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Three letters make all the difference. The Mercedes-AMG EQE 53.


Words by  Ken Pearson


It is no longer accurate to say that the car industry is changing; it has changed already. Every mainstream manufacturer has a range of electric cars on the market and the proliferation of battery powered models is only going to continue. With it, niches such as top-end luxury and performance are being filled at a rapid rate. Mercedes-Benz, with the EQ-family of battery electric cars has a model in each core market segment with models ranging from EQA to EQV. Mercedes-AMG, renowned for producing heavy-hitting luxury rocket ships has embraced the electric present (not future) and now has no fewer than five fully electric performance models available globally.

At present, we get three in the UK, all of the 53 variety, in the form of the EQS, EQE SUV, and for the focus of this collection of words, the EQE 53 saloon. Mercedes-AMG gets the base model to work with and sets about tuning the car for keen drivers with a mixture of powertrain and chassis upgrades which can involve new engines, bespoke suspension and in the case of the EQ 53 models, bespoke motors too. 

The EQE 53 gets this treatment with bespoke power management and cooling for the battery to manage the almost absurd amount of performance that is available at the flex of a toe; 625 hp and 950 nm is the order of business here, though with the optional AMG Performance package this can be boosted to 687 hp and 1000 nm during Race Start. That seems adequate on paper and puts it in the mix with its competitors from Porsche and Audi. 0-62 mph is dispatched in 3.5 seconds or 3.3 with Race Start which would embarrass most supercars from the early years of this century. Again, that's quite strong on paper. But in the real world, away from the sheets of paper on which all performance EVs are compared, what does that mean? Is this car a one-trick pony which amazes on the straights and has the composure of a jelly when the road turns bendy? In short, no. How did I discover this? Allow me to explain...



My short time with the EQE 53 begins with settling down on a nappa leather seat with the AMG crest pressed into the headrest. The material quality of the nappa leather interior impresses with soft touchpoints all around; the AMG Performance steering wheel has alcantara grip areas, quick-select buttons for adjusting vehicle settings and driving modes and two enormous, cool to touch paddles for adjusting energy recovery on the fly. The head-up display means I won't be spending much time looking at the rather impressive MBUX HYPERSCREEN with three displays under a single pane of glass which stretches across the dashboard. MBUX is a known quantity to me so it's easy to get the massage programme activated and the ambient lighting set to a garish shade of red. I'm personally not too fussed about the HYPERSCREEN and see it as a full-width fingerprint magnet but my friends would later be amazed by the sheer square footage of screen available to play with. 

My favourite screen in any car is the windscreen and as is the case with the EQE's bigger brother, the EQS, the dashboard is set rather high up so the field of vision of the world ahead is somewhat narrower than I'm used to in my own C-Class; it's similar to the forward vision one would have in an Audi TT. Rear visibility is best via the side mirrors or the reversing camera. 



Setting off in Comfort mode, the EQE effortlessly advances up towards the speed limit and quickly settles into a relaxed, sure-footed cruise. The 2.5 tonne kerb weight is evident with the car feeling as though it is glued to the tarmac, yet what surprises me is the smoothness of the ride. I know that all German cars are designed to be comfortable on the Autobahn at the speeds that are permitted there, but I wasn't expecting the EQE to feel as smooth as the EQS. The car gets adjustable AMG RIDE CONTROL air suspension which does a truly wonderful job of smoothing out the road surface at high speeds, if it does remind me of the AMG part of its name at town speeds. 

With the gentle cruising bit done and assessed, it's time to see what the performance is really like. As a taxi mercifully vacates the schnell lane on the exit of a roundabout, the pedal and the carpet become one. I can't put the words that came out of my mouth here but if you think of a couple of words that rhyme with tucking shell then you'd be along the right lines. To call the performance a torrent would be an understatement; it is like lighting a pair of solid rocket boosters, only quicker. The speed builds with such a relentless determination that is simply addictive, so naturally, and in the interest of science (or something like that) I have to pull over and double check the findings of my first launch. Approximately 3.5 seconds and a gargle of laughs later, I can confirm that the EQE 53 is chuffing fast. 

Where lots of electric cars disappoint is in the higher-speed acceleration, however, the EQE 53 feels like it has super long gearing to make the most of the available power and torque reserves from rest right up to where it is physically restrained at 155 mph. Overtaking performance is breathtakingly effective, rapid and effortless. Yet still, the roads have been straight, smooth and save for one graffiti-covered house and dented speed camera sign, dull. So the EQE and I hunt for some more interesting tarmac to put the steering and brakes to the test. 



The road turns twisty and the rear-axle steering goes from turning in the same direction as the front wheels to improve lane-changing stability to turning in the opposite direction to reduce the turning circle and make this 5 metre long saloon as nimble as a startled gecko. In Sport+, the steering adds some weight to the equation and the magnetic roadholding experienced on dual carriageways continues as I swiftly advance past some sheep and around the former perimeter road of a wartime bomber base. A long straight followed by a fast double-S bend and another half mile straight means lots of time to gently reduce speed through energy recovery and set the car up for the changes of direction; when hustling an electric car, it's best to turn in gently and load up the front axle to get the weight to work with you rather than against you. I would love to say that after tapping the carbon ceramic brakes that the car leaned onto its suspension and carried itself around the corner but I could not detect more than a faint hint of roll. 

The stability and sticky tape-esque grip levels encourage me to press on with the car and come to the conclusion that the spec sheets on which all performance EVs are judged on may as well be kept locked in a box until you've been for a drive and seen what cars in this class can do on the road. Put simply, the 2.5 tonne, 5 metre long, massage seat equipped EQE 53 saloon has no business accelerating and turning in the way it does, but oh am I glad that it does. 

This is no one-trick pony and not just for the B-road ability that I've just highlighted. Overall, the breadth of abilities that this car has to offer is fantastically impressive; it can cruise effortlessly at high speeds and do all the heavy lifting for you with the Driving Assistance Package, or it can adjust the positioning of your internal organs with a standing start, or it can put them back where they should be when you use the carbon brakes, or it can twist along a country lane, or it can play movies when charging, or it can tell you what the weather forecast for Bracknell is...in fact, it can do all those things in the space of one journey. 



It can also give this writer a newfound respect for the model on which this electronic laser-guided precision sledgehammer is based: the EQE saloon. The base model left me feeling a little cold as, in my opinion and excluding the interior tech from the equation, the car which was good as standard would have been great with the addition of rear-axle steering, a second electric motor and air suspension. The AMG EQE 53 has all those things that bring me to this alarmingly simple conclusion:

Three letters make all the difference.


Now that you've read about my time with the EQE 53, would you like to see what the performance and handling looks like? If so, watch the video that served as the basis for this article. Make sure to subscribe to our channel to find out all about the rest of the range from Mercedes-Benz and smart!





Key Information: 


Drivetrain: Twin electric motor, 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive

Power (with Race Start): 625 hp (686 hp)

Torque (with Race Start): 900 nm (1000 nm)

0-62 mph (with AMG Performance package): 3.5 s (3.3 s)

Top speed (with AMG Performance Package): 137 mph (155 mph)

Battery: 91 kWh Lithium-ion

WLTP range: Up to 291 miles combined

DC charging time - 10-80%: 30 minutes at up to 170 kW

AC charging time - 0-100%: 14 hours at 7 kW

Kerb weight: 2,540 kg

Prices from: £114,750

Price as tested: £129,735

To discover the outstanding performance of the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53, book your test drive today with any one of our Mercedes-Benz Hertfordshire retailers.

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