Our colleagues from the German magazine auto motor und sport drove the new Mercedes EQE SUV in Portugal, and here are their first impressions.With the Mercedes EQE SUV, the German manufacturer now has an electric SUV in the Core Luxury category (there is also Entry Luxury and Top-End Luxury). Moreover, it has several innovations compared to the EQE limousine that, together with optimized aerodynamics, aim to reduce consumption and increase range. On the first test drive, the Mercedes EQE SUV offers a lot of driving pleasure but has some ergonomic issues.
Our auto motor und sport colleagues drove the EQE 350 4Matic version with two engines and an electric all-wheel drive. There’s a feeling of airy space under the panoramic roof in the almost 5 meters long SUV. The front and rear seats are comfortable, plenty of storage space, and the material quality makes a good impression.
Better ergonomics with the standard display than with the optional and expensive Hyperscreen
The test car was equipped with the standard 11.9-inch portrait display, not the optional Hyperscreen, which incorporates three displays and costs 8,500 euros for the EQE sedan. Ergonomics are also better with the standard display because the essential controls are located immediately below the display. In contrast, in the case of the Hyperscreen, they have been moved to the front of the center armrest and are not in the field of view.
The ergonomics is the same as the sedan with its pluses and minuses. For example, the seat controls placed on the door are stiff and have no feedback when you operate them. Also, using the touch surfaces on the steering wheel is complicated, and it takes several presses to get to the various menu details. However, Mercedes admits there are better solutions and has already developed a new steering wheel that will be available at some point.
But on the other hand, the two displays have a superb, brilliant resolution. Moreover, you can access the car effortlessly through the wide-opening doors; the tailgate opens wide and offers easy access to the 520-liter (31,732 cu in) trunk that can be expanded to 1675 liters (102,214 cu in), the load area is perfectly flat, and there is a standard 40/20/40 split of the bench backrest.
Comfort oriented drive train
The test car was equipped with 22-inch wheels, while the base version has 19-inch wheels. The drivetrain with air suspension is comfort-oriented, and in Comfort mode, it comfortably and calmly goes over long and transverse bumps. Only once or twice you feel and hear when it passes over a more profound bump. In Sport mode, the suspension stiffens up without becoming very stiff.
With a power output of 292 ps (288 hp), the EQE 350 4Matic is the second model in the range after the EQE 350. It has the same power of 292 ps (288 hp), but the torque is much higher at 765 Nm (564 lb ft) compared to 565 Nm (417 lb ft). Compared to the weight of the car, these are not impressive figures. But the first impression behind the wheel is that the EQE SUV is harmoniously powered. A firm press on the accelerator pedal is enough to overtake quickly and feel pressure in your back. The smooth steering with good feedback makes you forget the significant weight in corners. It leans a little in corners but not annoyingly so. You feel like you’re behind the wheel of a spacious family car that has no sporty pretensions. But the front pillar is too steep, and when cornering, the driver is forced to lean forward for good visibility.
Then came the more powerful EQE SUV 500 4Matic, which with 408 ps (402 hp) and 858 Nm (633 lb ft), is more spirited. It accelerates from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds compared to 6.6 in the EQE 350 4Matic, and you feel it. But more important than power is the EQE 500 4Matic’s integral steering, which has a steering angle of up to 10 degrees. This angle reduces the turning circle from 12.3 (40 ft) to 10.5 meter (34 ft). Thus, integral steering leads to spontaneous reactions and shorter steering movements at low speeds. At first, the steering feels a little abrupt and nervous, but after a few turns, you get used to it and feel like you’re behind the wheel of a much lighter car.
Consumption is between 17.5 and 18.8 kWh/100 km, corresponding to a range of up to 596 km with a useful battery capacity of 90 kWh. The battery charges up to 170 kW, and the navigation system guides you to charging stations if the range is insufficient to reach your destination. Good aerodynamics contribute to the low fuel consumption, with a Cx of 0.25 on standard 19-inch wheels.
The ten battery cells (12 on EQS) work with a new battery chemistry introduced on EQS that has reduced the cobalt content below 10%. The EQE SUV also features a heat pump not yet available on the EQE sedan, and 4Matic versions feature Disconnect Unit technology that disconnects the front engine when all-wheel drive is not needed. This is achieved in just 240 ms in both directions, which improves the range by several kilometers.
Sales will start in May or June at the latest. The base model EQE 300 SUV with 245 ps (241 hp) will cost 83,500 euros ($91,097) the EQE 350 is 3,000 euros ($3,272) more expensive, and the EQE 350 4Matic is 6,000 euros ($6,545) more expensive. The EQE 500 4Matic will reach 100,000 euros ($109,098) without options but comes standard with all-wheel steering and air suspension. The Mercedes configurator has already appeared Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic SUV which costs 124,920.25 euros ($136,286).