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  • Writer's pictureMarc Gonzalez

Mercedes EQE: To SUV or not to SUV, that is the question.

Mercedes-Benz has started increasing the number of electric models in its lineup to meet consumer demand and government regulations. This piece will focus on two mid-size models, the Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4MATIC Sedan and the EQE 500 4MATIC SUV. We wanted to determine the best vehicle since they're nearly identical in price and size. Let's jump into it: the EQE 500 we tested had an MSRP of $116,030 and was built at the Bremen plant in Germany, while the EQE 500 SUV had an MSRP of $127,330 and was built at the Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama. 

Mercedes EQE
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Design-wise, both electric models follow the path created by the EQS, the first electric model in North America in 2021. In terms of size, both the EQE and EQE SUV are similar to the Gaz/hybrid E-Class and GLE models. The length difference between both models is a mere 60 mm (2.4 inches). However, the gas and EQ models have distinct appearances catering to different buyers. The EQ vehicles have an attractive design, with a sleek front and side profile on the sedan. A lip spoiler complements the curved rear, while the glossy black bumper adds a nice touch. We usually see black cladding on SUVs and wagons but rarely on sedans. As for the EQE SUV, much like the EQS SUV we tested, it has a curvy and rounder look than its gasoline counterpart. The vehicle's profile also reminds us of the sub-compact GLA with its large doors, longer hood and compact rear part. Overall, we have a clear winner: the EQE sedan is a better-looking option than the SUV. It better embodies the luxurious ethos of the Stuttgart-based automaker and its premium price tag. 

Inside, the differences between the Mercedes EQE 500 and the EQE 500 SUV are evident. Let's start with the similarities: both EQEs have a lot of glossy plastic panels, which may look great new, but with time, they will get scratched and won't look as good. On the sedan, we found it on the center console, which is not a particularly great space to put such material, while on the SUV, it was leather and wood in the same spot due to the MBUX Hyperscreen (we'll get to it in a moment). It will withstand the test of time much better. Both seats were comfortable; unfortunately, we encountered problems finding an ergonomic driving position in the SUV. We had to sit at some angle to get a good grip on the pedals, which was strange. The sedan interior room is decent; the roofline is relatively low in the back, so you may have to duck to get inside. Once sitting, it has the dimensions of a comparable E-Class, meaning you get a backseat for three people, better suited for two. The EQE SUV isn't available with a third row; you need to step up to the larger EQS SUV, which is understandable due to the shape of the rear part. Still, getting in the back seats is easier in the SUV than the sedan due to the coupe-like roofline in the latter. Our taller staff had to duck quite often to avoid hitting their head on the frame, called the 'One Bow' design by the automaker. Cargo space is plentiful in the SUV, up to 1,675 L, with the rear seats folded, giving a nearly flat cargo floor. The sedan only has 430 L, almost 20% less than the E-Class sedan. When it comes to installing child seats, the sedan model has easily identifiable ISOFIX ports, and the rear anchor is located on the top near the rear window. Similarly, the SUV model has easy-to-find ISOFIX ports, and its rear anchors are on the back of the seat.

Circling back to the interior, we tried both MBUX setups, including the Hyperscreen in the EQE SUV. This $9,900 option has the cluster seamlessly connected to the dashboard, the central infotainment, and the additional passenger screen. The gauge cluster that seems tacked on behind the steering wheel in the EQE sedan looks less elegant. In the SUV with the Hyperscreen, the Start button is located on the center console. You'll find it in the sedan in a more conventional location, next to the gauge cluster. Both models get a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster; you can also pay extra to upgrade to a 3D cluster. As its name suggests, the Hyperscreen features a larger 17.7-inch central screen and a 12.3-inch passenger screen, in contrast to the 12.8-inch standard infotainment screen. Otherwise, performance and features are the same. What's great about the Hyperscreen is that nearly every element on the big screen is on the passenger screen. The person can act like a co-pilot; you can have the map on display and change the radio station simultaneously. Is the extra $9,900 necessary? Of course not: one screen is enough, but the layout with the 53-inch screens brings out the luxury experience that one expects from the German automaker, especially at this price point. Wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto are available on both layouts and for some reason, the Burmester Sound system was slightly better in the sedan than in the SUV. That said, you still get your money's worth with this equipment. 

Moving on to performances, the Mercedes EQE 500 sedan and EQE 500 SUV share the same powertrain. Side note: the 500 is the middle trim in the EQ lineup; you will find the EQE 350 and AMG EQE variants on both body styles. These two vehicles share a 90.6 kWh battery coupled to a dual permanently excited synchronous electric motors setup, which develops 402 hp and 633 lb-ft of torque in both cases. The sedan does a 0-100kph sprint in 4.7 seconds while the SUV does it in 4.9 seconds, and it can tow up to 1,600 kg (3,527 lbs). The official electric range for the sedan is 418 km (260 mi) and 433 km (269 mi) for the SUV due to the difference in weight. The sedan weighs 56 kg more; every kilogram makes a difference in the range. The sedan had a much higher range since the energy consumption was much lower than the SUV. 

The range numbers are only theoretical; reality told a different story in our testing. We observed a 19.4 kWh/100km energy efficiency rating for the EQE 500 sedan, leading us to a 467 km range. We even saw 546 km with a full battery, but this was optimistic. The numbers for the EQE 500 SUV were concerning; we observed 31.9 kWh/100km on average, leading us to a 284 km range in theory and 400 km in actual driving conditions. In fairness, it was a little colder when we drove the SUV compared to the sedan (22c vs 7c). Another disappointment, which applies to both vehicles, was the fast charging speeds. The EQEs are rated at 170 kW on a DC charger, but we have yet to get close to that. We hovered around 100 kW with the sedan. We had trouble charging on a 100 kW charger with the SUV, relying on the 50 kW, a measly 42 kW of power, and 1 ½ hour to charge from 40% to 100%. The vehicle did not recognize that we were heading to a charging station, so the battery wasn't pre-heated to access the fastest charging speed.

Now, for the driving experience, the EQE sedan is planted and offers excellent acceleration for such a long vehicle. As expected, the power is delivered instantly, but you don't feel the acceleration wind so much at highway speeds, as you can observe on other electric vehicles. In Sport mode, the sedan minimizes oversteer with electronic stability control while delivering maximum power. On the other hand, the EQE SUV is taller and thus makes the acceleration feel a bit stranger. You can feel the vehicle's weight in the balance, and the vehicle was prone to making some of our staff feel sick compared to the sedan due to its subpar weight transfer management on a daily commute. In both models, the steering is precise. The sedan has four-wheel steering, which makes for better handling. The SUV has more body roll in tight curves, making it less comfortable than the sedan, but it still has decent handling. Sport mode helped move the vehicle faster but still felt awkward; Mercedes engineers need to improve ride quality. Braking is proper on both cars; you must press hard to have good stopping power; otherwise, it's primarily regenerative braking. Word on the regen, as it's called in the electric community, we found the auto setting on regenerative braking to be quite helpful and precise on a combined city/highway as the vehicle will use radars and cameras to anticipate when you'll need more or less regenerative braking to come to a halt safely. The air suspension is also great; it improves the quietness of each ride and makes for a cozy drive on both vehicles. 

Mercedes Benz EQE Sedan
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Looking back, we can see a clear winner in this comparison. The Mercedes EQE 500 4MATIC sedan better embodies the EQ direction the Stuttgart-based manufacturer strives for its electric models. It represents the best value in style, electric performance and price since it costs about three thousand less than the SUV. The Mercedes EQE 500 4MATIC SUV could be more convincing, but the increased practicality is appreciated. Opting for the larger screen in the sedan gives you the best of both worlds. 

Mercedes EQS SUV
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Final thoughts: first, if you want to increase the acceleration on your EQE or EQS, sedan or SUV, you can use the Mercedes Me app and order it. You can pay monthly, yearly or even for the vehicle's lifetime! You can also shop for the AMG models, the AMG EQE 4MATIC+ sedan and AMG EQE SUV, if you want the ultimate package. Secondly, if you want an electric third-row vehicle, you must step up to the EQS SUV. We are still waiting for confirmation. However, we expect the usable battery capacity of the EQEs to increase from the current 90.6 kWh to achieve a 500 km range across the board for both the sedan and SUV! 

Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV
Photo by Vince P. Szigeti

Mercedes has lent us this vehicle for one week as a press vehicle. We have no affiliation with Mercedes Canada. The above reflects our personal opinion of the car referred to above.

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