2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE53 brings more speed than excitement

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE sedan doesn’t have the distinction of being AMG’s first purely electric model. That honor goes to the limited-production 2014 SLS Electric Drive sports car, which finally set things in motion for Mercedes’ performance arm to finally deliver its first full production EV, the decidedly futuristic AMG EQS. The brand’s new EQE model is essentially a smaller, more affordable adaptation of that car, which can be seen as an electric alternative to the fire-breathing E63 sedan.

Offered in just one model, the EQE53, AMG’s latest electric vehicle certainly has what it takes in the powertrain department: 617 horsepower in the standard all-wheel-drive version and 677 horsepower as an option with its Dynamic Plus package. An EPA range estimate has yet to be released, but we expect it should be good for at least 250 miles. And while pricing has yet to be confirmed, we expect it to cost significantly less than the $148,495 AMG EQS 4Matic+ sedan and possibly even undercut the $109,550 E63 S sedan. $.

However, the arrival of the high-performance EQE, which in its regular form peaks at 402 horsepower and is characterized largely by its quiet refinement, raises a thorny question: how well can AMG deliver an experience of exciting driving without the added fury of an internal engine? -Combustion engine? To try and fill the experiential void, the AMG EQE gains a sound symposer system, which plays a synthesized soundtrack through internal and external speakers. This system changes volume and pitch in a combustion-like manner based on throttle position, although it does not attempt to directly replicate the sounds of a conventional engine. Two versions are available; the default Authentic configuration is standard, while a beefier Performance mode is optional.

Unfortunately, our trip to France revealed that not all EQE53 pilots will find this aural theater completely engaging. While the generated soundscape is quite interesting, evoking images of dueling star wars lightsabers or perhaps an Airbus A380 ready to take off, the noise was both incongruous and somewhat distracting when trying to tackle a demanding stretch of road. We quickly found it easier to take advantage of the EQE53’s improved speed and agility with the system off. While not as oddly quiet as the regular EQE at lower speeds, the 53 is still remarkably quiet when cruising. Acceleration is both huge and instantaneous, with the right pedal acting more like a fader switch for longitudinal g-forces than a conventional throttle.

The power of the EQE53 is measured by its selected dynamic mode: up to 308 horsepower in Slippery mode, 493 horsepower in Comfort, 555 in Sport and 617 ponies in Sport+. Beyond that, a temporary boost to 677 horsepower is available with the Dynamic Plus package, but only when using the Race Start launch feature. But even at the smallest settings, this AMG feels brutally fast, if not as ballistic as a Tesla Model S Plaid or Porsche Taycan Turbo S – such is the state of current EV racing when the EQE53 claimed a 3 stroke .2 seconds at 60 mph is simply a mid-range figure in its segment.

The 53’s chassis does an excellent job of handling both its power and its considerable tonnage. Much of its mass comes from the low-slung 90.6kWh battery, and the car’s ground-hugging center of gravity is felt in its willingness to change direction and a marked lack of body roll. Yet despite good overall balance and huge grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, the EQE53’s bulk is evident in tighter corners. Its steering responds faithfully to inputs and its adaptive springs and dampers stay dialed under high loads, but there’s no getting around that being a big, heavy vehicle for navigating twisty mountain roads.

Yet beyond the appeal of massive acceleration and artificial soundtrack modification, the EQE53’s various ride settings seem to make less of a difference in the experience than they do in the conventional AMG models. Its ride remains smooth regardless of setting, and while the steering gained a little extra weight in Sport and Sport+, the change was minimal. The most obvious dynamic difference came from the stability control’s Sport mode, which gave a noticeable rearward bias to the AWD system’s torque delivery while also intervening to limit excessive slip.

Our test car also featured the optional carbon-ceramic brake package, which is reassuringly powerful but seems a little unnecessary given the car’s ability to harvest up to 260kW from its motors under regenerative braking. . There are three levels of regeneration which can be selected via paddles behind the steering wheel, the weakest of which allows the car to coast when you release the accelerator while the strongest equates to a one-pedal driving mode . Additionally, the EQE53 can draw power up to 170kW when connected to a DC fast charger, which is enough to add a claimed 112 miles in just 15 minutes.

As in the non-AMG EQE models we’ve driven, the rest of the EQE53 experience needs some tweaking. Some onlookers will find that the combination of the cabin-forward proportions and the curved roofline of the exterior design lack the classic elegance of the brand’s conventional sedans. And the interior can look more like a TV showroom than the cabin of a luxury sedan, especially with the Hyperscreen option that positions screens all over the dash.

The EQE53 reinforces that AMG can build an impressive electric vehicle. But it lacks much of the visceral excitement that accompanies nearly all of the brand’s conventional products, illustrating the sensory deprivation challenge that all performance car makers face as they transition to electrified lineups. There may not be a place in this future for noisy cars, involving a few rough edges, but driving the EQE53 left us wanting a little more courage.

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