There was a brief period of time when many people thought the EV revolution meant we’d be stuck with a future full of slow, uninspiring cars. If anything, the current march toward electrification has proven the opposite: Through the process of shoving a bunch of electrons through a wire like a Tokyo subway stuffer, humanity is sending 9000-pound affronts to God to 60 mph as quickly as some supercars. But now that everyone can do it, what makes a vehicle with impressive performance stats stand out?
That’s the question that Mercedes-AMG and others are figuring out. The 2023 AMG EQE isn’t Fast Mercedes’s first crack at an answer, and it’s far from the last. At its core, it retains AMG’s mantra of shoving lots of power into otherwise “normal” cars. But beyond that, it feels like it’s still hunting for that unique angle that’ll help these fast, low-center-of-gravity EVs stand out from all the other fast, low-center-of-gravity EVs.
To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, we’ll start with the AMG EQE’s known knowns. A pair of motors produces 617 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque, rising to 677 and 738, respectively, when using the standard Dynamic Plus package’s brief overboost function. With at least 70 percent in the battery (more on that later), we reached 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds, 0.4 second quicker than the manufacturer’s estimate. The quarter-mile mark came and went in 11.2 seconds at 119 mph. Passing maneuvers are impressive too—30 to 50 mph required a scant 1.3 seconds, and 50 to 70 only took 1.7. Not bad for a car that weighs 5547 pounds.
Of course, that weight comes back to bite. Even with the free-of-charge optional Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Elect tires (265 section width up front, 295 out back) and honkin’ brakes (16.3 inches front, 14.9 rear), the AMG needed 168 feet to stop from 70 mph and 339 feet from 100 mph. That is not ideal for a performance car; hell, the 520-pound-heavier BMW i7 xDrive60 we tested managed to do a better job by nine and 21 feet, respectively. Three intermediary stages of brake regeneration are on offer—none, some, and more—while true one-pedal driving is locked behind an Intelligent regen mode that varies regen and physical braking based on proximity to traffic, which can be tricky to predict and thus doesn’t instill a whole lot of trust; neither does the brake pedal in general, which moves in tune with regen strength, leading to inconsistent feel at various speeds and rates of deceleration.
The AMG EQE is a sufficiently deft handler for its mass. It achieved a solid 0.92 g on our 300-foot skidpad, exhibiting some mild understeer on its way ’round. In more real-world scenarios, we appreciate just how planted the EQE feels at all times. Standard rear-axle steering, which can turn up to 3.6 degrees, adds more precision to the AMG’s cornering, but the car still feels more like a speedo-smashing hammer than a delicate lateral-g scalpel. The adaptive air springs offer three different levels of stiffness (Comfort, Sport, and Sport+), but we feel less of a difference between these modes than we do in comparable gas models; even at its most rigid, there’s still an underlying hint of softness to the whole show.
Hanging out under the floor is a battery with 90.6 kWh of usable capacity. Mercedes estimates total range at 225 miles, and the automaker’s EV estimates are usually pretty accurate. It didn’t come as a surprise, then, that our 75-mph highway test yielded a range of 230 miles. That’s 30 miles less than we achieved in the vastly less powerful EQE350 4Matic.
Thankfully, if you had a little too much fun rearranging your organs with your right foot, changing vehicle modes can help you squeak out the juice needed to reach the next charger. The AMG EQE’s full output is only available in the powertrain’s Sport+ mode; Sport limits the motors to 90 percent, Comfort reduces it further to 80 percent, and Slippery pegs the car at half power. As with any electric powertrain, the maximum output also decreases as the battery loses charge; the EQE will keep track of your missing horsepower on the digital cluster’s power gauge, which conveniently marks the “redline” as it lowers. When it comes time to charge, the AMG will accept up to 170 kW on a DC fast-charger, refilling from 10 percent to 80 in 32 minutes, according to Mercedes.
On to the more polarizing stuff. Maybe you like the ovoid styling, maybe you don’t. You can’t deny that our EQE’s specific 20-inch wheels are imposing, though, and the Panamericana-style front grille is the easiest way to spot the AMG at a distance. The interior is barely any different from the more pedestrian EQE, save for some Affalterbach-themed bits. The dash-spanning 56.0-inch Hyperscreen is absent from our car, but we don’t miss it; the wood trim that replaces it looks and feels nice, and it doesn’t accumulate fingerprint oils at a depressing rate. Wireless smartphone mirroring is standard no matter what, and that’s what most people care about anyway.
As equipped, our EQE includes two sound profiles, the default profile and the Performance one that comes with Dynamic Plus. If you like futuristic wub-wub noises, have at it. But to our ears, the default mode sounds like added wind noise, while Performance generates something closer to added tire noise. Each profile has three different levels of loudness, ranging from “you can barely hear it” to “somehow, the Germans engineered drone into an EV.” We say turn it all off and listen to the actual tires.
The AMG EQE before us rings in at $110,150, a small bump over its $108,050 base price, thanks to a $250 110-volt charging cable, the $750 Night package that blacks out the exterior trim, and the $1100 Acoustic Comfort package that aims to mitigate interior noise. Strangely enough, this number is a bit of a bargain, considering the soon-to-be-discontinued AMG E63 S 4Matic+ starts a few thousand bucks higher.
Despite that sense of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, there’s one hell of a performance car comprising the underlying current of the 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE. It’s mighty quick, it can make a lot of noise, and it’s fun to chuck around without being a discombobulated mess in daily driving.
Being offered an overwhelming amount of driver choice is a bit of an existential issue for AMG, and it’s only deepened as electrification takes hold. In addition to the four standard vehicle modes, an Individual mode lets you choose among four powertrain settings, three suspension settings, and three e-noise volumes—36 distinct combinations. And this is in addition to the myriad screen layouts, ambient lighting scenes, brake-regeneration strengths, you name it. How can an AMG vehicle have a distinct feeling if you get into five different EQEs and they all feel vastly different from one another?
Perhaps it’s in this glut of choice where AMG’s future lies. Let Affalterbach set the meter, but it’s up to each driver to fill in the specific notes. For the time being, as everyone finds their footing in this burgeoning era, that’ll do.
Mercedes-AMG EQE 4Matic+
Vehicle Type: front- and mid-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base/As Tested: $108,050/$110,150
Options: Acoustic Comfort package, $1100; AMG Night package, $750; 110V charging cable, $250
Front Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Mid Motor: permanent-magnet synchronous AC
Combined Power: 677 hp
Combined Torque: 738 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 90.6 kWh
Onboard Charger: 9.6 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 170 kW
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 16.3-in vented disc/14.9-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4 Elect PNCS
F: 265/40ZR-20 104W MO1
R: 295/35ZR-20 105W MO1
Wheelbase: 122.8 in
Length: 196.9 in
Width: 75.0 in
Height: 58.8 in
Passenger Volume: 104 ft3
Trunk Volume: 15 ft3
Curb Weight: 5547 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 2.8 sec
100 mph: 7.4 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.2 sec @ 119 mph
130 mph: 14.3 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.3 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 1.7 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 146 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 339 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.92 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY AND CHARGING
Observed: 65 MPGe
75-mph Highway Driving: 77 MPGe
75-mph Highway Range: 230 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 74/74/73 MPGe
Range: 225 mi
Cars are Andrew Krok’s jam, along with boysenberry. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, Andrew cut his teeth writing freelance magazine features, and now he has a decade of full-time review experience under his belt. A Chicagoan by birth, he has been a Detroit resident since 2015. Maybe one day he’ll do something about that half-finished engineering degree.