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Wednesday / 19 June 2024
HomeFeaturesFirst look at the new Mercedes-Benz EQE in South Africa

First look at the new Mercedes-Benz EQE in South Africa

The new Mercedes-Benz EQE went on sale in South Africa early in January becoming the fifth model in the manufacturer’s all-electric EQ stable.

Mercedes started 2023 with a bang by showcasing the new electric vehicle (EV) to the media before it officially hits the roads, with a host of other vehicles to come ranging from the facelifted A-Class to a new GLC, and even a few additions to the AMG range.

Unfortunately, we could not drive the EQE yet but had more than enough time to get to know many of its interesting facts.

One-bow design

Since wind noise is especially perceptible in an EV, the EQE’s body incorporates a “one-bow” design with extensive aerodynamic measures ensuring a low drag coefficient. It shares a platform with its larger EQS sibling and therefore looks rather similar with sinewy sides and short overhangs.

Exceptional aerodynamic performance is assured by a smooth underbody and almost fully closed-off front end, as well as finer details including wind-optimised tyres, continuous seals in the front area such as between the grille panel and headlamps, a streamlined A-pillar, wheel spoilers, and a rear spoiler.

A host of aerodynamically-shaped wheel designs are also on offer ranging from 19 up to 21 inches.

The sizeable black panel at the front houses important sensors for the driving assistance systems such as ultrasound, camera, and radar, at the same time, making clear the electric nature of the EQE, and LED high-performance headlamps come as standard.

The EQE is one of the brand’s first vehicles to be built with 100% recycled steel, too, and 75kg worth of the sedan’s components are constructed of recyclates and renewable raw materials.

Cabin

Inside the cabin, Mercedes has taken a more unconventional approach than with its traditional fuel-powered vehicles whilst retaining the class-leading build quality the brand is known for.

One of the most prominent design cues is the slim climate control vent band that runs the entire width of the fascia creating a cockpit-like atmosphere, as well as a centre console and armrest that flows into the large infotainment display.

While this latter part of the design isn’t unique to the EQ cars, also being featured in the new C-Class, it does provide a gaping storage area beneath it due to an EV’s inherent lack of a transmission and driveshaft.

The infotainment system also features zero-layer technology, which assures that the most important vehicle functions are upfront and centre and not hidden behind multiple menu screens.

Behind the middle screen, the almost flat dash is offered in several finishes such as open-pore wood and anthracite, which can be enhanced with intricate touches like a laser-cut star pattern with adaptive backlighting.

Complementing this, one of the more visually-impressive additions of the EQE is the optional active ambient lighting strip that hugs the climate band around the interior. The fixture comprises over 100 LEDs that react to a host of parameters including speed, pedal inputs, the selected drive mode, and assistance systems.

When accelerating, for example, the lighting creates a warping effect that stems from a single point in the middle of the dash, or when a vehicle is in the blind spot, a small section on the door lights up in red.

An audio pack that correspondingly feeds mood-altering sounds into the cabin as well as “active fragrancing” heightens the overall affair.

The Mercedes spokesperson explained that since EVs do not have exhaust notes and engine vibrations to fall back on, the designers and engineers have to evoke all the senses through clever use of lights, smells, sounds, and materials to ensure the in-car experience remains exciting and above all, special.

Another noteworthy nice-to-have which must be equipped at an additional cost is the Hyperscreen which transforms the front of the cabin into a seemingly-continuous display with three screens provided – one for the driver, one for the infotainment, and one for the passenger.

In AMG guise, the Sport seats are so designed to give the impression of “draped-on leather covers” – otherwise known as layering – and six colour combinations have been specially crafted for the upholstery such as balao brown/neva grey and biscaya blue/black to elevate the exclusivity factor.

Furthermore, the EQE and EQS are the only EQ models with “Neotex” trim finishes on elements such as the instrument panel and armrests, this material combining the look of nubuck leather and high-tech neoprene.

The omission of a traditional engine in the nose means the EQE’s passenger compartment is longer than that of its equivalent ICE counterpart, too, and this is taken advantage of through generous legroom and seat adjustment, however, the large underfloor battery and slanted roof do compromise headroom in the rear bench.

Drive system

The drive system underpinning the EQE comprises a 90.6kWh battery connected to “permanently excited synchronous motors” (PSM). The entry-level 350+ model has a PSM on the rear axle only while the range-topping AMG 43 has one at both the front and back.

As with many newer-generation EVs, the EQE is capable of one-pedal driving thanks to intelligent energy recuperation slowing the vehicle down while feeding energy back into the motors to improve range.

The specifications of the two powertrains are detailed in the following table:

Spec. EQE 350+ EQE 43 4Matic
System layout Rear-wheel drive All-wheel drive
Power 215kW/565Nm 350kW/858Nm
0-100km/h 6.4 seconds 4.2 seconds
Top speed 210km/h 210km/h
Range 645km 535km
Charging 10-80% 32m (170kW DC) /9h 15m (11kW AC) 32m (170kW DC) /9h 15m (11kW AC)

Independent cooling of the rotor shaft, stator, inverter, and transmission oil allows multiple acceleration runs without a drop in power, said the manufacturer, and special attention has been placed on keeping noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels to a minimum.

The magnets inside the PSM are arranged in an NVH-optimised manner known as “sheet metal cut” which not only minimises outside annoyances but also reduces the use of rare metals. In addition, the entire drive system is surrounded by a foam mat as an NVH cover.

Keeping ride comfort at industry-leading standards is four-link front suspension with multi-link rear suspension, this setup being closely related in design to the suspension configuration on the new S-Class.

A host of add-ons are further available to buyers to improve the EQE’s already-impressive abilities.

Among these are the Airmatic air suspension system with adaptive damping and “level control” which keeps the ground clearance constant irrespective of the on-board load.

Rear-axle steering up to 10 degrees is also on the options list, which enhances manoeuvrability at low speeds and stability at high speeds.


Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4Matic


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