New Mercedes EQE 300 2023 review
The entry-level Mercedes EQE has all the key qualities of the pricier versions but still suffers in comparison to executive car rivals
The Mercedes EQE 300 is certainly one of the better offerings within the EQE lineup - be that the saloon or the SUV. The 376-mile maximum range available here is nothing to be sniffed at and while it may be the entry point to EQE ownership, the interior feels just as premium as any other Mercedes wearing the EQ badge. We expect better ride comfort in an executive car of this nature, however, and most of its rivals feel just a bit more special inside.
By the time the EQE entered the fray in 2021, Mercedes had already pulled the covers from six of its all-electric EQ models and in the years since the range has grown further. The premium German car maker has aspirations to push even further up market in the future and cars like the EQE will be crucial in building and cementing this image.
We’re well acquainted with the EQE, having driven it in sporty range-topping AMG 53 guise and long-range 350+ form. Now it’s the turn of the entry-level 300 model that uses the same 89kWh battery. The EQE line up starts from £74,345 with the 300 powertrain and in AMG Line trim. Our car is the AMG Line Premium, commanding a £79,345 price tag.
Car group tests
So what do you get for the extra £5,000? Well, the AMG Line Premium adds 20-inch AMG alloy wheels, Mercedes’ Driving Assistance package, keyless-go, 64-colour ambient lighting, four-zone automatic climate control and a ‘Memory Package’ which adjusts the front seats, steering column and mirrors to suit the driver.
It’s not like the regular AMG Line EQE isn’t well equipped, however, with the panoramic roof, leather sport seats (heated up front), two automatic climate control zones, a reversing camera and parking assist all standard-fit. This is all pretty much standard fare for a car of this price point and certainly for an executive-sized Mercedes model, though.
The battery and drivetrain is the same as you’ll find in the 350 model, so there’s an 89kWh battery allowing a maximum range of 376 miles - impressive, considering the similarly-sized Genesis Electrified G80 will return 323 miles and the Hyundai Ioniq 6 will max out at 338 miles. The upcoming BMW i5 will deliver a 362 miles and a base-spec Porsche Taycan will offer 100 miles less than that so even this entry-level EQE has a useful edge on driving range.
Instead of the 292bhp you get in the EQE 350, the EQE 300 sends 245bhp to its rear wheels for a 7.3-second 0-62mph time - which is still plenty. Of course, there’s the expected instantaneous torque from the electric motor but the EQE 300 keeps on powering through to motorway speeds with virtually none of the drop-off you see in other pure-electric cars.
The EQE 300 feels just like the rest of the EQE range from behind the wheel. It’s not really a car you want to push hard but if you do you’ll find a predictable nose-heavy balance which doesn’t really communicate through the steering all that often.
The driving position is a little odd in the EQE. You sit high up (which is needed to see over the tall dash) and at times it feels remarkably similar to the EQE SUV - which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the shared platform and interior design. Rear visibility isn’t great thanks to the thin rear window. The weight is positioned low in the chassis like in most EVs but there’s a lot of it, 2,355kg in fact, so slow and steady inputs are the best course of action here.
An issue we’ve had with other EQEs is the ride quality. It’s certainly not uncomfortable, you’d be more than happy making use of the car’s long range in a single trip, but it tends to bob along the road rather than dampening ruts and bumps for a smoother ride. The steering is a little vague off centre as well, which results in you making too many corrections to keep it in your lane.
Mercedes’ adaptive air suspension is only available on AMG Line Premium Plus, but ‘Dynamic Select’ is still offered throughout the EQE range. This is the driving mode selector with Eco, Comfort and Sport. They don’t change the car’s set up noticeably, but the five brake regeneration levels are well calibrated with a distinct change between each one.
The £6,995 Hyperscreen infotainment display is only offered on AMG Line Premium Plus cars and above. While it’s certainly an impressive layout, the regular 12.8-inch central touchscreen is just as ergonomic to use combined with the 12.3-inch driver’s display. Even though the resolution is excellent and there’s a seemingly endless amount of menu options to access, the screen rarely lags.
The EQE certainly feels luxurious inside, although the high window line does make it a bit dark in there - until nighttime falls and you’ve got the AMG Line Premium’s uprated ambient lighting in full. Some areas of the cabin let down the overall perception of quality - such as the plasticky steering column surround. It’s worth mentioning Mercedes’ Artico man-made leather, however, which is one of the best sustainable leather replacements we’ve come across.
As an executive car the EQE needs to be just as pleasant to sit in the back of as it is to drive. This is where it really disappoints though, with rear seat back rests that are too upright. There’s a decent amount of legroom but the window line is too high (just as it is in the front) so it feels a bit claustrophobic back there. At least there’s a jazzy touch panel for the rear climate controls and enough USB-C ports.
|Model:||Mercedes-AMG EQE 300|
|Powertrain:||89kWh battery single-motor|
|Transmission:||Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive|
|Charging:||170kW (10-80% 31mins)|