Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV first drive: the difference between small and far away

Damien O'Carroll, Multimedia Journalist
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The smaller one is actually further away here.

The seemingly never-ending wave of EVs from Mercedes-Benz continues to gather pace with the German brand's two latest offerings: SUV versions of the mid-size EQE and the large EQS.

Now, if you are thanking "there are already an EQE and an EQS in the line up", then you would be very correct. But Mercedes has seeming embarked on a mission to confuse as many people as possible with their new dedicated EV models...The QEQS SUV can be distinguished from the EQE by the full-width light bar at the front.

You see, while the company's ICE models are nicely categorised by naming system that indicates size (C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, etc.), body style (just the single letter for sedans and wagons, GL added before the letter for SUVs, i.e; GLC, GLE, etc.) and position in the range (the bigger the three digit number following the letters, the more powerful and loaded with kit it is, except for AMGs of course), that has seemingly been partially abandoned for its models that sit on its new EVA dedicated electric platform.

While the initial lettering and the number denoting size and position in the range remain with the EVs, the extra letters denoting body style are gone, which is why we now have an EQE sedan and an EQE SUV.

Oh, and just to make it more confusing, the electric models that share a platform with an existing ICE model stick to the original designations, with "EQ" in place of the body style designation (EQA for the electric version of the GLA, EQC for the electric version of the GLC, etc.).

It's really quite exhausting to try and keep it all straight.

Adding to the potential confusion is the fact that the models on the all-electric platform all look strikingly similar - the EQE and EQS sedans aren't easy to tell apart with a casual glance, with it possible to think an EQE is just an EQS that is a bit further away.

And the same applies to the new SUV versions, with the EQS SUV essentially being a scaled-up seven-seater version of the EQE SUV with even more bells and whistles.

The EQE and EQS aren't easy to tell apart with a casual glance, with it possible to think an EQE is just an EQS that is a bit further away.

Still, that is where we are now, and the fact remains that, after our first taste of the EQE SUV, we can safely say that the taller Mercedes EVs are every bit as convincing as their lower, longer sedan counterparts.

While it was technically the launch of the EQE and EQS SUVs, we really only got the chance to spend any meaningful time with the EQE in two of its locally-available forms - the clunkily-named EQE 300 SUV and EQE 350 4matic SUV.

Both the EQE and EQS SUVs have slightly shorter wheelbases than their sedan counterparts, but rather obviously pump up the cargo space available, with the 5-seater EQE offering 520 litres in the boot, with 1675 litres becoming available when the rear seats are folded down.

The 7-seater EQS on the other hand offers up 196 litres with all seats in place, jumping to 565 litres with the third row folded away. This increases to a massive 2020 litres when the second row is dropped thanks to the EQS SUV's 180mm longer wheelbase.

Both versions of the EQE SUV use an 89kWh battery that offers an NEDC range of "up to 539km" (WLTP figures are closer to actual real world use and will be lower), while the EQS gets a massive 108kWh battery with a claimed NEDC range of up to 592km. All can be charged at speeds of up to 350kWh, with a 10 to 80% charge taking 32 minutes at full speed on a hypercharger, or around 90 minutes on a standard 50kWh fast charger.

A rock-solid new EV offering from Mercedes-Benz is expected these days, but the naming and styling decisions are strangely confusing.

The 300 model kicks off the EQE SUV range at $139,900 and packs a single 180kW/550Nm electric motor on the rear axle. It comes standard with adaptive LED headlights, augmented reality navigation, a head-up display, an OLED MBUX infotainment system with a 12.3-inch customisable driver's display, AMG Line interior and exterior packages, 21-inch AMG alloy wheels, a panoramic sliding sunroof, a head-up display, and a Burmester 3D surround sound system.

The EQE 350 4matic SUV adds an extra motor to the front axle and bumps the power up to 215kW/765Nm and will cost $149,900.

It also adds Mercedes-Benz's new 'transparent bonnet' camera system that acts like other similar systems by offering up a virtual view under the front of the car, which is useful for tight parking spaces and off-roading. Only one of which the EQE is likely to be tackling with any regularity.

There is, of course, an inevitable AMG version on the way (although we didn't get to sample that), with the EQE 53 4matic+ SUV landing at $199,900 and offering up a big increase in both standard equipment and performance.

Packing a hefty 460kW of power and 950Nm of torque, the EQE 53 will rip to 100km/h in just 3.5 seconds and is the first electric SUV to be offered by AMG.

There is, of course, an inevitable AMG version on the way, offering up a big increase in both equipment and performance.

The AMG gets air suspension system and rear-axle steering as standard (optional on the standard models), as well as an AMG exterior package, 22-inch AMG alloy wheels, red-finished brake calipers, an AMG interior with a Nappa leather steering wheel plus heated and cooled front seats.

On the road, it will come as no surprise to hear that the SUVs feel remarkably similar to the EQE sedans, with a seriously well-composed feel and excellent road manners. We didn't spend much time in the EQS, but equal similarities to the EQS sedan quickly became apparent. You can read more about the EQS here.

Like the sedan, the extra weight the big batteries brings along for the ride isn't really noticeable, and even with the SUV's higher centre of gravity the EQE feels welded to the road with minimal body roll and impressively accurate responses to steering inputs.

Again, like the sedan, the more powerful 350 is the pick of the standard range, with the extra grunt and added confidence of AWD more than justifying the $10k price difference between the two. The AMG will no doubt be as ballistic as the AMG sedan and will almost certainly get the same beefed up (and thoroughly excellent) brakes, as the other thing the SUV shares with the sedans is a brake pedal that, while light years better than the brakes on previous Mercedes-Benz electrified offerings, is still somewhat mute.

A rock-solid new EV offering from Mercedes-Benz is expected these days, but the naming and styling decisions are strangely confusing. Nothing that takes the shine of the EQE SUV's impressive abilities mind you, but you might have to be prepared to spend a bit of time trying to explain the difference between small and far away to people who think you have an EQS SUV...


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