- revealed at the iaa auto show in munich, the 2023 mercedes-benz eqe is the electric alternative to the e-class and part of a flood of coming eq models from the automaker.
- first out will be the 288-hp eqe350, which has an electric motor on the rear axle. all-wheel-drive, 400-plus-horsepower versions with an added front-axle motor are coming.
- the official announcement of the eqe's on-sale date won't come until mid-2022.
daimler is launching an alternative to the conventionally powered e-class in the form of this eqe. the four-door fastback is to the e-class what the eqs is to the s-class. in fact, its appearance is even more dramatic: the shoulders are stronger, the tail is not as tall as on the eqs, and the front end looks unique. yet it is based on the same eva2 platform, and this means it offers many features that set the eq apart from both electric and non-electric competitors.
unlike the eqs, the smaller eqe doesn't feature a rear hatch but a regular trunk opening. we have seen it on the road and the proportions are more interesting than the bmw i4 or the latest tesla models. the interior is equally futuristic, with light colors and the optional, ultrawide "hyperscreen" that stretches over the entire width of the cockpit.
but "hyperscreen" also hints at a dystopian future: in europe, passengers can watch movies, but the driver is subject to camera-based monitoring. if the driver dares to look at the passenger screen, the content is blocked. this despite a plethora of assistance systems which don't pretend to be an "autopilot" yet in some ways, we suspect, exceed the capabilities of tesla's features.
while the eqe will be available with self-parking assistants, it still keeps the driver in mind: if you prefer to maneuver the car yourself in tight spots, you will appreciate the optional rear-wheel steering systems that will—in the top level—offer up to 10 degrees of steering angle.
the high-tech chassis features a four-link front and multi-link rear suspension and an optional air suspension. built in germany and in china, the eqe line launches with the eqe350, rated at 288 horsepower from an electric motor on the rear axle. all-wheel drive versions with an additional electric motor on the front axle will follow, and their power rating will exceed 400 horsepower. look for an amg version, too.
the eqe's battery pack has a usable capacity of 90.8 kwh, smaller than the eqs's 107.8-kwh pack. mercedes claims a driving range of 410 miles on the optimistic european wltp test cycle, so we can expect its epa range estimate to be somewhat lower than that.
in its competitive set, which includes the tesla model 3, the bmw i4, and the polestar 2, the eqe aims for a higher level of sophistication. yet we can't help but wonder if its power rating is quite enough to wow new customers. and, indeed, if it can match the needs of many current mercedes-benz customers who are perfectly happy with their gasoline-powered cars.
we will find out when the 2023 eqe 350 reaches u.s. dealerships in mid-2022.