The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV sits below the new flagship EQS SUV, offering those looking for a luxury electric SUV a slightly smaller and more affordable option. It also gives those potential E-class – or EQE users – something taller and more adaptable to off-road, or at least to fit in everything the family needs.
I can imagine a time, not long in the future, when Mercedes won’t need to put the SUV designation behind these names. Saloon (or sedan) cars are proving to be less popular than their SUV offerings across all brands and has seen the number of options in this style dwindle. Right now though, Mercedes is giving its electric users a clear choice of styles. Does that mean we’ll also see an EQC SUV? More than likely.
SUV’s for the most part are more practical family cars. They offer more boot space, more headroom and a higher driving position that can feel safer on the motorway. I can see why anyone with a family would opt for one, so I expect that this SUV version of the EQC will be a popular choice. After all, it offers all those advantages, while not looking too SUV-like from the outside.
I spent some time behind the wheel at the launch of the EQE SUV to discover what this EV is like on the road.
Price and availability of the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV
There are two versions of the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV coming to the UK, the EQE 350 4Matic and the EQE 500 4Matic. These start from £90,560 for the 350 model with the AMG Line finish. The AMG Line Premium for another £8700 adds 21-inch AMG alloys and Burmester surround sound. There’s also the AMG Line Premium Plus, which comes with 22-inch AMG alloys and Hyperscreen as standard, and the Business Class model, which adds 21-inch AMG alloys and special body styling. The top-of-the-range EQE SUV AMG Line Premium Plus will cost you £122,455.
These are available to order now via the Mercedes-Benz website, with availability expected in summer 2023.
Design and features
The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV is a great-looking car, arguably even more so than the EQE saloon. There’s the distinctive Mercedes-Benz grill, with the large three-pointed star badge that’s stacked full of driving sensors and made smooth and slippery for the airflow. There’s the gentle curve of the body that looks enlarged but not boxy as it finishes in a flourish to the rear.
There’s a range of paint finishes, though it's the Alpine grey that really stands out to me, though the sodalite blue metallic may also prove a popular alternative for EV buyers looking to avoid the typical silver and white options.
The interior is beautifully finished with a familiar EQ style. It’s modern and spacious, though not void of buttons and switches completely. Everything feels big and padded around the driver's seat, from the steering wheel to the centre console. It’s not to the same level as the EQS models, as you might expect, but it fits what you might expect from an E-class or something of this level.
That higher body also means more boot space, and here you get 520 litres of storage behind the rear seats, or 1675 litres with the seats laid flat. If you need more, the EQE SUV can also tow up to 1,800 kg for a trailer or caravan.
The technology inside the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV
For those wanting the best tech, the EQE SUV comes with the option of the MBUX Hyperscreen on the Premium model – or as standard in the Premium Plus and Business Class models. This combines a 12.8-inch vertically curving centre screen with a larger 12.3-inch driver screen behind the wheel and a third 12.3-inch display in front of the passenger seat, all housed behind a single curving dash. Turned off you might think they were all part of one giant single screen but these are three separate, though interconnected, displays.
Ambient lighting runs along the top of the dash and along the doors, providing a changeable set of colours. These also double as warning lights when required. The effect can look a little disco at times but with a little setting up you can find colours that suit you.
The MBUX system includes Zync video streaming for use on the centre display when stationary or on the passenger’s screen while moving. There’s also a range of games and apps that you can play while sitting in a charging bay, or by the passengers at any time. The system also allows you to connect to your Apple Music account to stream music and to your phone to give you access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto systems.
When it comes to sound, there’s the option for the Burmester 3D surround sound system audio set up, which also provides Dolby Atmos / Spatial Audio content. It’s something I’ve seen in the EQS models as well as the S-Class and it sounds just as incredible here.
Driving and performance
The range of the EQE SUV is up to 334 miles on the 350 and 324 on the 500. This is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size and weight (2,580kg), particularly an SUV-style one. This comes thanks to some clever design work by the aerodynamic team to ensure that the airflow is directed smoothly around the wheels and under the car. With the 19-inch wheels, this has a drag coefficient of just 2.5, which is equal to the BMW iX and Porsche Taycan. However, in the UK, only the larger 20, 21 or 22 alloys are available which puts it up a fraction to 2.6, which actually still matches that of the Mercedes EQE saloon.
It uses a 90kWh battery and provides up to 170kW DC charging, which is a 32-minute 10% to 80% charge at full power. From the Premium model upwards, you also get the faster 22kW AC charging option for home charging.
There’s a couple more tricks up the EQE SUV’s sleeve that also help with the range, the first being the heat pump. In the winter this makes use of heat generated by the batteries and the motor and uses it to help heat the cabin. The heat pump alone accounts for up to 10% range improvement in cold conditions – an area that EV owners have suffered with.
The second factor is even more clever. Though this is a 4x4 vehicle with dual motors powering both front and rear axles, the front axle can be decoupled when not needed, to reduce strain on the motors. This all happens automatically and in a fraction of a second and can add up to 6% to the range, according to Mercedes. The onboard display can display when this is happening, which is often when coasting or decelerating.
To help manoeuvre the EQE SUV in tight spaces, it also features rear steering. The rear wheels can turn as much as 10 degrees, which really helps when turning the car around or parking. Of course, there’s also the Mercedes Parking Assistance technology on board, which will place you in a spot automatically, should you wish.
There’s the Driving Assistance package Plus as standard on all but the regular AMG Line verison. With Active Distance control and Active Lane Keeping Assist, you have level 2 automation to help with those long-distance drives.There’s also the Intelligent Parking Pilot with remote parking assist, to get you into the tightest of spaces with ease. I’d love to see the level 3 driving assistance come to the EQE SUV in the future, as it would certainly open up the possibilities of that Hyperscreen to the driver as well as the passengers when in traffic.
The 500 version of the EQE SUV is considerably more pokey when you put your foot down, so if you want a car with power, I’d opt for that version. Though at 402hp with a 4.9-second 0-62mph, it’s still not as wild as others in the sector. Driving in its comfort setting gives a relatively smooth and gentle ride, though smaller potholes and bumps are noticeable, particularly with the larger wheels on. Switch the car into sport mode and everything tightens up a bit, though the air suspension does a great job at keeping the car level in all modes, even in tight, fast turns.
One thing I really noticed about the EQE SUV was that the driving position is pretty high. The display behind the wheel is in a fixed position, and the sensors on the display need a clear view of your face through the gaps in the steering wheel, so you’re not left with much choice but to lift the wheel up, and the seat to match. This immediately feels very different to the saloon models, but will suit those drivers who like that positioning.
Should I buy the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV?
There’s no doubt that an SUV offers benefits to users over a saloon model, and the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV does a great job of incorporating those benefits without losing the look and feel of the original EQE. It’s a more family-friendly version, particularly for those with a couple of kids in tow. While those who really love to drive or be driven will be better served by the saloon model, the SUV provides an all-purpose solution.
Though I’m still a big fan of saloon cars, it feels natural that models such as the EQE SUV will soon replace them altogether. However, this car proves that SUVs don’t need to look big and boxy to offer that extra room and height.