The Mercedes-AMG EQE 4Matic+ is an E-Class-sized sedan that hides some welcome ability beneath its shapely sheet metal. For the record, in other parts of the world it will be called the EQE 53 4Matic+. However, in Canada it will simply be known as the EQE 4Matic+, as we will not get the milder EQE 43 4Matic.
The EQE’s juice comes from a lithium-ion battery with 90.6 kilowatt-hours of usable power. How it dishes out the electrons depends on the drive mode selected. In Sport and Sport+ modes the focus is on outright performance; dial it back to Comfort and driving range is given priority. The battery is charged through an 11 kW or optional 22 kW Level 2 charger. Plugging it into a 170-kW DC fast charger pumps 180-kilometres of range into the battery in 15 minutes. At this point, the Canadian driving range has not been announced.
Regenerative braking plays an important role in the driving range. There are three levels, ranging from benign to a one-pedal drive. Each level is accessed through the steering wheel-mounted paddles. One pedal is the best in the city or on a twisty road, as the accelerator pedal controls things perfectly, and without the need to reach for the brake pedal even when heading into a hairpin carrying a little too much speed. Relaxing the regen when cruising the highway brings a smoother drive.
The battery supplies two electric motors. The pair combine to twist out 616 horsepower and 701 lb-ft of torque. The instant-on torque makes this thing incredibly fast off the line and on up to highway speeds. The twist is found when Race Start is engaged. Now the EQE gets an extra 61 hp and 37 lb-ft of torque, for a total of 677 hp and 738 lb-ft. This cuts the run to 100 kilometres an hour to just 3.3 seconds and it ups the top speed by 20 km/h to 240 km/h.
The two-motor layout also brings a fully variable 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system. The torque distribution is checked 160 times per second and adjusted to meet the prevailing conditions, so a torrential downpour on the drive route left the EQE feeling planted and in touch with a rather slippery road.
And so to the numbers generated during the test. The day started with the battery showing a 98 per cent charge and 419 kilometres as the range. At the end of the 173-km test drive, the battery was showing a 52 per cent charge and 218 km of range. Given the entire route was conducted in the performance-oriented Sport or Sport+ modes and it included lots of full-on acceleration and a significant highway section without any regenerative braking, the test numbers are impressive and bode well for the range one can expect when it lands in Canada.
The nit comes from the man-made sound the EQE elicits. The Authentic and Performance soundtracks can then be set for Balanced (muted), Sport or Powerful (loud). Sadly, the experience is not a melodious one and needs a rethink. In fairness, AMG are not alone here, as many EV manufacturers are struggling to find the right electric sound.
The AMG EQE rides on air springs and adaptive dampers. How the setup works depends on the drive mode selected. There are Slippery, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ as well as an Individual mode. In Comfort, the EQE wafts over broken pavement. Dial it up to Sport+ and the suspension lowers to dial out all body roll. The best setting proved to be Sport, as the driving dynamics are balanced — it works equally well in the city or when pushing down on a twisty road.
The drive modes also control the output from the electric motors. In Slippery, only half of the power is released to prevent unwanted wheelspin, there’s 80 per cent power in Comfort, 90 per cent in Sport and 100 per cent in Sport+. Again, Sport provided the best balance. You will not miss the 10 per cent drop in real-world driving!
The hidden advantage is found in the standard four-wheel steering. It not only makes the EQE feel much lighter that its 2,525-kilogram curb weight, it also brings a crisper turn-in response. At speeds below 60 km/h, the rear wheels turn up to 3.6° in the opposite direction to the front wheels. Above 60 km/h, the rear wheels now steer in the same direction as the front wheels. In practice, it brings a shorter turning circle at lower speeds and adds a welcome crispness to the drive at higher speeds. In the end, all of these advanced systems work together to deliver a driving experience that belies the EQE’s size.
Inside, the EQE is swanky and technology laden. The tester featured the door-to-door Hyperscreen that houses three screens under a single piece of glass. The instrumentation is reconfigurable and offers a number of different looks. The central MBUX multimedia interface is enormous. Thankfully, it has been given the right smarts. The format uses a single-layer approach, so there’s no need to delve into menu after menu to accomplish a simple task. It also looks after all of the usual infotainment functions including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Not to be left out, the front passenger also gets a screen. It replicates much of the information found in the main screen, but also houses some cool graphics. They show things like the motor speed (rpm) and how much power is being sent to each of the motors.
The rear environment is comfortable with surprising amounts of head- and legroom for the outboard occupants to go along with a 430-litre trunk.
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE 4Matic+ is a true AMG in every sense. It has a blistering turn of speed, it holds the driver’s line with tenacity on a twisty road and it pampers the passengers in fine style. In short, AMG’s electric future is bright.
Full specifications and pricing will be announced closer to its fourth-quarter launch.