2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE Review: One Fast Magic Mouse

  • Strong electric power
  • Solid cornering composure
  • Massive amount of standard tech
  • Inconsistent braking feel
  • Some cheap interior materials
  • Less-expensive EQEs are better value

For a tuning house like AMG, electric cars are a blessing and a curse. Giving an electric powertrain God-tier levels of power is theoretically as simple as programming in a few extra lines of code, but making it feel special out on the road is another feat altogether. When even the slowest EVs still have a super low center of gravity and right-the-hell-now thrust, an extra 200 horsepower isn't quite the performance leap-frog it once was.

That makes a car like the 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE an interesting proposition. Its headline specs are certainly enticing, with a maximum of 677 hp and 738 pound-feet of torque resulting in an estimated 0-to-60-mph time of 3.2 seconds. But with a starting price of $108,050 including $1,150 for destination, is there enough AMG in this EV to make it worth a $21,000 upcharge over the extremely competent EQE 500?

How EQE goes AMG

The EQE range is currently made up of the EQE 350+, EQE 350 4MATIC, EQE 500 4MATIC and AMG EQE, all of which use the same 90.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The AMG has the same dual-motor setup as the all-wheel-drive 4MATIC models, and it offers 617 hp and 701 lb-ft of torque; the aforementioned 677 hp is only delivered via a boost function, which requires the battery be at least 70% full.

In fact, the AMG EQE only delivers its ultimate power when you drive in Sport+ mode. Use Comfort or Sport and the motors are detuned to 80% and 90% of their max thrust, respectively. Drive the AMG EQE in its Slippery mode, which is useful for inclement weather, and the sedan is limited to half power. Safety first.

This might seem like a big deal, but remember: EVs are always quick. Nothing about launching the AMG EQE in Comfort mode will bum you out, and midrange punch is equally plentiful. In the city, on the highway, or accelerating out of a corner on a fast mountain road, the AMG EQE scoots. It's a shame that you need to activate Sport+ to enjoy the sedan's full AMG-ness, but I suppose this stops you from rapidly depleting the battery.

Speaking of which, Mercedes-Benz says the AMG EQE can go as far as 225 miles on a full charge, and the automaker's range estimates are usually quite indicative of real-world use. The EQE accepts DC fast charging at speeds up to 170 kilowatts, which can take the battery from a 10% to 80% state of charge in just over 30 minutes — assuming your Level 3 public charger actually works as advertised.

Great balance, crummy brakes

Unleashing the EQE's full 677 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque results in sufficiently brutal acceleration, which is an appropriately AMG hallmark. But what's more impressive is how adept the AMG EQE is while cornering. This is a heavy car, tipping the scales at more than 5,500 pounds, but the weight is positioned low in the chassis between the axles, giving the sedan excellent balance. Standard 3.6-degree rear-axle steering helps the EQE cut a rug, and the Michelin Pilot Sport EV tires provide a wealth of grip — as they should, with 265-section front rubbers and meatier 295s 'round back.

The AMG EQE has adaptive air springs with Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings, but the differences between these modes aren't as noticeable as, say, the power delivery. At all times, the EQE feels more tuned for a plush ride than outright performance, making it a car you'd be happy to drive every day. The AMG EQE doesn't shimmy or shudder over broken pavement, nor is it floaty while cornering. The steering lacks a bit of road feel, but I'll grant this sedan that one demerit considering it absolutely goes like hell.

My major gripe with this car isn't unique to the AMG, or even the EQE. It's the way Mercedes' regenerative braking system works, which is to say, horribly. If you dial in some regen, which you can do via the paddles on the steering wheel, the brake pedal itself moves to vaguely mimic the amount of stopping force being applied electronically. This means your foot never reaches the pedal at the same place every time, so braking feel is inconsistent. I love strong regenerative braking, but the pedal-moving 'feature' is so dumb that it makes me leave the EQE's regen turned off all the time.

Lights and screens mask some cheap materials

The EQE sedan doesn't look as much like a used bar of soap as the larger EQS, but it nevertheless has got a real Magic Mouse shape to its design. Even the AMG-specific styling tweaks like aggressive front-end flanks and a small lip spoiler do little to break up that lozenge-like appearance. At least the 21-inch wheels are handsome. The gold calipers peeking out from behind them — a telltale sign of carbon-ceramic brakes — are a nice touch, too.

Inside, the AMG changes are even less obvious, limited to things like badges and steering wheel flair. My test car does without Mercedes' dashboard-spanning Hyperscreen infotainment system, but I can't say I miss it: the 12.8-inch central display offers more than enough digital real estate, especially combined with the standard 12.3-inch gauge cluster. Plus, without Hyperscreen, you can better see the lovely open-pore wood, giving the AMG EQE a really beautiful appearance. There are a million ambient lighting configurations, too, and they'll even put on an animated light show, if that's your thing — something I find rather distracting while driving at night.

Pretty as the AMG EQE's interior looks, there's a distinct lack of quality to some of the materials. Sure, the dash and door toppers feel nice, as do the leather seats, but everything below the halfway-down point starts to get a little cheap. Grab the plastic on the lower door cards or the bottom of the center console, for instance — it's not great. The sliding piano black cover for the cup holders bin is a flimsy piece, too. Not something you'd expect in a six-figure car with a three-pointed star on the hood.

Driving aids and weird sounds

The AMG EQE comes with Mercedes' usual smattering of driver-assistance technologies, including adaptive cruise control that can combine with lane-keeping assist on the highway. This isn't as technologically advanced as BMW's Highway Assistant that'll launch in the EQE's rival, the 2024 i5, but is still a solid Level 2 driving aid that'll make commuting a little easier. Active blind-spot assist, parking assist, cross-traffic detection and more all work as advertised, but the Level 3 Drive Pilot system Mercedes currently offers in tiny slivers of the U.S. isn't available. You'll need an EQS for that.

If you like futuristic EV noises, you're in luck: The AMG EQE offers a symphony of strange sounds. None of them are particularly interesting, with some sounding like added wind noise and others giving the impression of fake not-an-engine-but-not-not-an-engine aural accompaniment. I never thought I'd be saying this, but the EQE's sound for the sake of sound actually makes me appreciate the driving noises Hans Zimmer composed for BMW's electric vehicles, which are so wild and different they change the driving experience entirely. I guess what I'm saying is, if you're going to be weird, be full-on weird. Otherwise, shut up and enjoy the silence.

2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE sedan verdict

As tested, the Cardinal Red 2023 AMG EQE you see here costs $126,540 including destination. Extra-cost add-ons include the $2,200 Pinnacle trim level (head-up display, four-zone climate control, etc.), a $1,250 Winter package (heated everything), $5,400 carbon-ceramic brakes, a $1,600 microfiber headliner, $1,400 wheels, $450 cooled seats, and more. Until the BMW i5 M60 arrives later this year, the AMG EQE's closest competitor is the similarly priced Porsche Taycan 4S, a car that's down on power, but arguably more driver focused.

But again: Good as it is, does this EQE have enough of that AMG somethin'-somethin' to warrant such a huge price jump over the EQE 500, which offers much of the same creature comforts for a lot less money? Honestly, no. The EQE 500 is a really sweet package, and offers all the electric oomph you could ever need. The best thing the AMG EQE brings to the table here is bragging rights.