- Mercedes-Benz has revealed its answer to the Audi e-tron and BMW iX.
- The EQE SUV range will initially include three models, and an AMG model will launch in 2024.
- Built in Alabama, the EQE SUV will arrive in showrooms in 2023.
Unveiled ahead of the 2022 Paris auto show, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV expands the German company’s presence in the fast-growing luxury EV segment. It’s characterized by a futuristic-looking exterior design and an interior brimming with tech features, and it will launch with three powertrains. Looking ahead, the EQE SUV will also spawn Mercedes-AMG’s first high-riding electric model.
Much as the EQE is an electric alternative to the E-class, the EQE SUV lands as the GLE’s battery-powered counterpart. It measures 191.5 inches long, 76.4 inches wide, and 66.4 inches tall, slightly shorter and lower than its gasoline-burning sibling. Its weight hasn’t been published yet.
Visually, the EQE SUV shares key styling cues including short overhangs, a long wheelbase, and a fluid overall design with the EQS SUV, from which it borrows its platform. It’s instantly recognizable as one of Mercedes-Benz’s electric cars. Many of the finer design details are EQS-like as well, including a black panel where you’d find a grille on a gasoline-powered SUV and an LED light bar that stretches across the rear end.
While buyers can configure the GLE with seven seats, the EQE SUV is only available as a five-seater. It offers 18.4 cubic feet of trunk space with both rows of seats left up and 59.2 cubic feet with the rear bench folded flat. Mercedes-Benz claims it focused primarily on comfort when designing the seats.
The dashboard mirrors the EQE sedan’s with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen for the familiar MBUX infotainment system, which includes a navigation software that takes charging stops and the driving style into account when calculating the fastest way to a given destination.
Over-the-air technology promises to let owners configure an à la carte EQE SUV while allowing Mercedes-Benz to earn additional revenue. Motorists will have the option of paying to activate various features after taking delivery via the Mercedes Me store. For example, the Individualization Package that Mercedes-Benz can beam to the infotainment system adds a soundscape named Roaring Pulse, a selection of mini-games, additional coming-home and leaving-home animations, and an intriguing Romance Mode. The company will expand its digital aisle of post-delivery options in the coming years.
At launch, buyers will have three EQE SUV flavors to choose from: 350+, 350 4Matic, and 500 4Matic. The base 350+ has a single electric motor that zaps the rear wheels with 288 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque. Selecting the 350 4Matic adds a motor to the front axle and increases torque to 564 pound-feet, though horsepower stays flat, while the range-topping 500 4Matic offers a dual-motor system rated at 536 horsepower and 633 pound-feet of torque. Hitting 60 mph from a stop takes 6.3, 6.2, and 4.6 seconds, respectively, according to Mercedes, while top speed is pegged at 130 mph regardless of the variant.
Every EQE SUV is built on a 90.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Mercedes-Benz expects the SUV will earn a driving range rating of about 342 miles when tested using the WLTP cycle used in Europe, which tends to lean towards the optimistic side of the scale, and the EPA hasn’t put the model through its paces yet. Charging from 10 to 80 percent takes approximately 32 minutes when using a 170-kW quick charger, and the drivetrain can charge itself to an extent thanks to three levels of brake energy recuperation.
Mercedes-Benz designed the EQE SUV as more of a soft-roader than a Moab-conquering off-roader, but all-wheel-drive models offer a driving profile labeled “Off-Road,” and the optional air suspension system lets the driver add about an inch of ground clearance at the push of a button. The list of options also includes a rear-axle steering system that turns the wheels up to 10 degrees for better maneuverability.
Built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV will reach dealers nationwide in 2023. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the model will have the BMW iX, the Audi e-tron, and the Polestar 3 in its crosshairs, so it’s not unreasonable to assume its base price will lie in the vicinity of $80,000.
AMG’s First Electric SUV
Mercedes-Benz has already announced plans to expand the EQE SUV range. The model will morph into Mercedes-AMG’s first electric SUV for the 2024 model year by adopting a sportier exterior design, a number of interior changes, and a dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain available in two states of tune.
The familiar Panamericana grille ensures you don’t need to be a seasoned car spotter to tell the AMG model apart from the Mercedes-Benz-branded version. Designers also added body-colored trim on the wheel arches and created specific 21- and 22-inch wheel designs, but there is a much smaller degree of differentiation between the two EQE SUVs than between the regular GLE and its AMG counterpart.
Upholstered in MB-Tex or leather, the interior has a markedly sportier flavor characterized by an AMG Performance steering wheel with paddles used to select one of three brake energy recuperation levels, bright pedals, plus AMG-specific graphics in the digital instrument cluster and the touchscreen-based infotainment system. The AMG EQE SUV receives the same basic MBUX software as the standard EQE, but it’s optionally offered with the giant Hyperscreen setup that stretches across the entire dashboard.
While AMG’s variant of the EQE SUV uses the same 90.6-kWh battery as the standard models, it posts a sub-four-second sprint from zero to 60 mph thanks to a pair of motors rated at 617 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not enough, buyers can order an optional AMG Dynamic Plus Package that increases those figures to 677 and 738, respectively. The powertrain remains compatible with 170-kW fast-charging, though Mercedes-AMG hasn’t released a range estimate for the American market. AMG also argues going electric doesn’t mean the end of triple-digit autobahn runs: the EQE SUV maxes out at 137 mph in its standard configuration and reaches 149 mph with the AMG Dynamic Plus Package.
The through-the-road all-wheel-drive system’s torque split varies depending on the driving style, road conditions, and the driving mode selected. AMG notes the drivetrain becomes rear-biased in “Sport” and “Sport+” and configures itself for maximum efficiency when the driver selects the “Comfort” mode.
Beyond the drivetrain, AMG ensured the EQE SUV is worthy of its logo by adding a firmer suspension system, active roll stabilization technology instead of anti-roll bars, and six-piston front brake calipers. It also made a rear-wheel-steering system that turns the back wheels by up to nine degrees standard.
Pricing information will be released closer to the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV’s on-sale date.
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