2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE Sedan Review and Test Drive
Proper German luxury with electric performance and efficiency.
In addition to the EQE and EQS sedans, Mercedes-Benz offers three electric SUVs: EQB, EQE SUV, and EQS SUV. This EV lineup will help Mercedes reach its goal of going fully electric by 2030.
With three different performance levels and a battery range that can be as high as 300 miles, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE is a competitive luxury EV. It comes in EQE 350+, EQE 350 4MATIC, and EQE 500 4Matic trim levels, and base prices range from the mid-$70,000s to the mid-$80,000s, including the destination charge to ship the sedan from the factory in Bremen, Germany, to your local dealership. Rivals include the BMW i5, Genesis Electrified G80, and Tesla Model S.
For this Mercedes-Benz EQE review, I evaluated an EQE 500 4Matic. It came with Exclusive trim, an AMG Line Exterior Package, AMG Line Interior Package, Driver Assistance Package, and Digital Light Package. Cosmetic improvements included a star pattern grille, 20-inch AMG wheels, a black artificial suede headliner, and red seat belts. Inside, the test car featured an air-filtration system, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. These options brought the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $98,680, including the $1,150 destination charge.
My test vehicle was an early-build production unit with Starling Blue paint. That color is no longer available for the EQE Sedan.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE Review: The Design
With a slippery shape and nary a straight edge, the Mercedes-Benz EQE features a style similar to the larger EQS, with the best possible aerodynamics as the primary design goal.
The solid black grille has a large Mercedes star logo in the center, surrounded by a three-dimensional star pattern. The grille flows into the stylish LED headlights with signature running lights that give the EQE a unique look at night. Advanced safety sensors such as ultrasound and radar reside behind the black panel grille.
From the rear, the roofline forms a smooth line with the rear window and into the short trunklid, ending at the small lip spoiler. A single light bar connects the stylish LED taillights, giving the EQE a wide appearance.
Inside, the EQE is pure Mercedes-Benz, with high-quality materials throughout the cabin. The expansive dashboard flows up and out from the center console, trimmed in stylish wood with large round vents anchoring each end. The top of the dashboard is trimmed in leather with red stitching as a nice touch.
At the center of the dashboard is a high-resolution 12.8-inch OLED display screen designed to look like an extension of the center console. A configurable 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display is behind the steering wheel. Aside from the start button, stalks on the steering wheel, and soft-touch controls below the infotainment screen and on the steering wheel, the EQE lacks physical switchgear. Nevertheless, the controls are straightforward, with climate functions in a dedicated section of the display screen. Still, I'd still prefer to at least have a knob for stereo-volume adjustment.
With the gear selector a stalk mounted to the steering column, the center console has plenty of storage space, including a deep, covered bin and multiple cupholders you can fold out of the way when not in use. Below the console is an ample space that can easily fit a purse or large bag.
The sports seats in my EQE test car's AMG Line Interior Package added to the stylish interior. With appealing contours and a contemporary pattern, they offer good bolstering for excellent support. The red seat belts are a nice touch as well. The seats felt stiff when I first settled in, but I found them quite comfortable, even after several hours behind the wheel. Multiple power adjustments made it easy to find the correct seating position.
The rear seats look good with an appealing pattern, and passengers have plenty of legroom and headroom. However, the seat cushion is pretty stiff and uncomfortable, which is surprising for a Mercedes-Benz. Dual USB-C ports are available to rear-seat passengers to keep devices charged.
The trunk space is somewhat narrow, limiting its usefulness, but the opening is good sized, and the cargo area can hold a few small pieces of luggage. Buttons on the trunklid release the rear seats, which fold flat for increased utility.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE Review: The Technology
After several years of using a single widescreen display for the digital instrumentation and infotainment systems, Mercedes-Benz has returned to a more traditional layout that separates the two.
The large infotainment screen is unusual because the homepage is the navigation screen. However, there's enough real estate to overlay the map with information tiles. They can show what's playing on the stereo, communications information, EV status, recently used features, and other relevant data and details. The lower portion of the display features the climate functions and quick links to Home and to return to the previous screen.
Most of the time, my interaction with the infotainment system was via the touchscreen. However, the Mercedes-Benz digital assistant is one of the better voice-control systems available today. You activate it using a button on the steering wheel or by saying, "Hey, Mercedes," and the system can perform numerous functions.
I told the digital assistant I was cold, and the driver's temperature increased by 5 degrees. When I said I wanted some coffee, it brought up a list of coffee shops near me. I also used voice control to find a fast-charging station. Once I made my choice, the route to the charging station appeared in the navigation system, and the vehicle also began prepping the batteries for charging. With a destination set, the display shows the estimated time of arrival and how much battery will remain once you get there.
One of my favorite features is the overlay of video and directions on the center display. When approaching a turn or other instruction along a planned route, live video from a forward-looking camera is projected on the screen, augmented with graphics that show directions and street names, making it almost impossible to miss a turn.
However, many owners will never see this great feature, opting to use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, which integrates wirelessly. I connected Android Auto with my Samsung Galaxy S21, and it was up and running in just a few seconds. Android Auto utilizes the entire top section of the display, and when on the native home screen, there's a persistent link to Android Auto in the top left.
As expected, the Mercedes-Benz EQE has numerous standard safety features and advanced driving-assistance systems. However, the list of safety-related options is nearly as long and includes several helpful active driving aids gathered into the optional Driver Assistance Package. They include Active Distance Assist Distronic with Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, and Active Lane Change Assist. Translated, these are adaptive cruise control with low-speed traffic jam assist, lane-centering assist, and semi-automated lane-change assist.
These technologies, working together, don't quite represent a hands-free driving-assist system, but they come close. After you set a desired speed on the freeway, the EQE effortlessly keeps a safe distance from vehicles ahead, capably maintains its place in the lane (even around curves), and smoothly reduces speed when coming upon slower cars, bringing itself to a complete stop if need be.
However, the system does require the driver's hands to remain on the steering wheel. Otherwise, the Active Emergency Stop Assist system might think you've fallen asleep or suffered a medical emergency and will bring the car to a safe stop with the hazard flashers on.
Because the Mercedes-Benz EQE is new, as of publication, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released safety ratings for the car.
2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE Review: The Drive
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4Matic features dual permanently excited synchronous electric motors delivering 402 horsepower and 633 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. Energy comes from a 90.6 kWh battery pack. According to Mercedes, the EQE 500 4Matic will reach 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, but with all that torque delivered immediately on demand, the big luxury sedan feels even quicker. I didn't test it out, but the top speed is limited to 130 mph.
One thing I love about electric vehicles is the combination of excellent performance and efficiency, and the EQE is no exception. Wh/mile stands for watt-hours per mile, and a Mercedes spokesperson told me it is a more accurate way of measuring energy consumption.
Not only is this luxury sedan quick off the line, but during my time in the EQE 500 4Matic, it averaged 383 Wh/mile, according to the trip computer. The EQE 500 4Matic's window sticker says the car returns 41 kWh/100 miles, which converts to an average of 83 MPGe in combined driving. To bridge the disconnect between the EPA data and the trip computer, convert the 383 Wh/mile to 38.3 kWh/100 miles, which shows the EQE proved more efficient than the EPA rating. Furthermore, 38.3 kWh/100 miles converts to 88 MPGe, a more efficient measure than the car's official 83 MPGe rating.
Mercedes-Benz claims that the EQE 500 4Matic sedan can travel up to 260 miles on a full charge, but this figure seems low based on my experience. While I did not have the opportunity to charge the car to 100 percent, the display indicated a range of 250 miles with a 75 percent charge, suggesting that my real-world range was closer to 300 miles. That also aligns with the observed energy efficiency.
According to Mercedes, you can recharge the EQE from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes using a DC fast charger with a maximum delivery rate of 170 kW. A Level 2 charger, such as a home charging station, requires just under 10 hours to bring the battery up from 10% to 100%.
Like other Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles I've experienced, the EQE 500 is supremely quiet and smooth on the road. Whether cruising at high speed on the freeway or tooling around town, the ride remains comfortable, even when the pavement gets rough. The EV powertrain makes virtually no sound, and almost no road noise permeates the cabin at highway speed.
The EQE has a 10-degree rear axle steering system, and when it comes to maneuverability, this feature is a game changer. At low speeds, it makes parking, navigating narrow drive-throughs, and executing U-turns much easier. At higher speeds, the rear wheels turn up to 3 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels for better handling and stability, though this benefit is harder to discern.
While most drivers are unlikely to push a luxury EV like the EQE on a twisty mountain road, it's nice to know you can. I thoroughly enjoyed my favorite Pacific Northwest backroads thanks to the EQE 500 4Matic's ample power, precise steering, and suspension tuning that is firm enough to control unwanted body motion on a winding road but not so stiff as to produce an uncomfortable ride.
Mercedes-Benz provides a one-pedal driving option for the EQE, which maximizes the regenerative braking and can slow the car to a complete stop just by lifting off the accelerator pedal. This system works well enough that I seldom used the brake pedal in everyday driving. However, when I needed to slow down quickly or make an emergency stop, the brakes didn't provide much feel or feedback. It felt like I was pressing on the floor with no give, as if the pedal wasn't doing anything, which could cause a driver distress.
Is the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE a Good Electric Car?
With Mercedes-Benz's long history of building high-quality luxury automobiles, it's no surprise that the automaker has continued this reputation as it transitions to electric vehicles.
The new EQE 500 4Matic is a perfect example, providing a solid, comfortable ride with an attractive cabin and a long list of high-end features. The large infotainment system is easy to read with an intuitive design, and while Mercedes has virtually eliminated all physical buttons from the EQE's cabin, I found that the touchscreen and voice control worked well enough that I didn't miss the traditional switchgear.
Most importantly, the EQE 500 4Matic delivers excellent driving characteristics with a potent dual-motor powertrain that will push you back into the seat (if you want it to) while offering a driving range that is more than adequate for most daily driving needs. While the aerodynamic styling may turn some customers away, the EQE delivers performance, efficiency, and luxury.
But this goodness comes at a steep price.