Dialing back the bling makes a better EV: The 2023 Mercedes EQE sedan

Enlarge / The Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan’s shape has been designed to create as little drag as possible.

DENVER—No one has more experience with launching new cars than Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest existing automaker. The company is at the start of a new phase of its existence, as it transforms into a carbon-neutral company that mostly builds electric vehicles. But it’s sticking to some tried and true strategies as it does.

So, like the smaller, cheaper E-Class that follows the S-Class sedan, the EQE sedan will arrive this fall in the US to follow last year’s bigger, more expensive EQS sedan.

Built using Mercedes’ new EVA2 platform for EVs, the EQE is obviously related to the EQS; the two cars look similar, having been optimized to the nth degree by the wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamics. It’s an evolution of the cab-forward “four-door coupe” look that the company pioneered on the CLS, but with any rough edges polished away to aid the air’s passage over and around the bodywork as efficiently as possible. Mercedes hasn’t published the EQE’s drag coefficient, but I’d be surprised if it was higher than the EQS’s remarkable 0.2, given that it rides on smaller 19-inch wheels.

In profile, the EQE has a cab-forward shape that owes a lot to the 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLS.
Enlarge / In profile, the EQE has a cab-forward shape that owes a lot to the 2004 Mercedes-Benz CLS.

Jonathan Gitlin

At 196.6 inches (4,994 mm) long, the EQE is just over 10 inches (270 mm) shorter than the EQS. But the EQE is fractionally wider at 76.2 inches (1,935.5 mm), and both have an identical 59.5-inch (1,511-mm) height. But the difference in wheelbase is only 3.5 inches (89 mm). The EQE’s wheelbase is 122.9 inches (3,122 mm), which translates into a noticeably roomier cabin than its internal combustion equivalent, the E-Class.

That space between the axles is also home to the battery pack, which lives underneath the cabin. This pack has a useable 90.6 kWh, which it uses to power three different powertrain configurations: a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive 288-hp (215-kW), 391-lb-ft (530-Nm) EQE 350+; an all-wheel-drive EQE 350 4matic with 288 hp (215 kW) and 564 ft-lb (765 Nm); and the 402-hp (300-kW), 633-ft-lb (588-Nm) all-wheel-drive EQE 500 4matic. For each, the EQE uses permanently excited synchronous motors built in-house, and in the case of all-wheel drive EQEs, the front motor is fitted with a clutch that allows it to be disconnected from the front wheels to reduce drag while coasting.

With the car arriving this fall, it’s a bit early to have an official EPA range estimate. Under Europe’s WLTP test cycle, the EQE sedan is capable of 660 km (410 miles), but that test cycle bears little resemblance to the range one might expect while driving in American traffic on American roads. In practice, I achieved 3.1 miles/kWh (20 kWh/100 km) over the course of about 100 miles (160 km) in and around Denver, albeit with quite a lot of elevation change.

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