The competition is on to win the luxury, electric SUV market. In my mind, manufacturers may be getting ahead of infrastructure.
Enter the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4Matic all-wheel drive mid-size SUV to the fray.
Powered by a 300-kilowatt twin-motor setup and lithium-ion battery, the combination yields all-wheel drive, 402 horsepower, 633 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 miles per hour in less than five seconds, and a top speed limited at 130 miles per hour.
EQE 500 seats five adults in the lap of luxury, and comes with a 253 mile range. With the SUV under 20% power reserve, I visited an Electrified America charging station. While browsing at a nearby Half Price Books, it took 45 minutes to charge up to 95% capacity. If you use a standard Level 2 home-charging system, filling from 10% to 100% is estimated at 9.5 hours.
Cutting a sleek profile, my tester benefited from a “Twilight Blue Metallic” enamel, 20-inch, AMG, five-spoke wheels with matte grey aero accents, LED headlights and a panoramic sunroof with power shade. The exterior is completed with a winged gloss black grille with prominent Mercedes logo front and center.
EQE 500 glides down the highway with a comfort air suspension and adaptive damping. All passengers benefit from a quiet ride thanks to an acoustic comfort package. And the ride benefits from an adjustable regenerative braking system via steering wheel paddles.
Thanks to rear axle steering (optional extra), the EQE feels as maneuverable as a compact car in the city. The steering angle at the rear axle is up to ten degrees. The turning circle is reduced from 40.4 to 34.4 feet with rear axle steering.
Dynamic Select allows the driver can change the characteristics of the drive, suspension and steering. In addition to Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual, the 4MATIC versions of the EQS SUV feature Off-road, a further mode for off-road driving. Overall, the accelerator pedal curve is much flatter.
The interior delivers more creature comforts than the mind can conjure. Starting with “Biscaya Blue” leather seats that are heated, ventilated, and as comfortable as my easy chair, the EQE overdelivers.
Other personal favorites included the 15-speaker, Burmester 3D surround sound system, front wireless smartphone charger, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 64-color ambient lighting, panorama sunroof, and MBUX augmented reality for navigation.
Cargo capacity is adequate. Space maxes out at 20 cubic feet, with the cargo door opening with the press of the key fob. That was more than enough for golf bags and trips to our beach cabin.
When it comes to safety and security technology, Mercedes-Benz is second to none.
The EQE 500 features active distance assist, steering assist, lane change assist, speed limit assist, traffic sign assist, blind spot assist, lane-keeping assist, active parking assist with surround sound system, active brake assist, adaptive high beam assist, anti-theft alarm system and much more.
Eventually infrastructure will catch up, and driving electric vehicles will become as efficient as driving a hybrid – or gas – vehicle. At the present time, I’m still wary of taking them on long road trips, where charging stations can become scarily scarce.
That said, for daily commuters with less than a 50-mile distance, or city-dwellers, the Mercedes EQE 500 would be hard to pass up.
Base Price: $90,650
Price As Driven: $98,040
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.