With the launch of the Mercedes EQE SUV, Mercedes has a direct competitor to the BMW iX. So naturally, we want to see what each offers.
Before the Mercedes EQE SUV came out, we evaluated the Mercedes EQS SUV and the BMW iX; the EQS SUV is positioned in the luxury class, one class above, while the BMW iX competes in the business class. The Mercedes EQS SUV is the electric equivalent of the Mercedes GLS, and the BMW iX is the electric equivalent of the X5. Therefore, the direct competitor to the BMW iX is the Mercedes EQE SUV, the electric equivalent of the Mercedes GLE.
Both models are built on dedicated electric platforms, except that the BMW iX is a unique model; there is no other BMW model on this platform. Instead, Mercedes’ EVA II platform underpins all business and luxury class limousines and SUVs; see EQE, EQS, EQE SUV, and EQS SUV.
Mercedes offers five versions of the EQE SUV, including a basic one with rear-wheel drive and a single engine and two AMG versions, all combined with a 90 kWh battery (the larger 107.8 kWh battery is reserved for the EQS models), while the BMW iX has three variants, all with all-wheel drive, including an M version. Unlike the Mercedes EQE SUV, the BMW iX is available with two batteries, a 71 kWh net for the basic version and a 105.2 kWh battery for the other two versions.
The better driving position in the Mercedes EQE SUV
At 4.86 meters (15.94 ft) long, 1.94 meters (6.36 ft) wide, and 1.68 meters (5.51 ft) high, the Mercedes EQE SUV is almost 10 cm (3.94 in) shorter, 3 cm (1.18 in) narrower, and 1.5 cm (0.59 in) less tall, but the wheelbase of 3.03 meters (9.94 ft) is 3 cm (1.18 in) longer. The 580-liter (20.48 cu ft) boot volume is also 80 liters (2.82 cu in) larger than the BMW iX, although the BMW iX has a slightly longer rear console. Although the Mercedes EQE SUV looks more aerodynamic at first glance, the aerodynamic coefficient is 0.25 for both models.
At the first seating test, the Mercedes EQE SUV offers a slightly lower driving position, while in the BMW iX, you sit surprisingly high for a BMW, and the dashboard is relatively low, so you stay with your knees at the same level with the dashboard vents.
In contrast, the seats in the BMW are more comfortable and can be converted into sports seats if needed, thanks to adjustments to the sides and upper third.
OS8 vs. MBUX II
Both models come with the latest operating systems. The BMW iX unveiled the new OS8 operating system based on two displays under a curved window. The multimedia system screen also incorporates climate controls, so there are no longer physical buttons on the center console. Even the surface of the center console has been transformed into a touch field for activating driving modes and the main multimedia menus.
For reasons of tradition, BMW has kept the controller, but now you can control the multimedia system in more than one way: touch, voice command, or gestures that can now be configured as well. It isn’t easy, even though BMW has tried to structure the multiple apps into two categories: those of the car and those external. For example, if you want to see the energy consumption, you would need to think of going into the Live Vehicle menu.
Other informations could be more intuitive to find too. On the other hand, OS8 works like software. If you want to search for something, type in “Browse” as if searching for something on Google. It sounds simple, but while you’re driving, it’s not. But like any operating system, you learn, so you get familiar with it after a few months of driving.
Unlike the Mercedes EQS and EQS SUV, whose top versions come with the huge Hyperscreen, on all versions of the Mercedes EQE SUV, the Hyperscreen is optional and costs no less than €8,500/$9,332. It’s not just the high price that puts customers off, but also the ergonomics are better with the standard 11.8-inch portrait screen than with the Hyperscreen. On the portrait screen, the button bar that allows access to the car’s most essential functions is located just below the screen; on the Hyperscreen, it is placed further back on the center armrest.
The Mercedes EQE SUV is not an example of ergonomics as the control buttons for seat adjustment, placed on the door, are rigid and offer no feedback. Operating the touch surfaces on the steering wheel is also complicated, and Mercedes has already announced that it is working on another steering wheel design.
Instead, at least on the information level, the EQS SUV seems better prepared for off-roading, though neither has a gearbox or lockable differentials. But the EQE SUV’s off-road menu, with very nice graphics, a clinometer, altimeter, compass, and all-wheel steering angle display, can be helpful in certain situations.
BMW is faster; both are very comfortable
For the first evaluation, we considered the most potent non-M and non-AMG versions: the iX xDrive50 with 523 ps (515.6 hp) and the EQE 500 4Matic with 408 ps (402 hp). Although the BMW has more than 100 ps (98.5 hp) more power, the 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) accelerations are similar: 4.6 seconds compared to 4.9 seconds for the Mercedes.
These values are partly explained by the fact that the BMW is slightly heavier, at 2,585 kilograms (5,699 pounds), compared to 2,560 kilograms (5,644 pounds) in the Mercedes. But we have to remember that the BMW has a much bigger battery, 105.2 kWh, compared to 90 kWh in the Mercedes. In addition, BMW uses a lighter construction with various CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) body elements in the roof frame, side panels, and wheel arches.
The BMW iX xDrive50 comes standard with adaptive air suspension with ground clearance adjustment, while on the Mercedes EQE 500 4Matic, you have to pay an extra €2,082/$2,286 and €1,547/$1,698, respectively for them. On the other hand, the rear axle steering angle is higher on the Mercedes, up to 10 degrees, which reduces the turning circle to 10.4 meters (34.12 ft).
Nevertheless, both models offer excellent ride comfort, and in Sport mode, the suspension doesn’t stiffen significantly in either. The BMW feels slightly more agile, but both BMW and Mercedes lean slightly in corners, even in Sport mode, and the very high weight limits dynamic valence.
Although the BMW has over 100 ps (98.5 hp) more power, the official fuel consumption of the two models doesn’t differ much: 19.2 kWh/100 km in the Mercedes compared to 19.8 kWh/100 km in the BMW. And the BMW’s larger battery gives it a more extended range of 629 km (391 miles) compared to the 542 km (337 miles) for the Mercedes. Those who want more range in the Mercedes should buy the much more expensive EQS SUV, which has a large 107.8 kWh battery, unavailable in the EQE range.
BMW also has a slight advantage in terms of charging speed: the BMW iX xDrive50 charges up to 195 kW at DC stations compared to 170 kW in the Mercedes EQE SUV. That’s why the BMW charges the larger battery from 0 to 80% in 39 minutes while the Mercedes takes 32 minutes.
BMW iX is only apparently more expensive
The Mercedes EQE 500 4Matic costs €102,530/$112,571, while the BMW iX xDrive 50 is more expensive, priced at €107,900/$118,467. But air suspension and all-wheel steering cost extra on the Mercedes while it’s standard on the BMW, so the prices even out. But the BMW has the advantage of greater range and better dynamics.
|Mercedes EQE 500 4Matic||BMW iX xDrive50|
|Engine||2, electric||2 electric|
|Max. Output (kW/HP)||300/408||385/523|
|Max. torque (Nm)||855||765|
|Battery capacity net (kWh)||90||105.2|
|L x w x h (mm)||4,863 x 1,940 x 1,686||4,965 x 1,967 x 1,696|
|Boot Volume (l)||580-1,675||500-1,750|
|Acc. 0-100 kph (s)||4.9||4.6|
|Top speed (kph)||210||200|
|Energy consumption (kWh/100 km)||19.2||19,9|
|Range WLTP (km)||542||629|
|Price (euro with VAT)||102,530||107,900|