2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV & 2024 AMG EQE SUV First Look: Compact SUVs With Big Electric Dreams

Late last month, I spent a couple of days in Denver with the flagship electric SUV of the Mercedes-EQ line, the 2023 EQS SUV. Based on the same EVA platform as the other EQ flagship, the EQS Sedan, the EQS SUV adds plenty of cargo room and an optional third row for big outings, plus three power levels, three trim levels, and range options between 285 and 305 miles. It's capable of some off-roading, too, but it's most at home on the rough city streets (and the nice ones), silently wafting by the luxury shops and fancy restaurants while its HEPA filter keeps out the less-pleasant scents of the real world from the cabin.

Before I took a three-hour afternoon round-trip between downtown Denver and an off-road course 90 minutes west, however, I was among the handful of journalists brought over to another part of the city to see the next Mercedes-EQ SUV, the 2023 EQE SUV and 2024 AMG EQE SUV. Alas, no cameras were allowed into the viewing rooms for each SUV, but Mercedes-Benz was kind enough to provide plenty of photos and info about the two newest additions to the Mercedes-EQ family, along with an opportunity to spend some time in each.

Shorter than EQE Sedan, plus cab-forward looks for days

Set to be built alongside the EQS SUV, the GLS, and GLE at Mercedes-Benz United States International (MBUSI) in Vance, Alabama, the 2023 Mercedes-EQ EQE SUV is the fourth EQ model using the Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA), a dedicated EV platform meant for large sedans and SUVs. By 2025, three new EV platforms will debut: the MB.EA, AMG.EA and VAN.EA. And as the EQS SUV is to the EQS Sedan, so is the EQE SUV to the EQE Sedan. Namely, a more flexible, multi-purpose version of its executive luxury sibling.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the EQE SUV is actually more compact than the EQE Sedan. Compared to the sedan's wheelbase of 122.8 inches, the SUV's wheelbase is 3.5 inches shorter at 119.3 inches. Further compactness comes via the front and rear overhangs, as well as the front assembly. Finally, the front and rear wheels are pushed towards the outer edges of the SUV, presenting a machine in a similar design vein as Chrysler's "cab-forward" LH, JA, JR and PL cars of the 1990s and early 2000s.

And we can't ignore the overall sportiness of this design, especially as far getting as much range as possible from the battery and electric motors is concerned. With plenty of aero tricks on display — including aero-optimized 19- and 21-inch wheels, continuous seals in the front section, and rear spoiler integration with the taillights — the EQE SUV should have no problems on long drives (U.S. EPA range has yet to be announced as of this writing, but Mercedes says its expecting more than 550 kilometers — 342 miles — on the WLTP test cycle, which tends to be considerably more generous to EVs).

The roomy executive MPV with an MBA

One thing not available on the 2023 EQE SUV is a third row. After all, this a more compact EQ SUV than the flagship EQS SUV. Yet, there's plenty of room for five occupants on their way to the big business meeting. Headroom up front is 39.4 inches, or 39.3 inches for the backseat drivers with the optional panoramic sunroof in play. And speaking of those passengers, rear legroom is a roomy 40.5 inches with the front seats all the way back. All seats are plenty comfortable, as I got to experience by spending a few minutes sitting in the back of the EQE SUV on display in the Denver hideaway. Material choices include MB-Tex for the 350 and 350 4MATIC, and leather for the 500 4MATIC. The front buckets are heated, and there's plenty of wood and brushed aluminum trim to complement the warmth the EQE SUV is meant to convey.

When you have fewer passengers riding in the back, though, the opportunity is there to truly maximize the cargo space for anything you might need to haul to the big presentation at the hotel conference center. With the 40/20/40 seat fully up, the EQE SUV provides 18.4 cu.-ft. of cargo room, which is enough for groceries, a few loads of laundry, or plastic bins full of documents. Should more space be needed, though, the rear seat can be folded in sections, delivering 59 cu.-ft. of room for all the promotional items and displays for the pre-dawn presentation setup and late afternoon tear-down. Finally, if the rear seat backs are tilted just 10 degrees forward, the rear cargo hold tops out at an even 20.0 cu.-ft.

Tech executives, this is your electric SUV

Though smaller than the EQS SUV, the 2023 Mercedes-EQ EQE SUV definitely feels bigger on the inside like a T.A.R.D.I.S. And, like Doctor Who's powerful blue police call box, the EQE SUV has tons of tech to make everything work, starting with the ever-massive MBUX Hyperscreen. As I experienced with the EQS SUV loop to and from the mini off-road course, the front-dash-spanning infotainment behemoth is a lot to take in, sometimes too much. Three separate screens comprise the Hyperscreen, the biggest being the center section with a stunning GPS that will have you thinking twice about using your iPhone or Pixel to lead the way around town. Meanwhile, the front passenger screen offers plenty of entertainment options via Mercedes-Benz's partnership with California tech company ZYNC. Whether it's live sports, gaming or interactive experiences, the passenger screen does it all without distracting the driver.

The tech wonderment doesn't stop with the Hyperscreen, though. The optional ENERGIZING Comfort package ensures drivers are always alert and comfortable with four soundscapes to cancel out the sounds of the city. Navigation with Electric Intelligence helps drivers in planning the fastest and most convenient routes with dynamic reactions to traffic jams, and the inclusion of charging stops if so needed. 

Speaking of charging, the heat generated by the electric motors and battery are funneled into a heat pump, which, in turn, can warm up the interior during the coldest days of the year. And we can't forget that big HEPA filter under the hood doing the job of clearing the air of diesel fumes, restaurant scents and other fine pollutants, while the active fragrance system delivers a mix of hibiscus and lemongrass to all within. And that's just the tip of the tech iceberg that will soon melt into river water, flowing down throughout the entire Mercedes portfolio to the sea.

2024 AMG EQE SUV brings the hammer down on the highway

While the 2023 Mercedes-EQ EQE SUV will arrive in showrooms in 2023, those seeking a bit more electric firepower will have to wait until summertime for the hottest version of the executive EV SUV, the 2024 AMG EQE SUV. Though the regular EQE SUV has a little AMG flavor with the AMG Line exterior package, the AMG EQE SUV — the first EQ SUV for Affalterbach — is more than capable of making the most of those aerodynamic tricks and stunning body work. The pair of electric motors sends anywhere between 617 and 677 horses through the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system to the set of either 21- or 22-inch AMG wheels via the Dynamic Plus Package with Boost. Throw in the 9 degrees of rear-steering, and this hot EV SUV promises to take canyon corners like Sir Lewis Hamilton passing through the Circuit of the Americas.

The AMG EQE SUV features six driving modes, five of which are standard while the sixth is tied to the aforementioned AMG Dynamic Plus package. Each one — from Slippery to RACE START with Boost — changes the power output, ranging from 308 horsepower in low-traction situations to all the horses and the King's men at your local track day. Six-piston brake calipers on 16.3-inch discs up front, plus single-piston units on 14.9-inchers out back, bring all the thunder to a halt, all augmented by the i-Booster intelligent electromechanical brake booster, which AMG says is tuned for the most authentically sporting driving experience you'd expect from the three-letter badging. Zero to 60 comes hard and fast at 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of up to 149 mph.

Time and technology march onward

As we've observed before, the Mercedes-EQ line is a signal to the world that one day, all of Mercedes' lineup, including those of Maybach and AMG, will be electrified in markets where it makes sense to do so, like the United States. That day is seven calendar years away, and the push towards full electrification is staggering. In a roundtable with CEO Ola Källenius, the question was asked if either the EQ would replace the current Class system, or vice versa. As he explained, there would come a day when such a discussion would take place, but that day was not in the near term.

Instead, there's more work to do to meet that 2030 100-percent electrification goal. For one, the flagship off-roader with high-street cred, the G-Wagen, is set to join the EQ family in 2025. The Vision AMG is a preview of all future AMG EQ models, the first of which likely won't turn up until 2025, when the AMG.EA platform is introduced.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Right now, the EQE SUV 350+, 350 4MATIC and 500 4MATIC will arrive in U.S. showrooms in 2023. Launch time for the AMG EQE SUV is likely to come next summer at the earliest. Pricing for both mild and wild variants will, of course, come closer to showroom debut. Either way, there's a wild future coming around the bend, one Mercedes looks more than ready to lean into.