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First Drive: The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV Delivers Power and Poise in a Compact Package

On a drive through Portugal, the all-electric crossover delivered everything we expected from the marque, but in a smaller configuration.

The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC in Portugal. Mercedes-Benz AG

Mercedes-Benz knocked it out of the park with its first electric luxury sedan, the EQS, and then the hits just kept on coming with the subsequent EQS SUV. The marque didn’t wait long to bring out the smaller EQE sedan, just arriving at dealers now, and you don’t get any bonus points for guessing what’s next: the EQE SUV. After a few days driving one around the gorgeous Portuguese coastline, I’m happy to say it very much continues that early legacy of comfortable, quiet, silent motoring.

When it comes to options, the EQE SUV likewise follows the pattern set by the sedan, including three drivetrain choices. On the low end, there’s the single-motor, rear-driven EQE SUV 350+ with 288 hp and 417 ft lbs of torque. Next up is the 350 4MATIC, a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version that, interestingly, makes the same power but delivers more torque, 564 ft lbs to be exact. Finally, there’s the top-tier EQE SUV 500 4MATIC, which offers 402 hp and 633 ft lbs of torque. 

The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC in Portugal.
The 402 hp Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC in Portugal. Mercedes-Benz AG

No, there’s no AMG flavor of the SUV, not yet anyway, but you can at least opt for some AMG line styling details, which include a racier front fascia and exclusive wheels on the outside, plus a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a few bits of custom trim on the inside.

All of the EQE SUVs pull from the same 90.6 kwh battery pack, so no surprise that the EPA-estimated range goes down as the power goes up: 269 miles—according to the EPA—for the 500 4MATIC, rising to 279 miles for the 350+. 

The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 350+ on the road in Portugal.
The EQE SUV 350+ has 288 hp and 417 ft lbs of torque. Mercedes-Benz AG

Beyond power levels, options abound for the EQE SUV. On the handling side, adaptive air suspension lets you tune stiffness to suit your mood and can raise the SUV for light off-roading, while rear-steering turns the rear wheels by up to 10 degrees, bolstering stability, nimbleness, and making impossibly tight U-turns a breeze. 

On the road, even the entry-level 350+ impresses, the steel suspension tending more towards soft compliance than engaging poise, but still offering a relaxing, rewarding drive experience. Step into the 500 4MATIC—with air suspension—and there’s just that bit more comfort over bumpy roads and, when you toggle things over to Sport mode, a slightly sharper response to your inputs.

The EQE SUV 350 4MATIC in Portugal.
The 350 4MATIC is a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive variant of the EQE SUV that delivers 564 ft lbs of torque. Mercedes-Benz AG

Yet it’s really the power difference that’s most stark. While the 350+ is fun and responsive at low speeds, the 500 4MATIC leaps forward even on the highway and is definitely the better companion for those with a heavier right foot. But, regardless of how you spec it, the EQE SUV isn’t a sports car. Quick as it is (4.6 seconds to 60 mph for the 500 4MATIC), the model is better suited for a relaxing cruise. And that’s in keeping with the EQE sedan, which is also a better lover than a fighter.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC.
The interior of the EQE SUV features a sweeping dashboard that can be covered with your choice of five designs. Mercedes-Benz AG

Add on the Acoustic Comfort Package with laminated glass and a few other aerodynamic tweaks, and the interior of the EQE SUV becomes whisper quiet regardless of velocity—all the better to enjoy the sound. Every EQE gets a Burmester system with Dolby Atmos, and Mercedes-Benz is taking advantage of that with a few new so-called “soundscapes.” For example, “Roaring Pulse” adds a throaty engine note to the experience, not unlike some V-8-powered AMGs of yore. “Serene Breeze,” though, is the more interesting one. This adds a mixture of harmonic chords and nature sounds, making you feel like you’re driving through a David Attenborough documentary scored by Yanni. It’s a bit silly, but it’s also surprisingly effective at enabling the driver to decompress behind the wheel.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC.
Add on the Acoustic Comfort Package, and the interior of the EQE SUV becomes whisper quiet regardless of velocity. Mercedes-Benz AG

That said, the cabin as a whole does a good job of keeping things serene. Seats are extremely comfortable, even more so if you add on the Multicontour option, which adds massage. The sweeping dashboard can be covered with your choice of five designs, ranging from geometric patterns to natural walnut. In the middle, a 12.8-inch, vertically oriented display sits proud, bright, clear, and generously sized, making it easy to navigate through Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment experience, which offers both wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

On the active safety side, while the base EQE SUV won’t even have adaptive cruise, higher trims will include the Driving Assistance Package, presenting adaptive cruise with automatic lane keeping, emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and Emergency Steering Assist. The latter facilitates the car’s attempt to automatically swerve around pedestrians and cyclists at speeds of up to 68 mph. 

The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC in Portugal.
The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV line (of which the 500 4MATIC is shown here) will be in dealerships starting this spring. Mercedes-Benz AG

The feature set is comprehensive, and the pricing is compelling. The base EQE SUV 350+ starts at $77,900, which makes it just barely eligible for the current federal incentive on electric SUVs. The 350 4MATIC also starts at $77,900, meaning going rear- or all-wheel drive is a choice of range, not cost. The AMG Line–enhanced EQE SUV 500 4MATIC, meanwhile, starts at $89,500. According to Mercedes-Benz, each of the model variants will be at dealerships starting this spring, which means they’ll be showing up any time now. 

While there’s nothing surprising about the resulting package, regardless of which version you opt for, the EQE SUV does not disappoint. Mercedes-Benz’s luxury EV game just keeps getting stronger.

Click here for more photos of the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV.

The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC in Portugal.
The Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV 500 4MATIC. Mercedes-Benz AG

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