First Drive: Can the Mercedes EQE SUV deliver luxury and performance?

The EQE SUV is one of the latest EVs in the Mercedes range, but what is it like? Jack Evans finds out.

Mercedes isn’t wasting any time with its line-up of electric SUVs. Hot on the heels of the EQC and EQS SUV, we’ve now got another high-riding, battery-powered model – the EQE SUV. It’s essentially an SUV version of the already-on-sale EQE saloon which aims to deliver the same refined driving experience but just, as you might expect, with some increased ride height.

We came away impressed by the ‘regular’ EQE, so hopes are high for this new SUV version. It’s got all the same clever tech as the standard EQE, but does hitching it up towards the sky change how it drives and feels? We’ve been finding out.

The EQE SUV adopts a similarly slippy-looking exterior design as the other electric SUVs in the Mercedes range while underneath the electric platform allows for great interior space and roominess. Because of the extra size of the SUV, it benefits from a fair chunk more boot space than the saloon, too, with this high-riding model offering 520 litres of luggage room over the EQE’s 430 litres – a big plus-point for families who don’t like to travel light.

Photos: PA Media

And speaking of weight, all of these technologies and features don’t come lightly as the EQE SUV weighs in at just 2.6 tonnes which is hardly featherweight. However, clever features such as rear-wheel-steering have been included to help make the EQE SUV a little more agile to drive than you might think.

The EQE SUV is available with a variety of powertrain setups – including go-faster AMG versions – but the one we’re in is the 350 with 4Matic all-wheel-drive technology. There’s 288bhp being produced through two motors – one on each axle – and there’s a healthy 765Nm of torque as well. Zero to 60mph should take 6.4 seconds and flat-out, the EQE SUV will manage 130mph.

There’s a large 89kWh battery underneath, too, which enables a claimed range of up to 341 miles. It can charge at speeds of up to 170kW, too, and connecting to an ultra-rapid unit could see a 10 to 80 per cent charge conducted in 32 minutes. Use a 7.4kW home wallbox and a full charge will take a hefty 14 hours.

Big and imposing, there’s no way of getting around the EQE SUV’s chunky footprint on the road. Fortunately, the relatively square proportions mean it’s not too tricky to judge where you’re sitting in the lane, while the well-weighted steering helps this process further. There’s plenty of performance to access, too, with the immediacy of the torque helping to create a good amount of ‘zip’ away from the line.

However, because of the EQE SUV’s raised ride height and weight, it can feel at times like the standard-fit air suspension is struggling to keep the car composed, particularly over crests and off-camber bumps. On a cruise, such as when on the motorway or dual carriageway, it’s not so pronounced while the EQE SUV’s quietness and isolation of exterior noises shine through in these periods as well. A little extra bite from the brakes would be appreciated, but they’re up to the task of daily driving.

The EQE SUV has a similarly curious design to the rest of the Mercedes line-up of electric vehicles. It’s almost devoid of any real styling accents, but that gives it, oddly, a complete look of its own. It’s a big car, of course, but the rounded front and rear sections allow it to look quite futuristic on the road while the striking lights do help towards this.

Of course, styling is all down to personal opinion but we’re not particularly stirred up by the look of the EQE SUV in either direction – it neither offends nor excites.

There’s space aplenty in the cabin of the EQE SUV. The general ergonomics are wide and open so there’s a sense of roominess wherever you’re sitting. Up front, the ultra-wide dashboard – which in our test car was finished in an attractive wood-style veneer – makes the EQE SUV feel quite lounge-like, while the fit-and-finish is generally good, though some areas do feel a little more flimsy than you’d expect from a car costing in the region of £100,000.

Rear-seat space is generous, however. There’s loads of headroom – even with a panoramic sunroof fitted – and there are ISOFIX points for child seats on the two outer-most seats. As a family car, it does tick the boxes and, as we mentioned, there’s a well-sized boot to go with the practical cabin.

As we’ve come to expect from Mercedes models, the EQE SUV is absolutely brimmed with technology. You can get it with the headline ‘Hyperscreen’ infotainment – which stretches the full width of the dashboard – but even on ‘regular’ models like our test car you still get a huge 12.8-inch portrait-orientated display. It’s intuitive and responsive while the menus have been logically laid out.

The EQE SUV is an expensive proposition. It’s a car which is at the more premium end of the electric car spectrum. But the interior feels upmarket and the driving experience is, for the most part, quiet and refined.

It’s a shame that the range it delivers is slightly less than you’ll get from cars like the BMW iX and while the EQE SUV’s tech levels and general spaciousness are impressive, it’s a shame that it doesn’t feel quite as well-rounded as you’d expect a car of this price to be.

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