FRANKFURT, Germany — Mercedes-Benz isn’t any stranger to sub-brands: AMG, Maybach and even Good all confirmed a brand new side of what a Benz may very well be. The introduction of a sub-brand first must set the tone, one thing that later fashions can then refine because the years go on. Mercedes’ newest sub-brand, EQ, is being broadly utilized to a brand new, thrilling up to date crop of electrical autos, which kicked off with the EQS sedan final 12 months.
With its “one-bow,” cab-forward design and superior electrical drivetrain, the EQS went out of its approach to outline what this new class of absolutely up-to-date Mercedes EVs may appear to be. Now, the subsequent mannequin, the Mercedes-Benz EQE, has the unenviable process of rounding out the EQ line-up, taking the traits that made the EQS distinctive amongst Mercedes sedans and turning them into the constructing blocks of a brand new electrical period of three-pointed star fashions. Step contained in the upcoming EQE sedan, which performs the position of the E-Class to the EQS’ S-Class, and you may’t assist however discover the EQ household resemblances.
A few of these are small, just like the port in entrance of the driver-side entrance door. Whereas the hood on each fashions can technically be opened, there’s little cause to for those who’re not a mechanic (and a extremely specialised one at that), so Mercedes added a pop-out spout to pour in washer fluid. The entrance fascias (fasciae?), taillights and extendable door handles all tie the EQE and EQS collectively, visually.
One very important distinction between the EQS and its S-Class cousins that got here earlier than it’s an all-new electrical car platform referred to as EPA2. EPA2 will probably be utilized in no less than 4 manufacturing fashions – the EQS and EQE sedans in addition to SUV variations of each, the EQS SUV and the EQE SUV. Consider them as a household that determined to all put on matching sweaters for a vacation photograph, whereas the others, just like the GLB-derived EQB, are like that one uncle who didn’t get the message about what to put on this 12 months. He’s nonetheless household, simply from, you understand, that aspect over there.
However again to the EPA2 fashions. Contemplating the lineage of the EQS and EQE, it’s no shock that the EQE drive expertise shares lots with the EQS. Whereas I personally haven’t but pushed an EQS, given the varied opinions of the EQS and AMG EQS right here on Autoblog and elsewhere, it turned clear that there are extra similarities between E and S than variations. When the SUV variations of those fashions arrive within the close to future, their peak and weight variations will change what the EVA2 platform appears like on the highway, however the two EQ sedans are unquestionably kin.
Regardless of the similarities, the EQE presents its personal touches. It has an actual trunk, for instance, as a substitute of a sedan-y hatchback of the EQS. The EQE’s 122.9-inch wheelbase can also be 3.5 inches shorter than the EQS and though which means it has a smaller again seat, Mercedes didn’t present precise specs to know the way a lot is misplaced from S to E. The EQS has an immense quantity of legroom, nonetheless, so shaving just a few inches should not matter a lot. Headroom is equally shaved down from the sedan norm due to the fastback roofline, however I felt comfy sufficient whereas sitting there (I’m 5’9″), and it could actually really feel particularly ethereal with the elective panoramic sunroof.
The shorter wheelbase additionally accommodates a smaller, 90.6-kilowatt battery than the 107.8-kWh unit within the EQS. Whereas official vary numbers for the U.S.-bound model are usually not but obtainable, Mercedes says the EQE will stand up to 410 miles on the European WLTP scale, which ought to be one thing like mid-300s utilizing the EPA’s numbers. That is roughly what the EQS does, however we have additionally discovered it could actually simply exceed its EPA figures by 20 miles.
The EQE presents easy, quiet acceleration that’s as easy as something you’ll discover this aspect of a quantum stabilized atom mirror, which, at this level, might be redundant since that’s principally what’s written about each electrical car. It’s the character of the quiet beast. Throughout my time within the rear-drive EQE 350, the primary model of the EQE coming to the U.S., it’s apparent that there isn’t sufficient oomph within the 215-kW rear motor that gives 288 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque to really glue a passenger to the seat cushion. For that, you’ll have to attend for the dual-motor EQE 500 or the AMG model which have been promised. Nonetheless, the EQE 350 greater than holds its personal on each the town streets in Frankfurt, Germany, the place the check drive occurred, and at Autobahn-speeds darting by the close by countryside.
Just like the EQS, the EQE shines with three ranges of regenerative braking: sturdy (additionally referred to as D-), regular (D) and none (D+) that you simply alter utilizing paddles behind the steering wheel. These variants ought to be readily understood by anybody who’s pushed a brand new EV not too long ago, however the brand new clever recuperation setting that makes use of front-facing sensors to keep away from hitting obstacles, referred to as D Auto, is one thing distinctive. Taking part in round with these completely different ranges of regen braking – setting the automotive to D+ for pure coasting on the Autobahn after which shifting to sensible one-pedal mode (D Auto or D-, relying in your desire) within the metropolis – is completely an underrated side of having fun with an EV, and may actually be an computerized characteristic of any new mannequin. The electrical autos of Volkswagen Group, particularly the Porsche Taycan, see issues in a different way.
The EQE additionally presents a rear-axle steering possibility (as within the EQS) the place the rear wheels can flip as much as 10 levels to permit for tighter turns – the business norm is between 3 and 5 levels. With it, the turning circles shrinks to simply 35 toes in comparison with 41 with out. It’s a neat trick that helps the EQE really feel proper at residence in cities the place driving a tiny Good ForTwo stays a wise possibility.
The EQE’s four-link entrance suspension and multilink rear suspension is tailored from the brand new S-Class, and presents Airmatic air suspension with adaptive damping. German roads aren’t identified for his or her potholes, however that shouldn’t dismiss the system’s capability to make you’re feeling such as you’re too good to really feel the bumps within the pavement.
We haven’t but talked a lot concerning the inside, however right here once more, it’s largely a mirror picture of the EQS. The highest of the dashboard felt a bit excessive, lowering visibility in a method that wasn’t at all times pleasurable however not a lot that it made the automotive undrivable. The MBUX Hyperscreen possibility is obtainable right here, mixing three separate screens (one for the driving force, one for infotainment, one for the entrance passenger) behind a single, 56-inch curved glass floor. Selecting the usual infotainment possibility – sans Hyperscreen – shouldn’t be discounted, because the wooden inlay that replaces the display screen is gorgeous, fully at residence within the plush inside. It must also be famous that commonplace system is in actual fact the brand-new, portrait-oriented model of MBUX discovered elsewhere solely within the S-Class and SL. So a downgrade maybe, however nonetheless extra superior than the Mercedes norm.
Under that commonplace display screen is an uncommon touch-sensitive bar of management icons that shortcut you to varied features: drive modes, digital camera views, car settings, audio controls and so forth. A smaller model of this resides on the middle console behind the cupholders with the Hyperscreen. What’s unusual about both model of the bar is that the whole factor is “clickable.” Feeling the whole bar transfer when any particular person “button” is pressed is unusual. Not like the touch-sensitive, haptic surfaces in another vehicles, this setup works high-quality. It’s simply bizarre to make use of at first.
All in all, the EQE is a welcome addition to the EQ sub-brand. As extra fashions take part, the EQ line will develop into a big, sophisticated, battery-powered household. For now, there are solely two, they usually have assuredly set the stage for what’s to return. Pricing for the EQE will probably be introduced someday later this 12 months, but it surely ought to be round $70,000 when it arrives in U.S. showrooms in late 2022.