The proliferation of models in the Mercedes-Benz lineup has all but undone the established relationships between the stars of Stuttgart’s product constellation. But two of the company’s light fixtures remain gravitationally locked, a binary star system: the S and the E. The S-Class is Mercedes’ supergiant, its brightest light. Class E is the secondary star, still bright but simply giant, shining at about eight-tenths the intensity of S.
That’s why, soon after the debut of the all-electric EQS sedan, cosmic symmetry gave us a taste of the all-electric EQE. The first is the expected technology showcase. But Mercedes didn’t just make the latter the expected eight-tenths replicant, so the EQE is designed to be the EQS’ “sporty little brother”.
It starts with the EQ sub-brand trademarks of a black fascia panel and solid rear light bar, joined by the “one-bow” greenhouse that extends from hood to tail. . Among the superficial differences between the two EVs, the EQE lacks the solid light bar of the EQS on top of the grille and fits with slightly different headlights and signature DRL.
The dimensional changes of the EQE accentuate the sportiness. Overall length is about nine inches shorter than the EQS, but the wheelbase only shrinks 3.5 inches. The EQE maintains the visual connection with the EQS despite truncated overhangs making the side view somewhat truncated, an impression reinforced by the EQE being the same height as the EQS but slightly wider.
The battery nested in the wheelbase is a 10-module version of the 12-module unit built into the EQS. That’s good for 90.6kWh of usable power and what we’re told will be range in excess of 300 miles. As on the EQS, the maximum charge rate is 170 kW.
The cabin only gives up a few sybaritic flourishes to the EQS – Burmester Audio’s Atmos system isn’t available here, for example. The interior adds an inch of front shoulder room and three inches of overall length over the current E-Class, a sedan we’ve praised for its luxurious digs.
There is a quirk to the rear quarters, however, especially at the entrance. The single-arch condensed greenhouse also curves downward along its edges. This creates a noticeably compact rear door opening, requiring a duck of the head to clear the curved lintel. Mercedes fitted the EQE with a trunk instead of a hatch as on the EQS, eliminating the overhead hinges to increase headroom. Still, the floor-mounted battery pushes the rear hip point 2.5 inches higher than in the traditional E-Class. It’s comfortable there, but adult rear passengers will find the cabin’s curved ceiling ever-present in their sight.
Moving to the front row gives a glimpse into our autonomous future. It feels like sitting in a custom pod. The upper edge of the door panels goes up from the windows and forwards towards the windshield. There is hardly any width at the door panel at the shoulder line, so forget to rest your elbow unless the window is open. While that won’t matter in the autonomous future, the hood eats away at visibility even more, and the advanced driver-assist gear atop the steeply raked windshield further obscures the view outward. ‘before already compromised. The curved ceiling reduces the height of the side windows and the heavy A- and B-pillars reduce their width, while the rear window, seen through the rear-view mirror, is a cargo slot. This is a cockpit for looking inwards rather than outwards.
Luckily, there’s plenty to do inside, then. The standard instrument cluster places a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 12.8-inch tablet in the center of the dash. It’s what’s going on for the minimalist now, and it looks great against a backdrop of wood or glossy black trim.
The optional Hyperscreen, making its third appearance after the S-Class and EQS, extends three screens across more than 56.0 inches of curved glass panel, in addition to the head-up display included with the Hyperscreen. The user interface keeps the most often used systems such as navigation and music at the highest level, generally doing a good job of keeping mission control legible. There were a few curious quirks that could have been toned down with greater familiarity, such as determining when the music controls will appear at the bottom of the center screen or on the right side. And among the navigation quirks, the augmented reality video feed appears at the top of the map in the center display, hiding the arrow glyph we’re used to following. We ended up triangulating three navigation screens at any one time – one in the HUD, one in the instrument cluster and one in the center display. That’s a lot of scanning and a waste of at least two screens.
Our advice: introduce your children to video games now. The driving of the future will spring from heaps of data.
The driving experience is all one expects. The EQE350+’s single engine produces 288 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. Previously, we considered these average figures to be able to move some 5,200 pounds of Swabian weight, but what difference does electric propulsion make. On twisty roads, the sedan hits its “sporty little brother” target, a product of instant torque, optional rear-wheel steering (up to 10 degrees), and a curb weight of a few hundred pounds. less than the EQS.
The advanced driver assistance systems could be polished, however, exhibiting occasional learner’s license weaknesses, such as late braking and skittishness on narrow roads with oncoming traffic. But the live updates promise to add finesse.
We will need to get the EQE for testing to measure its noise levels against the EQS. Our unaided ears found the Executive Transport quieter at 110mph on the German autobahn than other gas and electric vehicles we’ve driven at much lower autobahn speeds. In fact, the era of electric vehicles could renew Mercedes’ reputation for bank vault solidity – what made the biggest impression was the quietness of the vacuum of space. Mercedes engineers won their rep obsessed with eliminating hunting noises. Take the powertrain bracket: they put the electric motor in a damped subframe that sits inside another subframe with the power electronics, wrapped those electronics in a sandwich cover , then dampened that subframe assembly of the chassis. Elsewhere, Mercedes has rerouted air conditioning and cooling plumbing to eliminate fluid gurgling noises, and foam-filled tires have their lettering cut into the sidewall instead of proud of it. In town, the sedan rolls calm as a crypt. At a traffic light in Frankfurt, we realized the only things we could hear were our tinnitus and neuroses.
Despite its shortcomings, the EQE is already superb. And a 402-hp dual-motor EQE500 4Matic and EQE53 4Matic+ are yet to come. While children are invited to become razors Grand tourism and Digital combat simulator, we recommend meditation classes for EQE buyers. Quietude will leave them plenty of time with their thoughts.
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