Part of its BEV or Born-EV range, the EQE SUV further solidifies Mercedes’ aim of saving the planet without sacrificing luxury. Not to be confused with PNR code for a Vistara flight, the EQE SUV is named such because it sits alongside the GLE, but on the other side of the electric fence and SUV…well, because look at it. But don’t go around looking for any GLE cues here, you won’t find any. Designed to cut across the wind like a Katana through custard, the EQE SUV bears the family look of Mercedes’ EV range that comprises the EQS, EQC, EQB and others.
Mercedes Benz EQE 500 SUV review
Saving the world, one millionaire at a time
The face is from the future, with a light bar connecting the LED Digital headlights held by the blacked out frame with hundreds of tiny tristars flanking the giant one. Powerdomes on the bonnet and running board along the side give it a sleek yet muscular stance. The tail lights with a 3D Helix look continue to look unique, even though the connecting lightbar across is becoming an increasingly common design feature amongst the current crop.
However, the real design highlight is on the inside, where the mega 56in Hyperscreen resides. Plucked from the flagship EQS, in international markets, this is a pricey option but the EQE 500 4Matic sold in India will get it as standard and it elevates the interiors to another level. Three separate screens behind a single pane of Corning Gorilla Glass give it the effect of a unified display when the car is off, leaving physical button count to a bare minimum.
There are a few essential buttons on the centre console but what really catches your eye is the cover for the cupholders which is finished in open pore wood with tiny aluminium star inlays. It reeks of top-class craftsmanship and so does the rest of the cabin with its active ambient lighting, ornate Burmester speaker grilles, floating door grabs and the massage/cooled/heated seats that hug you like a motherless child. Underthigh support could be in short supply for taller passengers but there is no faulting the contouring and cushioning of these seats.
You could easily spend an entire day exploring the MBUX presented on the Hyperscreen but thankfully it’s built on a Zero layer design. This basically means that it uses machine learning and AI to sense emerging patterns and prompt you to take actions during specific times of the day or even locations. The climate controls stay visible at all times along the bottom of the primary screen too, making it easy to make quick changes. Conveniently, the MBUX system also allows for biometric recognition of up to 8 different drivers and depending on who is logging in, will set-up hundreds of parameters specific to that driver’s preferences.
One of the best implementations of wireless Apple CarPlay in the industry, the sharpness and resolution of the display just makes album artwork look breathtaking and Mercedes is untouchable when it comes to ambient lighting in their cars. The EQE is no different and goes one step further by making the ambient lighting “active” in the form of notifying you before you open the door if there is a cyclist in your blind spot. But the highlight of this cabin is the Dolby Atmos enabled Burmester 3D sound system with 15 speakers and more than 700 watts of power. You can unlock this via a USB-plugged iPhone or using the built-in integration with Apple Music.
The six USB-C ports scattered around the cabin should keep you charged and connected. There are apps like Gaana and Wynk Music also that support Dolby Atmos and the experience is immersive, spacious and completely enthralling. Heightened by the inherent quietness of the EQE’s cabin, it makes for an amazing drive, whether it’s 550kms on a full charge or going around the corner store to pick up groceries. Due to Apple’s firewall though, there is no way you can tell if the track you’re listening to is in Dolby Atmos on the CarPlay screen, so you will have to refer to your phone’s music screen.
ADAS comes in the form of various supporting active drive assist features like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, emergency brake assist, attention assist etc and they all work as advertised. Word of advice though, keeping the threshold to “early” for the active brake assist wil be wise given the close proximity of other vehicles in our cities. Different modes in the driver instrument cluster change the displays completely and maybe, even your mood behind the wheel. A detailed Head-up display completes the suite of information you can access at your fingertips or in your line of sight.
Being the top-spec non-AMG EQE, the 500 comes with a 90.5kWh battery pack that supports up to 170kW of DC fast charging and a claimed range in excess of 500kms, mitigating range anxiety for all except the intrepid inter-city commuters.
In terms of numbers, the EQE SUV 500 4matic is as loaded as its name might suggest. 400hp and a mighty thrust of 858Nm of torque can propel this weighty barge from a standstill to a 100km/hr in less than five seconds! That’s sportscar territory but with the calmness and luxury of an E-Class. It feels rapid and thanks to its twin motors and permanent all-wheel drive, it manages to put the power down without any drama or screeches…just effortlessly gliding into the horizon. There is some body roll which isn’t disturbing but you can feel the weight of the battery pack, even though it’s placed low down below the cabin. Especially during enthusiastic cornering or heavy braking, you can tell that it’s using every trick in the tech book to mask all that heft.
During our test drive in the midst of pine trees and gorgeous landscapes around Gulmarg though, the EQE SUV proved to be the perfect vehicle to be in. Zero tailpipe emissions, zero noise and a soothing interior with an amazing sounding audio system providing the perfect soundtrack for a serene drive experience. Smooth, noiseless and utterly cosetting, the EQE SUV as a daily driver would be the ideal luxury car for a conscientious millionaire. A claimed range of 550km also puts it squarely in the same range as luxury diesel SUVs and with its suspension lift function, you can raise the Airmatic suspension to offer an additional 25mm of ground clearance. Speed breakers and potholes won’t be bothering you.
Illuminated running boards might look cool, but more often than not, they get in the way. Since the EQE SUV isn’t that tall to get into in the first place and while you can find some use during ingress, I was afraid of stumbling off it during egress.
Carving a fine niche for itself, the EQE SUV goes up against the Audi Q8 e-Tron and the BMW iX and to be honest, it boils down to personal preference since all of them have enough power and range on tap. The EQE SUV certainly offers the most power, more tech, looks plusher on the inside and has the superior audio experience. Add a 10-year battery warranty and it becomes and even more compelling buy if you have your own charging infrastructure. Much more desirable than the EQB and a lot more practical on our roads than the EQS, the EQE SUV could just be the sweet spot in Mercedes’ BEV range.
A tech tour-de-force that checks almost every feature on the ‘must-have’ list and then some!
|90kwH 400v Li-Ion
|up to 170kW DC
|0-100km/hr in 4.9secs