Skip to main content

Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV first drive review: a better electric SUV

Front three quarter view of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV.
Stephen Edelstein / Digital Trends

With EV production ramping up, automakers can now shift attention to something more fun: making EVs that are engaging to drive, the kind that encourage you to take the long way home. Mercedes-Benz is putting its best people on the job.

For more than 50 years, AMG has been turning Mercedes luxury cars into race cars and hot rods—and the performance division is now working its magic on EVs. We’ve already gotten AMG versions of the Mercedes-Benz EQS and EQE sedans, but AMG is now upping the difficulty level with an electric SUV.

The 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV is AMG’s take on the EQE SUV that launched earlier this year. In addition to finding a substitute for more visceral internal-combustion engines, AMG had to contend with a higher center of gravity and even more weight to make this SUV truly sporty. With so many electric SUVs on the market, the AMG EQE SUV could go down as a mere trial run, or be a harbinger of endless boringness to come.

Design and interior

Front-end close up of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

AMG models have never been flashy. Except for subtle changes noticeable only to sharp-eyed car enthusiasts, they generally look like the Mercedes vehicles they’re based on. That stealth look is part of the fun, and AMG hasn’t changed it for the electric models.

The AMG variant looks like an EQE SUV that’s ready for a job interview. Everything is pretty much the same, just sharper and more put together. The black panel meant to suggest a grille has sprouted some vertical bars like the ones you’d see on a gasoline AMG model, the wheels have a sportier design, and the front and rear fasciae get some subtle aerodynamic additions.

The AMG variant looks like an EQE SUV that’s ready for a job interview.

The overall shape is still the same, however. Mercedes rounded off the edges of traditional SUV design in the same of reducing aerodynamic drag, which is an important factor in maximizing EV range. It doesn’t make the EQE SUV especially pleasant to look at, though, although at least it will be easier to tell the AMG EQE SUV apart from the larger EQS SUV, which doesn’t get the AMG treatment.

The interior also largely carries over from the base EQE SUV, but in this case, that’s a good thing. Mercedes has come up with an interior design theme that’s both modern and luxurious. And while this is a performance vehicle, you still get plenty of creature comforts, including leather seats that are plenty comfortable for long highway drives.

Tech, infotainment, and driver assist

Interior of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

The AMG EQE SUV gets the Hyperscreen display previously seen on other Mercedes EQ models, consisting of a digital instrument cluster, central touchscreen, and a front-passenger touchscreen under one dashboard-spanning piece of glass. The displays span 56 inches in total, although the three screens operate independently. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as well.

Also present is the familiar Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, which provides a similar experience to other recent Mercedes models. The main touchscreen, which has a “Zero Layer” concept that overlays key functions as tiles on a map display, is easy to navigate. Or you could just use the very reliable voice recognition system, which remains the gold standard for such tech in cars.

You can put the various screens to work analyzing the car’s performance.

In this AMG model, you can also put the various screens to work analyzing the car’s performance. The instrument cluster can show a G-meter, so you can see exactly how close you are to making your passengers vomit. Any passenger with a strong stomach can monitor the flow of energy between the two electric motors, or use a virtual IWC stopwatch to time the driver.

Going for the AMG model doesn’t mean sacrificing driver-assist tech. The AMG EQE SUV includes expected features like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, as well as a traffic-jam assist function that allows it to creep forward in stop-and-go traffic. Aside from a lane-change assist function that seemed to have a mind of its own, executing lane changes unprompted, everything performed as expected.

Driving experience

One of the Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV's wheels.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

AMG puts most of its effort into the suspension and powertrain. In the AMG EQE SUV, that means one electric motor driving each axle, with a combined output of 617 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque, compared to 402 hp and 633 lb-ft for the most powerful dual-motor, non-AMG version of the EQE SUV.

Output can be further boosted with a Race Start mode, which temporarily provides 677 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque for quick getaways. With Race Start mode engaged, Mercedes estimates the AMG EQE SUV will do zero to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, compared to 4.6 seconds for the quickest non-AMG model. Top speed also increased from 130 mph to 149 mph, while the battery pack has the same 90.6-kilowatt-hour capacity as other EQE SUV models.

Instead of the familiar roar of an engine, you get what sounds like the moaning of a depressed robot.

Other upgrades include an AMG-specific air suspension system with adaptive dampers, standard rear-axle steering, and an electromechanical anti-roll system that automatically adjusts to smooth out bumps or tauten the chassis for sharper handling, as needed. Upgraded brakes and a selection of drive modes (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and an Individual mode that lets you mix and match settings), along with an artificial soundtrack meant to take the place of engine noises. Instead of the familiar roar of an engine, you get what sounds like the moaning of a depressed robot.

Bizarre noises aside (they can be turned off), the AMG EQE SUV was definitely an improvement over the base version. Quick acceleration enabled by instantly available torque is now an EV cliché, but in this AMG EV you can really feel the accelerative force. The AMG model also felt more composed in corners, without sacrificing the standard version’s plush ride.

Yet while this is definitely a better EQE SUV, it’s not the most fun EV to drive. On narrow roads — like the kind Mercedes sent us on for part of the test drive — the vehicle’s width and the lack of precision from the steering wheel will have you nervously eyeing the lane markers. And while the AMG EQE SUV can get itself around corners with impressive efficiency, it’s very much a point-and-shoot car where the driver is mostly along for the ride.

It may not be totally in line with the AMG ethos, but the AMG EQE SUV is much better at blasting down highways than attacking twisty roads. It’s as comfortable as you would expect a Mercedes to be, and you can put the added power to good use overtaking semi-trucks.

Range, charging, and safety

Digital instrument cluster in the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

Mercedes hasn’t released range estimates for the AMG EQE SUV, but this more powerful performance model is unlikely to beat the non-AMG versions. Official ratings haven’t been published for those models either, although Mercedes doesn’t expect any of them to surpass 300 miles.

Like other EQE SUV models, the AMG EQE SUV can DC fast charge at up to 170 kilowatts, which should be good for a 10% to 80% charge in under 40 minutes. That, along with the quoted Level 2 AC power rate of 9.6 kw, isn’t game-changing. Mercedes owners will at least soon have access to a network of dedicated charging stations, which the automaker claims will provide a better experience than the third-party stations it currently relies on.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) haven’t published crash-test ratings for the EQE SUV, but if they do the ratings should be applicable to the AMG model. Expect it to get the same warranty coverage as other Mercedes models as well, including a four-year, 50,000-mile, new-vehicle warranty and a 10-year, 155,000-mile, battery warranty.

How DT would configure this car

Rear three quarter view of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV.
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

It may not be the ultimate performance car, but this AMG model is definitely a better EQE SUV. Its extra power and more composed driving dynamics enhance the driving experience, and you still get the same well-designed interior and infotainment system as the standard EQE SUV. So this is definitely the EQE SUV to have, even though it will probably cost substantially more than the standard version, which currently tops out at $96,400.

If you want a sporty luxury EV, though, it might be worth looking at some of the electric sedans currently on offer. The Mercedes EQE sedan is also available in AMG guise, and while it doesn’t have as much interior space as its SUV counterpart, its lower center of gravity and road-skimming driving position make it closer to a true driver’s car. Ditto the ultra-quick Lucid Air and Tesla Model S, as well as the Audi e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan, which leverage chassis tech honed in internal-combustion cars for driving thrills.

Among electric luxury SUVs, the AMG EQE SUV is quicker than the BMW iX M60 and a base Tesla Model X, while Audi hasn’t yet launched an RS performance version of its Q8 e-tron. But more competition is on the way in the form of an all-electric version of the Porsche Cayenne and, potentially, the Lotus Eletre electric SUV that recently launched in Europe. So Mercedes’ biggest achievement with the AMG EQE SUV might just be getting it on sale at the right time.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is old-school luxury — electrified
Front three quarter view of the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV.

Mercedes-Benz is preparing for an electric future with its EQ models, a line of EVs with futuristic aerodynamic styling and all of the latest infotainment tech. With several EQ models already in production, Mercedes is shifting focus to more traditional luxury.
The Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is the first all-electric vehicle from Maybach, the ultra-luxury subbrand of Mercedes. It takes the EQS SUV launched in 2022 and bathes it in opulence, adding more chrome on the outside and more creature comforts on the inside.
Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. this fall, the Maybach is an unusual EV proposition, taking what is supposed be a forward-thinking design and wrapping it in old-school luxury. Ahead of its launch, Digital Trends got an up-close look at the Maybach EQS SUV to see how Mercedes is trying to balance those two aspects.

Germany's Rolls-Royce goes electric
The Maybach name has great historical significance for Mercedes. Wilhelm Maybach was one of the earliest automotive engineers. He designed the first Mercedes-branded car for the Daimler company (now Daimler-Benz), but struck out on his own after a falling out with company management. His eponymous company built Zeppelin engines, luxury cars, and, during World War II, engines for German military vehicles.
Daimler-Benz took control of Maybach in the 1960s, but left the passenger-car business dormant. Mercedes then revived the Maybach name in the early 2000s as a competitor to the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, both of which are owned by rival German automakers. Given Wilhelm Maybach's history with Mercedes, it essentially brought things full circle.
The 21st-century Maybach brand started out with standalone models in the form of the Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 sedans (as well as the stunning Exelero prototype), but production ended in 2012 amid dwindling sales. Mercedes then switched to making Maybach-branded versions of existing models like the S-Class sedan and GLS-Class SUV, a pattern that continues with the Maybach EQS SUV.

Read more
Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV first drive review: ’90s look, cutting-edge tech
Front three quarter view of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV.

Mercedes-Benz is one of the oldest automakers in existence, but it's been among the quickest to launch a lineup of electric cars. It may not have the freshness of a startup, but what it does have are actual cars to sell to customers.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV is the middle child of Mercedes' electric SUV lineup, slotting between the entry-level EQB and the flagship EQS SUV, and targeting electric luxury SUVs like the Audi E-Tron, BMW iX, and Cadillac Lyriq. Like the EQS, the EQE SUV is based on an existing sedan, hence the "SUV" suffix. In a previous first drive, we found the EQE sedan to be a good balance between luxury and livability, giving the SUV version a lot to live up to.

Read more
Hyundai Ioniq 6 first drive review: welcome to the future
Front three quarter view of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6.

While some automakers are just beginning to get into electric cars, Hyundai's EVs have already taken several evolutionary steps. From the Ioniq Electric to the Kona Electric to the Ioniq 5, the South Korean brand's EVs have steadily become more sophisticated in tech and design. And Hyundai isn't stopping.

The 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a follow-up to the Ioniq 5, wrapping the earlier model's hardware in very different styling. With the Ioniq 5 and most other EVs from mainstream brands are marketed as crossover SUVs, this sedan doesn't have much direct competition. Hyundai set out to compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2, which is reflected in its comparable pricing — between $42,715 for the base version and $57,425 for the most expensive model. But constantly fluctuating Tesla prices and build configurations mean that may not be the case for long.

Read more