The UK Government will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, meaning traditional car makers are scrabbling to overhaul their lineups to include electric vehicles before the ban comes in. Mercedes-Benz is currently one of the leaders in this race, with the German brand currently offering excellent electric alternatives to its ICE-powered vehicles. From the luxurious electric limo (the Mercedes EQS) to a practical family SUV (Mercedes EQB) - Merc has an EV for everyone.
Now, Mercedes has the EQE which is an electric alternative to the popular E-Class, because while electric SUVs are all the rage at the moment, there are plenty of people out there who still prefer saloons.
Personally, I've always prefered the practicality of SUVs and estate cars, but after spending a week with the EQE, I now think the saloon bodyshape makes more sense for electric vehicles. Read on to find out why…
Whereas Mercedes' electric SUVs are based on their combustion-engined counterparts, the business saloon EQE is the second model based on the premium-class electric architecture (the first being the EQS). This is important as it means the EQE has been built from the ground up as an electric vehicle, rather than Mercedes trying to retrofit an existing E-Class chassis with EV power units and batteries.
The EQE features the now distinctive Mercedes-EQ aesthetic, with a swooping silhouette and a cab-forward design. The overhangs and the front end are kept short and the large wheels are flush with the outer edge of the body.
You can tell everything has been done to achieve the low drag coefficient of 0.20. That makes it the most aerodynamic production car in the world (alongside the EQS). Try getting an SUV to achieve that figure…
Inside you get more space than the current E-Class, with the interior feeling light, spacious and airy.
The refinement is next level as well – the EQE is seriously quiet and comfortable. I drove from Oxford down to Goodwood and back in one day (around 250 miles) and never felt fatigued or uncomfortable.
This is also partially down to the advanced driver assist features available in the EQE, which will adjust your speed based on cars in front and the speed limit, brake for you when you're coming to a junction, and keep you centred in a lane in a motorway.
Those long journeys are possible thanks to the large battery, which has a usable energy content of 90 kWh and an official range of up to 410 miles (according to WLTP). Of course, the actual figure you're likely to achieve is below that – I found you're more likely to get around 330-350 miles on a single charge, and didn't have any anxiety on my 250-mile roundtrip.
To make journey planning easy, I used Mercede's 'Navigation with Electric Intelligence', which plans the fastest and most convenient route, including charging stops and other factors. It reacts dynamically to traffic jams or a change in driving style, for example. Before you even start, MBUX will tell you whether the available battery capacity is sufficient to return to the starting point without charging.
In terms of performance, the EQE 350+ has a single 288 bhp electric motor that drives the rear wheels. It'll accelerate from 0 - 62mph in 6.4 seconds and go onto a top speed of 130mph. That's adequate performance for most people, but if you require something a little faster, Mercedes is bringing out a 500 4Matic model which will do 0 - 62mph in 4.7 seconds, and a Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 which will do it in just 3.5 seconds.
The true highlight
Like the EQS, the EQE offers the very latest technology – this is the true highlight. The EQE launches with an additional sound experience called "Roaring Pulse", two special driving modes (including one for young drivers), mini-games, the Highlight mode and Digital Light with projection function.
It's the Digital Light function that impressed me most, as this uses the headlights to project an animation when locking and unlocking the car. There are several options to choose from, including 'Digital Rain' and 'Brand World', the latter of which projects an animated Mercedes-EQ logo (you can find a short video here (opens in new tab)).
Mercedes has really focused on the air quality in the EQE, with an Energizing Air Control Plus system designed to stop fine particles, micro-particles, pollen and other substances from entering with the outside air. If the quality of the outside air is low, the system can also recommend closing the side windows or sunroof, as well as automatically switching to recirculation mode.
Although not on my review model, the EQE is also available with the MBUX Hyperscreen. This large, curved screen unit sweeps from A-pillar to A-pillar and looks like the most futuristic infotainment system out there. It'll undoubtedly impress any passengers you carry in the car, but the high-definition display that comes as standard is very good as well.
If that wasn't enough, Mercedes has said there is a possibility to activate completely new functions via over-the-air updates in many areas.
Basically, if you like technology (and if you're reading T3 then I should hope you do) then you'll love the EQE. It really does seem like the pinnacle of car tech, and it's not just the wealth of options that impresses me, but the speed and fluidity with which it works.
The Mercedes-Benz EQE is available to buy now with prices starting from £73,450 (US price TBC).
This article is part of The T3 Edit (opens in new tab), a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.