2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE First Drive: Electrified Luxury Gets A Sports Upgrade

Electrification is no longer just the future of the automobile industry, it's very much part of the present. Mercedes-Benz, historically an innovator in luxury performance, certainly isn't planning on resting on its laurels, which is why its all-electric EQ line of vehicles is growing rapidly. By the end of the year, It will consist of ten models, albeit with just a select few of those making their way to US roads to begin with. First the EQS, the S-Class of full-sized EV sedans, and then the EQB SUV will make its way across the pond sooner than later, while the arrival of the mid-sized EQE sedan is imminent.

Don't think that Mercedes' AMG performance division has been sitting this one out, either, however. Just as it gave the EQS the AMG treatment, the department has been hard at work bringing its signature brand of performance energy to the EQE. The result is a versatile EV back-road bullet train with business-class accommodations and a comprehensive amount of tech.


The Mercedes AMG EQE is a mid-sized business sedan infused with AMG's signature performance touches. This means a more aggressive appearance on the inside and outside, go-fast aero bits, and a big jump in horsepower. From the standard EQE 350+, that jump is a hefty 389 additional horses of electric power. In terms of hardware, the AMG EQE is fitted with two "permanently excited" synchronous motors, which enthusiastically deliver 617 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque, and which is further increased by the AMG Dynamic Plus package to 677 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. With a motor on each axle, it has fully variable all-wheel drive, sending power to the optimal wheel depending on drive mode and road conditions. With the performance pack, AMG claims its EQE can sprint from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, topping out at 149 mph.

Power is stored in a 90.6 kWh battery pack that's good for an estimated 275 to 321 miles of range. When connected to a 170 kW DC fast charger, it can recoup 112 miles of range in 15 minutes.

It rides on an AMG-specific version of the Mercedes Ride Control, an adaptive air suspension system with adjustable dampers, fixed to a 4-link front axle and independent rear suspension. The entirety of the setup is stiffer than the base version and tuned to handle the more rigorous demands of sporty, AMG-inspired driving. Rear axle steering is also standard on the AMG EQE, which changes angle from 0.6 to 3.6 degrees for more agility at lower speeds, and more stability at highway velocity.

Round House

The EQE maintains the EQ-line's aesthetic of a smooth, slippery profile without much in the way of superficial components. As such, there isn't much for AMG to work with, but it still manages to give the EQE its signature sporty look with a black panel grille stamped with signature vertical struts, an AMG "A-wing" front bumper with air diffusers on both sides, and additional air-funneling wings in the front splitter. Around back, a diffuser finishes the job the front started, while a fixed rear spoiler reduces lift while rounding out the AMG style tweaks. Aerodynamically optimized 20-or-21-inch alloy wheels complete the exterior package.

On the inside, AMG sport seats replace the standard set but don't shed too many of the luxurious niceties, still being plush and springy for the calmer parts of the ride. AMG graphics, badges and various accents give this version of the AMG a more sporty aesthetic. Same goes for the AMG drive functions on the steering wheel.


It's an option, but any AMG EQE you'll encounter will most likely sport the 1.4-meter wide MBUX hyper screen, the collection of displays that stretches from corner to corner across the dash. This houses the digital gauge cluster as well as the central infotainment screen and a passenger-controlled third screen. Controlled either by wheel-mounted buttons or by touch, the MBUX responds to voice commands prompted by "hey Mercedes" which can be delivered in a natural cadence. Adaptive cruise control has lane-keep assist and departure warning, with feedback delivered through the steering wheel if it senses itself stepping over the line. 

Navigation also plots optimal routes that takes battery power and local charging stations into consideration, so the AMG EQE won't leave you stranded on long journeys. Hopefully, anyway. That same system also has an augmented reality (AR) overlay, that will display graphics over a video projection of the road ahead of the car. It's a handy tool that makes sure drivers don't miss turns or highway exits, and surprisingly accurate, but it would be more useful if it didn't display exclusively on the center infotainment screen, just slightly out of the driver's eye line.


Electrification has been a cheat code of sorts for performance teams like AMG. The fundamental nature of the drivetrain means a more direct output of power to the wheels and, with fewer components in-between things, AMG put its focus in optimizing the car's sporty dynamics. The two motors are indeed based on existing Mercedes-Benz architecture, but have specific AMG touches to generate more power. Here, this means adapting the windings, higher currents, and utilizing an AMG-specific inverter rather than the engine tweaks of old. Together — and combined with the AMG Dynamic Plus package — the EQE lays up to 677 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque at the driver's feet to do with as they please.

This works in harmony with a number of handling components to allow drivers the ability to harness all of the available power. Starting with... stopping, the EQE uses a high-performance brake system that combines with an "i-booster" to balance hydraulic braking with the energy recuperation system. The air suspension, adaptable dampers, and the variable all-wheel drive inherent in the electrical motors round out the EQE's performance baseline. All together, this adds up to a considerable amount of control to match the power on offer.

"Control" is the optimal word here, both for the driver and from a development standpoint. As AMG can now dictate the exact dynamics of the car, there is a great deal of computational power constantly at work to make sure the EQE is performing optimally for anything the driver can throw at it. From behind the wheel, it makes sporty driving near-effortless and the limits are your own physical ones.


At the start of a spirited run, there's little drama apart from the rather loud dynamic soundscapes AMG programs in to simulate a visceral — and now vestigial — engine note. There are two settings that dictate how realistic the noises are, though they don't differ that dramatically. There's always the option to turn it off altogether, but the audible feedback it provides is actually useful in hard driving settings.

Push the pedal down, and the EQE flies forward in a powerful yet smooth manner. With instant torque on tap, it must be tempting for engineers to drop it all in one shot, but the EQE feels like the power is mapped to make its use feel natural and predictable. In some drive modes, the EQE will hold back a small percentage of the available grunt, unleashing all of it in Sport+. That doesn't mean it's a slouch in the other modes, mind you. Floor it in any mode and the EQE AMG essentially bends time and space, but it drives like a sports car when the steering wheel-mounted drive mode dial is turned all the way up. This and the sophisticated handling make short work of bends and hairpin turns, the driver simply needs to point it in the desired direction and hold on as the EQE susses out the details. The painfully overused "rides on rails" cliché has long been a lazy shorthand for impressive handling but, in this new electrified era, perhaps "glides like a monorail" is more apropos. Let this be my "one-and-done." Indeed, the EQE's always-adapting suspension negates body roll and the variable power distribution makes sure each wheel is confidently planted on the pavement.

There Is No Spoon

It's still a bit of a handful since there are only so many physics AMG can defy. The 5,500-pound-plus sedan is capable of some amazing things, but it's a business-luxury car with some hefty electronic components to lug around. As such, it feels far more manageable than its more senior sibling, the EQS, but it's not a light and encouraging plaything. For all the goodwill the EQE AMG builds up with its power and handling, the braking struggles to impress in the same manner. There are three regeneration settings that go from mild to hard, and these influence how much of the system's power recuperation components slow the car down over the brakes. While cruising, the sensation between the two is distinct, but when in a sporty setting, it's difficult to tell if they're helping or hindering. Even with the third setting – off – the brakes are spongy and require very hard and early braking to slow the sedan down before a turn-in.

Despite all of this capability, or more accurately because of it, there's an inherent disconnect with the AMG EQE. Power is tuned to "feel" like a traditional sports car, the audio system pipes in noises to "sound" like one too, and with all the electronics taking care of business, the AMG feels like a simulation of a sports car rather than an actual one. The sensation is that of driving in a VR racing game; it's still fun and capable, but it lacks an emotional sensation which AMG is known to deliver on. This is not to suggest the car needs to drive "worse" to satisfy the abstract notion of driver gratification, but the EQE demonstrates how tricky it is to balance these aspects out in this relatively early era of all-electric luxury performance.


On the flip-side, this makes the EQE absolutely excel at its role of a luxury sedan. In the default comfort mode, the adaptive suspension is more than capable of delivering a smooth ride as the car seemingly glides, both around local streets and at highway speeds. When it comes to the latter, the AMG EQE's rear steering comes into play to add increased stability and ease out lane changes, while the suspension adjusts its stance depending on the speed to increase the efficiency of the ride. Adaptive cruise control further eases things for the driver while predictive navigation adjust routes not only for the sake of expediency, but also to maximize battery life and chart a course towards charging spots if need be. That doesn't seem like too much of a concern, though, as after a day's worth of hard driving and long highway jaunts, my EQE AMG used little over half of its topped-up battery.

If the response to the AMG EQS is anything to go by, the EQE will wow lots of people when it hits US roads later this year. Like the EQS, it's a tech-laden showcase of the best Mercedes-AMG has to offer, but in a smaller, more manageable package that makes full use of the extra juice AMG has charged it with. It's comfortable to ride in for long and short journeys, and it has a significant amount of range to satisfy both. Its capabilities will surely impress drivers and passengers alike, but those looking for a challenge or even a car that's complementary to a driver's talents need look elsewhere; even from behind the wheel, you're just along for the ride.