Armed with up to 505kW of power and 1000Nm of torque, the EQE 53 is putting out numbers well beyond what you’d associate with AMG 63 models. Alas, the brand has told us it’s reserving the 63 badge for track-ready vehicles, at least when it comes to EVs.
Before it hits Australian showrooms in the latter stages of 2022, CarExpert attended the international media drive of the AMG EQE 53 4Matic+ to see if this new electric super sedan is worth getting excited about.
Local pricing and specifications for the AMG EQE 53 are still to be confirmed. We should hear more closer to the model’s Australian launch in the fourth quarter of 2022.
In Europe, the EQE 53 4Matic+ starts from €103,827 ($159,061), which more than €30,000 ($45,959) dearer than the AMG EQE 43 that won’t be offered in Australia.
With that in mind, we can forecast a starting point around the $160,000-$170,000 mark, given Australian models are likely to have a higher level of specification than Euro-market equivalents.
Should it arrive in that price bracket, the AMG EQE 53 4Matic+ will compete with the likes of the Audi e-tron GT (from $181,700) and Porsche Taycan 4 (from $176,600). While the EQE 53 quotes beefier outputs and performance than the Audi and Porsche twins, the AMG’s rivals have been developed to be more sports car-like, whereas the EQE is more of a straight-line Autobahn-smasher.
Watch this space.
It’s hard to not say ‘wow’ when you hop inside the EQE, especially when optioned with the MBUX Hyperscreen setup.
With a 12.3-inch display in front of the driver and passenger, flanking a massive 17.7-inch central touchscreen, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into the cockpit of an aircraft.
The system runs the latest MBUX 2.0 infotainment software, meaning it has various connected functions, embedded satellite navigation, and wireless smartphone mirroring functions.
Our test vehicles also featured the augmented reality (AR) navigation function which shows a live camera feed in the central display with arrows laid over to match navigation prompts for turns or lane changes. It’s super swish and a cool party trick, and even proved handy given we were driving in a foreign country on the opposite side of the road.
We’ve already praised the new MBUX system, and this big screen just magnifies the experience. We only spent a couple of hours with the EQE, but I will say the passenger-side touchscreen seems a little gimmicky, much like the unit available in the Porsche Taycan.
Oddly, there’s no head-up display in the EQE we tested. According to Mercedes-AMG’s global media materials, the HUD is optional equipment.
The AMG seats in the EQE 53 are a different design to what we’ve seen from Benz’s combustion-powered AMG models.
Comfortable, supportive and offering plenty of electric adjustment, the front pews in the AMG EQE 53 look and feel special and keep you snug during freeway stints and twisty bits. The standard Artico man-made upholstery is fairly convincing as a leather substitute, but you can’t beat the upmarket feel of the optional Nappa hide.
There’s pops of colour in the contrasting red seatbelts and accents along the seat backs for added visual effect, and of course there’s myriad colour combinations you can select for the ambient lighting feature for added ambience.
Overall build quality feels pretty darn good with plenty of padded, leatherette-lined surfaces and soft-touch details. We didn’t hear any rattles or squeaks in these early production vehicles, either.
Keep in mind our short stint in the EQE was spent in the first row, so there was a big focus on whatever is within reach of the driver or front passenger.
The AMG Performance steering wheel, trimmed in lovely Nappa leather with perforated grips, looks super cool but the touch-capacitive controls on the double-decker spokes can be a little fiddly. Nothing new.
We do like the LCD rotary controls on the lower section, which allow the driver to toggle functions such as drive mode, AMG Sound Experience engine noises, and the adjustable dampers. It all works well.
The steering mounted paddle shifters don’t change ‘gears’, given this is an EV, but it allows you to adjust the regenerative braking – from very low to very strong.
While we didn’t really spend any time in the rear, being a larger sedan the EQE should offer decent accommodation for even taller adults.
There’s amenities like rear air vents with available climate control, map pockets on the front seat backs as well as a fold-down centre arm rest with cupholders. This is basically an electric E-Class after all…
Further back, there’s a conventional sedan boot lid rather than the hatch like the fastback shape might have you expect. Mercedes claims a volume of 430L (VDA) which is about 120L off an E-Class sedan.
The AMG EQE 53 4Matic+ is powered by a dual-motor electric drivetrain with “fully variable” all-wheel drive. How much power it puts down, in Europe at least, depends on how you spec it.
As standard, the EQE 53 outputs 460kW and 950Nm, good for a supercar-beating 3.5-second sprint from 0-100km/h on its way to a top speed of 220km/h.
When optioned with the AMG Dynamic Plus Package, outputs are bumped to a massive 505kW and 1000Nm. Mercedes-AMG claims the optioned-up EQE 53 can hit 100kmh from rest in just 3.3 seconds, and reach a top speed of 240km/h.
The electric drivetrain is fed by a 90.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack with 328V architecture. It has a maximum charge rate of 170kW using a DC fast charger, allowing 180km (WLTP) of range to be replenished in just 15 minutes. There’s a standard 11kW AC onboard charger which can be upgraded to 22kW.
Japanese models will feature bi-directional charging.
The battery management system in the 53 has an AMG-specific tune, and will be able to receive over-the-air updates for “continuous improvements over the lifecycle”. Additionally, the EQE 53 features an AMG-specific wiring harness “adaptive to the higher performance capability.
Mercedes-AMG claims the EQE 53 4Matic+ consumes 20.3-23.2kWh/100km (preliminary figures) on the combined WLTP test cycle depending on specification, allowing for a provision driving range of 444-518 kilometres. Our test probably wasn’t indicative of real-world use, and we were seeing trip computer readouts of 38-40kWh/100km at certain points – best to wait for it to come to Australia for a more accurate test.
No matter how you look at it, this thing is pulling huge numbers. Despite its AMG 53 badging, the outputs and performance figures quoted by the EQE 53 are in line with the Mercedes-AMG E63 S (450kW/850Nm, 3.4s 0-100).
To achieve the quoted acceleration figures, AMG stipulates the vehicle must have a minimum 70 per cent of charge.
It’s unclear whether Australian models will feature the AMG Dynamic Plus Package as standard, but given the local arm has opted to only bring higher-powered ‘S’ models on most occasions, CarExpert expects the flagship drivetrain specification to be the sole offering when the EQE 53 lobs before year’s end.
Our time with the EQE 53 consisted of a two-hour drive program shared with another journalist near Colmar, France and finishing up at an airport on the border of France and Switzerland.
This route included scaling the nearby mountain roads from our starting point which included twisty, technical B-roads, and ended with a freeway stint as we approached the airport.
Given this big electric sedan weighs in at 2525kg (kerb), I wasn’t under any illusion this was going to handle like a sports car. Further, the high cabin belt line and windowline means gives an impression of heft from behind the wheel.
Let’s start with the acceleration and powertrain performance. This thing is bloody quick.
Even in its standard setting, punch the throttle and you’re thrown back in your seat. Mercedes has done a great job at tailoring the powertrain to the selected drive mode, meaning you can be smoother and more progressive in Comfort.
We did a standing start and while we didn’t time the run from 0-100, the sheer force this vehicle accelerates with is breathtaking the first few times you do it. Laws permitting, you’d make it up to 200km/h without breaking a sweat.
What isn’t so flash is the AMG Sound Experience.
The heavily synthesised backing track offers a range of sounds and intensities which you can fiddle with, but regardless of the setting it’s clearly not trying to mimic a combustion-engined AMG and it sounds so computer-generated it’s sort of just… there.
AMGs have long been heralded for wild soundtracks that put a smile on your face, but the EQE left me feeling like it was lacking soul. I would compare the sound, particularly in its more prominent settings, to something you’d expect from The Jetsons – whether that’s a pro or con will be up to you – and it frightened me on one occasion because it plays a loud noise on start-up and shut-down.
There’s no real sharpness or engagement to the way it tackles corners either. The steering is accurate but a little numb, and you can feel the physical heft as the EQE transfers its weight through bends.
With that said, there’s heaps of grip and the adaptive air suspension does a good job at keeping all that body weight in check while also providing an almost magic carpet-like ride. You also have the confidence to power out of corners with all 950-1000Nm thanks to the variable all-paw traction.
The standard rear-axle steering helps the EQE 53 feel quite manoeuvrable for such a big thing in town, and helps to aid stability at higher speeds. The rear wheels turn up to 3.6 degrees in the opposite direction to the fronts below 60km/h to “promote agile handling”, and in the same direction above it to elongate the wheelbase.
During our launch drive the summery French weather turned to almost torrential rain, with particularly foggy patches through the mountain portion.
In all conditions, the EQE accelerated and handled in a way that inspired confidence, as much as the conditions made new-to-LHD me very nervous.
The insulation from road and wind noise was likewise impressive, though I guess you should expect luxurious cabin quietness from a large Benz. However, this is an AMG riding on 21-inch alloys, and it was quite good save for a bit of wind noise at 130km/h on a French freeway.
For more detailed impressions, we’ll need to wait until the AMG EQE 53 arrives in Australia.
AMG EQE 53 4Matic+ highlights:
- AMG exterior styling
- Digital Light LED headlights
- 20-inch AMG light alloy wheels, aero optimised
- Available MBUX Hyperscreen with AMG-specific content
- 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
- 12.3-inch touchscreen passenger display
- 17.7-inch touchscreen infotainment display
- AMG seats in Artico leatherette/Microcut microfibre
- Red contrast topstitching
- AMG badges on seat backrests
- AMG emblems embossed in front head restraints
- Instrument panel and beltlines in space grey Artico leatherette
- Microcut microfibre interior accents
- AMG Performance steering wheel in nappa leather
- Flattened bottom section
- Perforated on grip area
- Silver-coloured aluminium paddles for regen modes
- AMG steering wheel buttons
- AMG sports pedals
- AMG floor mates
- Door sill trims with illuminated AMG lettering
- Rear axle steering
The above list is based on global market specification. Full Australian pricing and specifications will be detailed closer to launch during the fourth quarter of 2022.
The Mercedes-Benz EQE (including AMG models) hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP nor ANCAP. Thus, there’s no safety rating available.
Given the larger EQS, with which the EQE shares its basic architecture, scored a 2021-stamped five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, we expect the EQE to achieve the same.
Standard assistance equipment includes:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
- Front cross-traffic assist (AEB)
- Adaptive cruise control
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear cross-traffic assist
- Exit warning
- Evasive steering assist
- Active Steering Assist (lane centring)
- Lane change assist
- Lane-keep assist
- Traffic sign assist
Like the wider Mercedes range in Australia, the EQE will be backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Also, like other Mercedes-EQ electric models, the EQE should come with a complementary subscription to the Chargefox public charger network – likely spanning five years.
Mercedes-Benz EQA customers currently get a three-year subscription thrown in, while EQC owners get five. Given the EQE’s position in the line-up, we expect five.
As for servicing, we’ll know more about the cost of maintenance closer to launch. For reference, the EQA and EQC are offered with five-year service plans advertised for $2650, averaging out to $500 per year. Intervals should be 12 months or 25,000 kilometres – whichever comes first.
The AMG EQE 53 is as fast as it is futuristic feeling – very.
It’s a head-turner with odd proportions and strange design cues, but it’s also quite recognisable as a Benz. As an AMG model, it’s also got trademark design cues and features you’d expect from the performance division.
505kW and 1000Nm are nothing to sneeze at, and a couple of tries of foot-to-the-floor acceleration during our launch drive made it very clear this thing has AMG acceleration.
But what it has in straight-line pace it also lacks in character and engagement. The AMG Sound Experience was pretty naff, and the sheer size of this thing means it’s not the first car you’d pick to tackle a hillclimb or mountain pass.
There’s no denying the EQE will appeal to the early-adopting Benz buyer, however. It has all the familiar tech and design a prospective owner could want, and it has that Tesla-like neck-breaking acceleration with a familiar badge.
We’ll get a better feel of the EQE when it arrives in Australia later this year, but I have plenty of confidence these will become a regular sight on our roads soon.
Click the images for the full gallery