The electric luxury SUV segment is moving fast, and aiming to not just challenge rivals but spearhead the market is this, the new Mercedes EQE SUV.
First drives of the firm’s newest EQ model won’t happen until spring, so for now our experience is restricted to the passenger seat. Our first taste is of the 500 AMG Line, which packs a 90kWh battery for a range of 337 miles. The maximum charging rate is capped at 170kW, so a 10-80 per cent top-up takes just over half an hour. The EQE SUV is closer to the slightly smaller EQC in size than the EQS SUV, but our first impression is that it feels much more like the latter on the road.
If you see a striking resemblance to the brand’s range-topping EQS SUV, you’d be forgiven. Along with the crossover of exterior and interior design cues, a lot of the EQS SUV’s technology has been carried over.
Our car was fitted with air suspension (offering up to 25mm adjustment in ride height) and in Comfort mode the EQE SUV feels superbly refined, with a distant tyre rumble and the odd rut or bump dealt with impeccably. Even in its softest setting, the EQE SUV still remains fairly poised in corners. Sport and Sport Plus modes keep body roll in check, and they’re needed, given that the EQE SUV weighs well over 2.5 tonnes.
That weight makes the car’s performance all the more impressive. There’s 402bhp on tap for a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds, and the instantaneous torque of the dual-motor, four-wheel drive system results in a satisfying surge of acceleration.
We also rode in the EQE SUV 53, which features a few giveaways hinting at the extra performance on offer. The blank grille has vertical strakes, there are AMG-specific wheels with body-colour wheelarches and a gloss-black rear bumper with more AMG-specific touches like the fake exhaust trims.
From the passenger seat, the AMG 53 feels sharper, and with 678bhp and 1,000Nm of torque in our AMG Dynamic Plus package-equipped car, even more rapid. The EQE SUV 53 dispatches corners pretty well, with only a faint sense of understeer.
While the EQE SUV is positioned as a smaller, slightly sportier alternative to the EQS SUV, our first impressions favour the comfort-orientated approach. The level of refinement that a pure-electric powertrain can promote fits superbly well within Mercedes’ remit, but less so AMG’s.