range, Horsepower, Charging Times
EV shoppers are keen to know figures like cruising range and charge times, and the Mercedes-Benz EQE offers some satisfying answers—depending on how long buyers are willing to wait.
When the entry EQE 350 model hits the market in the third quarter of 2022, it will be powered by a rear-mounted motor that produces 288 horsepower and, more crucially, 391 pound-feet of torque. A future 4Matic model will add a front motor that uses Mercedes-Benz’s Torque Shift function to distribute power where it needs to go depending on available traction.
As for range, the EQE 350 will be capable of up to 410 miles on the European WLTP standard, which translates to roughly 360 miles on the EPA scale. Official ratings will be delivered closer to the on-sale date. Speed freaks will be pleased to learn that when it arrives in early 2023, a Mercedes-AMG EQE variant will offer up to 677 hp and 738 pound-feet of torque, and shoot to 60 mph in as little as 3.2 seconds. The AMG version is expected to offer a WLTP range somewhere between 275 and 321 miles.
The 350 will be powered by a 90-kWh lithium-ion battery that can go from 10% to 80% charge in 32 minutes at a DC fast-charge station. A three-phase, 11 kW AC home charger can fill the battery in 8.25 hours, or 4.25 hours with 22 kW.
A Chip off the Old EQS Block
Though other electrified Mercedes-Benz offerings have been available in Europe—among them the EQA and EQB crossovers—the EQE is only the second Mercedes-Benz EV to make it Stateside.
That said, the EQE starts as a scaled-down EQS, and is based on that model’s EVA2 architecture; the AMG version uses the same backbone, though future standalone AMG models will utilize a more performance-focused AMG.EA platform.
The EQE inherits many of the bigger sedan’s familiar styling cues, which adhere to what the carmaker calls a “sensual purity” design language. The so-called one-bow silhouette helps the EQE with an outstanding drag coefficient rating that’s just behind the EQS’s record-setting .20 figure. One added benefit of the shrink-wrapped packaging: Unlike the EQS, which looks like a stretched-out balloon from certain angles, the EQE takes on a stance that’s altogether more taut, muscular and compact.
On the Road: Living Large, Driving Small
While the gas-powered E-Class feels like a step down from its S-Class equivalent in both size and amenities, the EQE feels like it’s cut from the same cloth as its battery-powered EQS stablemate.
There are high-quality materials throughout the interior, despite some of them (like the imitation leather dashboard) departing from the tried-and-true luxury car playbook. A few touches are particularly impressive, like the anodized and knurled aluminum trim pieces on the door and an overall sense of harmony between intersecting interior panels. However, other small bits disappoint, like the plasticky feeling HVAC vents.
The instrument panel and center console are also curiously shaped, creating more bulk than seems necessary. Overall, however, the cabin is a high-quality space that has clearly been engineered by craftsmen who care about executing details exceptionally well. Adding to the sense of digital occasion is the optional MBUX Hyperscreen, which creates an A-pillar to A-pillar link of 3 screens that spans 56 inches across.
Incidentally, the passenger side is capable of projecting media so long as the driver does not turn to view it; a sensor detects when the driver’s eyes turn away from the road and shuts down the display.
Riding along as a passenger in Los Angeles revealed a surprisingly plush ride, despite the fact that our EQE tester was not equipped with the optional air suspension. Aiding the supple ride quality is an adaptive damping system that can individually adjust the stiffness at each wheel. With the windows rolled up, the EQE feels quiet and insulated from the world outside.
It also manages to come across as nimble, thanks in part to a four-wheel steering system that helps it corner more sharply at lower speeds. By enabling up to 10 degrees of rear-wheel countersteer, the EQE also cuts an impressively tight turning radius, turning itself around in a mere 35-foot diameter circle.
While the power from the rear motor feels smooth and strong, it’s not the type of thrust that whips passengers back into their seats violently; those seeking that sort of acceleration might be better served with the follow-up AMG version.
However, the way the EQE shares much in common with the EQS—from its exterior styling to its well-put-together interior—lends it an element of desirability that’s simply absent in the standard-issue E-Class. Yes, some iterations of the gas-powered E-Class, in particular the top-of-the-line versions, do come across as more luxurious, but they don’t hold the same appeal as the EQE.
EQE’s Gains are Many, Sacrifices Few
We’ll soon be spending more time in the EQE and report back with a First Drive report on Mercedes-Benz’s second fully electrified offering for the U.S. Until then, consider that the EV drivetrain’s inherent qualities achieve many of the goals that have been pursued over decades of E-Class’ evolution: the EQE’s battery-electric experience delivers exceptionally quiet, seamless propulsion that would make any internal combustion competitor jealous.
Also relevant to the luxury experience is the fact that though its exterior proportions are comparable to the CLS model (and 3.5 inches shorter than an EQS), the interior offers 3 more inches of length than the current E-Class. Adding to the feeling of grandiosity is a seating position that’s 2.5 inches taller than the gas-powered E-Class— which is like getting the visibility of a crossover with the more agile handling of a sedan.
While it will live alongside the E-Class until the old guard falls by the wayside, the EQE’s distinctions should not only draw more attention towards itself, it promises to shed a more positive light on EVs in general, bolstering credibility as the industry shifts towards battery power.