How much AMG is in the new Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic? We tested the ‘base’ AMG version equipped with two synchronous motors developing 476 hp and 858 Nm.
Mercedes has taken an uncompromising approach to electrification and to that end has developed a dedicated electric platform, called EVA, for its luxury limousines and SUVs. But even with electric propulsion, AMG versions couldn’t miss out so the new EQE is also available with two AMG versions: the AMG EQE 43 4Matic and the EQE 53 4Matic+. We had the basic AMG version for testing, if we can call base version a car equipped with two electric motors developing 476 hp and 858 Nm.
The first question many are asking is whether the EQE 43 is a true AMG considering it has a kerbweight of 2,525 kg? Is a weight-to-power ratio of 5.3 kg/hp enough for a full-fledged AMG model? By comparison, the AMG E 53 with the conventional turbocharged 6-cylinder inline engine weighs 1,950 kg and develops 435 hp, resulting in a better weight-to-power ratio of 4.48 kg/hp. But if we look at the acceleration figures, we see that the Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the AMG E 53. The explanation is simple: the electric motors react instantly when the accelerator pedal is pressed and deliver all the torque from the start, so acceleration is quicker.
Surprisingly, however, acceleration is not brutal even in Sport+ mode, but almost perfectly linear. That’s why the first impression is that getting out of a standstill isn’t very quick, and you only realise this by looking at the speedometer. Thanks to YASA’s axial-flow motors and rotor-shaft cooling system, the Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic can accelerate rapidly in succession without losing its liveliness. The only condition for maximum acceleration is that the battery is charged to at least 50% of its capacity.
The driver can choose Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race Start modes, where in addition to the response of the motors, steering, suspension and sound type, the power delivery is also adjusted. In Slippery only half the power is available, in Comfort 85% (300 kW), in Sport 90% (325 kW) and in Sport+ the full 350 kW. The driving modes are changed from the rotary knob on the bottom right of the steering wheel but there is also a second rotary knob on the steering wheel on the bottom left where you can adjust completely independent the suspension (Comfort, Sport, Sport+), the sound (Balanced, Sport and Powerful) and completely disengage the ESP system if you want to play around on the track.
The drivetrain is based on the EQS AMG’s four-link front and multilink rear axle construction, except that the EQE AMG’s rear axle subframe is 50% stifferconnected to the body and the rear axle steering angle is 3.6 degrees compared to 4.5 or optionally 10 degrees on the EQS. The adaptive air suspension with two valves that independently control the compression and rebound phases also allows for varying ground clearance. On Sport and Sport+ it drops by 15 mm from standstill and on Comfort it also drops by 15 mm from 120 km/h upwards and returns to normal when speed drops below 80 km/h.
The car feels heavy despite the firm suspension on Sport/Sport+, integral steering and spontaneous steering response. Although in Sport/Sport+ modes the torque distribution shifts mostly to the rear axle, in fast cornering the understeer behaviour is felt and in the middle of the corner the high inertia is also felt although the centre of gravity is quite low and ground clearance is low. Even in Sport mode there is a slight delay in power delivery and if you press the throttle before cornering, the engines react slightly late, only on corner entry.
With high weight of over 2.5 tons it’s hard to drive sporty even though AMG has called on all its technical arsenal and fitted the most sophisticated air suspension, integral steering and a Torque Shifting system that manages torque distribution between the axles almost instantaneously.
Subjectively, however, the Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic is more comfortable than its gasoline-powered siblings. Even with the beautiful, huge 21-inch wheels, the EQE AMG runs extremely comfortably and quietly. Up front, you sit comfortably and securely in the AMG seats with side bolsters and longitudinal seat-length adjustments, but in the rear the cushion is very short. Compared to the EQS, the EQE has a three-volume body with a separate luggage compartment, and the 430-litre load volume is sufficient but 110 litres less than the AMG E 53. Mercedes has lived up to its premium badge, however, and offers a dedicated compartment for charging cables that come packed in two stylish bags.
Nonlinear regenerative braking
Mercedes boasts up to 260 kW of regenerative power in D- mode which can be activated from the paddles behind the steering wheel alongside D and D Auto. In D Auto deceleration is up to 5 m/s2 (3 m/s2 from regenerative and 2 m/s2 from conventional braking) but the transition between regenerative and hydraulic braking is non-linear and a gap in pedal travel occurs when switching between the two modes. This is where Mercedes needs to refine the system further as the demands on a premium model are very high.
The 90.6 kWh net battery is identical in all EQE versions but due to the higher power, the range of the AMG EQE is a little lower than in standard models. Mercedes claims an energy consumption of 19.7 kWh/100 km, corresponding to a range of 531 km, but driving normal in real conditions we recorded an energy consumption of 27.9 kWh/100 km, which corresponds to a range of about 350 km. Only with great care and using only Comfort mode you can reach a range of 400 km between two charging. The Cx of 0.22 does not reach the exceptional figure of 0.20 from EQS but the value itself is remarkable. At this power level and with the very high weight, lower consumption is hard to be achieved.
On long journeys it’s good to program your destination into the navigation system as the navigation comes with a facility called Electric Intelligence which preheats or cools the battery to charge at full speed when you reach the charging station. Also, when you program your navigation destination, you don’t have to worry about range because the system calculates range based on the topography of the route and directs you to the nearest charging station when needed.
The cockpit of the EQE AMG impresses with AMG seats and a dashboard with an 11.9-inch portrait display carried over from the S-Class. Due to the exorbitant price of over 8,000 euro, the Hyperscreen option is not worth considering especially since the standard MBUX system with portrait screen works flawlessly. All menus are intuitive and excellently structured and the screen resolution is superb. The 12.3-inch virtual instrument cluster screen offers various graphic modes that can be changed from the minitouch on the left arm of the steering wheel, while the right arm minitouch can be used to control the multimedia system, which can also be controlled by touch.
The Artico leatherette upholstery is a compromise solution but the Neotex material on the dashboard that has replaced Alcantara is not worthy of the premium class although it is durable. Slightly glossy, it feels like a plastic although the texture bears little resemblance to Alcantara. For the T-Class it’s fine, but in an AMG you want finer materials especially since Mercedes is asking 103,970 euros for this AMG. That’s almost 30,000 euro more than the BMW i4 M50 which has even more power (544 hp).
Because of the excessive weight, the AMG spirit is a bit blurred. The Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic is fast in a straight line but in the corners you feel the inertia caused by the high weight even though Mercedes has used all the technological arsenal for the drivetrain. Comfort is top class but some of the interior materials are not up to the standard of a car priced over 100,000 euros. Interior space is generous but comfort on the rear bench is not great due to the short cushion. Range is decent but not spectacular. The price is relatively high compared to some of its rivals.