There is a synergy in the working agreement between Mercedes-Benz and its AMG subsidiary. The former focuses on developing core models for broad appeal, while the latter is tasked with getting maximum performance out of the platform for demanding customers looking for an elevated visceral experience.
However, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV throws a small but highly conductive virtual key into that symbiotic groove. Based on the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, the AMG variant offers more – and not just in terms of performance. It’s better in almost every way, making the standard MB EQE EVs feel a bit flawed, not to mention the otherwise lovely Mercedes-AMG GLE-class, its internal-combustion analogue, feels a bit like aging ammunition in a world of laser-guided missiles.
The plug-and-play components and infinitely customizable software peculiar to electric vehicles open up new and alternative opportunities for the intrepid AMG engineers to exploit. In the case of the AMG EQE, you get access to massive torque at any speed, an electronically limited top speed of 240 km/h and a refined combination of handling and comfort, all with some of the concessions required by ICE vehicle development to deliver the same parameters. Not that we’re saying it’s easy. AMG built its villain-in-a-suit identity on a signature hoarse exhaust note and a certain menacing presence, and those elements don’t translate easily to this electric SUV.
AMG EQE SUV adds more power
Naturally, the AMG EQE SUV starts with an infusion of power. A pair of AMG-specific electric motors, one on each axle, put out 617 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase of 215 horsepower and 68 pound-feet over the two-engine setup that powers the Mercedes-Benz EQE500 SUV. The battery capacity is unchanged from the 90.6 kWh lithium-ion unit in the standard Benz. (The base EQE is also available as the single-motor 350+ and dual-motor EQE350 4Matic.) The AMG EQE can charge at rates of up to 170 kilowatts on a DC fast charger, enough to add 100 miles in 15 minutes, according to to Mercedes. A/C home and public charging via the built-in charger is limited to 9.6 kilowatts.
True to AMG form, there’s a user-selected launch mode. Dubbed Race Start, it can be deployed whether you purchase the optional AMG Dynamic Plus package, which adds an extra boost feature. The first performs the familiar launch with all systems ready for a clean, neck-breaking escape; try the same antics with the Dynamic Plus boost mode turned on, and it temporarily boosts output to the maximum 677 ponies and 738 pound-feet of torque. The car takes off with the same authority, but adds just enough extra push to extend the list of physiology-based acceleration clichés to include your choice of internal organs.
AMG claims a speed of 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds in this setting and based on CD experience, we think our testing will show it to be about two to three-tenths faster. That puts it in competition with an outgoing EV SUV, the BMW iX M60, while the Audi SQ8 e-tron remains in the figurative dust – on paper, at least. It can also hang with its EQE53 saloon sibling and the Audi RS E-Tron GT.
Heat is the buzzkill here, so the boosted EQE SUV employs some AMG-specific cooling wizardry to withstand the heat generated by repeated stand-on-it launches. The rear motor features a “water lance”, which, despite sounding like the name of a competition-grade kayak paddle, is a hollow shaft in the motor’s rotor where coolant circulates. Other AMG-specific elements designed to dissipate heat include specific ribs on the stator and a “needle pin-fin structure” on the inverter, which is made of special performance ceramic. A transmission oil heat exchanger manages thermal activity to forcibly cool and preheat components during cold starts for improved efficiency.
AMG EQE SUV range
The automaker is still finalizing the series numbers for the AMG EQE SUV. However, the vehicle we drove showed an indicated 225 miles at 90 percent battery charge at the start of our ride; after covering 72 miles in mixed conditions ranging from stop-and-go traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway to a stint on the freeway, it left a declared range of 152 miles with a battery showing 60 percent. Napkin math suggests a total of 240 miles on a full charge, though the battery would be low.
Indeed, the onboard software predicted a remaining range of 100-253 miles, based in part on driving style for the first 72 miles. (We spent nearly all of our time behind the wheel of the EQE in Sport+ mode, subjecting the vehicle to numerous full-ramp launches, as well as frequent foot-to-floor merges and highway overtakes.)
Starting with a fully charged battery and driving carefully, the range would probably improve proportionally. As a reference, CD estimates the Mercedes-Benz EQE500 SUV, which has the same battery but less powerful engines, at about 420 kilometers of range.
The navigation system includes Active Range Monitoring software that, if a programmed destination detects a low battery, steps in to ensure the most efficient operation and prioritizes nearby charging stations.
Driving the AMG EQE SUV
Select the Comfort driving mode and the AMG EQE moves with a relaxed athletic stride, partly by limiting the drive power to 493 hp. The standard air suspension adapts to the mood, the electro-mechanical anti-roll bars lose their grip on the chassis and, despite the fitment of slightly aggressive 275/40R-21 Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres, the chassis delivers a surprisingly cushioned ride suitable for the spoiled derrieres.
In faster situations, the AMG-tuned all-wheel drive 4Matic+ sends more torque to the rear in the Sport and Sport+ modes for more agility. Up to 9.0 degrees of rear wheel steering is available to aid handling and maneuvering. The rear wheels rotate opposite to the front below 37 mph for greater maneuverability; above that threshold, they rotate in tandem with the fronts, aiding maneuverability at high speed. The effect is a little unsettling at first, but once you learn to trust the thrill, the rock walls lining the canyon’s roadway disappear from your peripheral view.
Six-piston calipers squeeze 16.3-inch rotors up front, and single-piston units in the rear bite 14.9-inch rotors. (A ceramic high-performance composite brake setup with 17.3-inch rotors is also available.) Yes, there’s still a bit of a clunky, unsteady feel at the pedal when the mechanical and regenerative systems trade off stopping power, an issue we’ve discovered with the standard EQE SUV as well.
Fortunately, with three levels of regenerative braking available, one can minimize the amount of brake-pedal interaction. Strong recuperation mode is the most aggressive and returns the most energy, but requires a slight rewiring of your instincts to use it gracefully. Even at high speeds on winding mountain roads, the trick is never to take your foot completely off the accelerator. This engages full regenerative braking power, which is deceptively effective at slowing the vehicle down. And the software decision to drop anchor is made in about the first 1 to 4 percent of the pedal stroke. By lightly touching the accelerator pedal at all times, you can modulate the braking force with fairly organic results.
Styling and interior
Cosmetically, AMG has chosen a decidedly conservative course. A new bonnet badge with the AMG emblem replaces the traditional Mercedes star. A front in AMG body color is interrupted by a black panel with chrome decorations, and the aero elements at the front are also emphasized in chrome.
AMG interior signifiers include specific patterned upholstery rendered in MB-Tex with microfiber and red topstitching, although nappa leather is also available as standard. There are embossed AMG logos on the seats and headrests, the required illuminated door sills and an AMG flat-bottomed steering wheel. The helm is a joy to hold, but the handlebar-mounted controls feel a bit thinner and much less tactile than those of previous versions. The standard Hyperscreen dominates the dashboard and is packed with AMG-specific content, including the available AMG Track Pace software for anyone taking their electric SUV to track days.
While worthy of the AMG tag, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV redefines the product formula. Yes, it has improved performance, but software plays an increasingly important role. In the EV era, tuner arms like AMG have to work overtime to cultivate the magic that separates them from their less tenuous siblings. For now, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV is simply the most compelling example of the EQE family.
You might also like it