2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV-top

First Drive: 2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

The 2024 Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV is what happens when Mercedes’ in-house performance division gets their hands on an otherwise sensible luxury electric SUV. AMG is better known for their bonkers V8s, but as the world surges forward toward an internal combustion free era they’ve had to take an about face and outfit its performance vehicles with silent electric motors. The new Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV is the latest electric Benz to get the treatment

2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV
2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

It starts with two AMG-specific electric motors that are capable of outputting the kind of thrust that could probably move an ocean liner. In full attack mode it can unleash 677 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of tire-shredding torque capable of launching the big Benz from standstill to 100 km/h in a factory-estimated 3.7 seconds. It’s probably the quickest SUV AMG has ever made, and that’s in no small part thanks to the instant torque provided by the electric motors.

Visually there isn’t much distinguishing the AMG version from the lesser EQE 500 save for the Panamericana-inspired grille, badging and AMG wheels, not that it needed help to stand out. Its distinctive egg like shape has become a visual identifier of the EQE line with a decidedly EV-forward look. The headlights perform a light show on the pavement during start up and the big Mercedes star on the grille glows. Subtlety isn’t a strong point here.

2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

The Mercedes-AMG EQE SUV is an event before you even start driving. Once you settle into the cosseting buckets the massive Hyperscreen becomes your command station. It’s a 55-inch panel of glass that integrates three separate screens together. The graphics are cutting edge, and the screen resolution is pin sharp but because it’s just one big glossy surface distracting reflections are unavoidable. The standard screen might not pack the same wow factor but it’s a more practical choice.

AMG purposely installed a more powerful motor on the rear axle than the front so when accelerating hard out of a corner the back end gives a playful shimmy. In Race mode if you mash the brake and gas at the same time, you enter into “Race start”. The AMG literally squirms and shakes as the power loads up and when you release the brake you’re jettisoned forward with explosive force. There are no gears just brutal uninterrupted acceleration. If you’re looking for a way to scare your friends, the AMG EQE SUV will do the job admirably. It is beast with brutish amounts of thrust and if you liked AMGs for their power then you’ll love this one.

2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

So, it’s blisteringly quick in a straight line and it’s more good news when the roads starts to twist and turn. The steering, while low on feedback, is precise and responsive and the microsuede flat-bottomed wheel feels great in your palms. The EQE SUV weighs about as much as the moon, and you can certainly feel that when moving quickly, but with four-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars it manages that weight really well and doesn’t become a sloppy mess in the corners. It also feels remarkably agile for something so big and heavy, but ultimately AMG’s gas-powered SUVs feel and sound better. There’s a greater sense of occasion when driving something like the GLE 63 S with its 603 hp V8. The EQE initially fails to bring that excitement even in AMG drag.

2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

The brakes are another area where the EQE SUV needs a rethink. The transition from regenerative brakes to friction brakes can be jarring and stopping smoothly is more difficult than it needs to be. Mercedes uses something they call an intelligent brake booster which is said to maximize braking efficiency, but it takes a lot of confidence away from the driver which isn’t exactly a desirable trait for a sporty vehicle like an AMG.

One area where the AMG EQE SUV does well is delivering a luxurious ride. With a two-axle air suspension on duty to soak up even the most broken pavement, the AMG doesn’t make you pay a penalty for its upgraded handling. And that holds true even when in the raciest “Sport Plus” driving mode.

2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

Items like that micro-suede wrapped steering wheel, carbon-fibre trim bits and upgraded seats clearly distinguish the AMG from the EQE 500 inside. Even the way it steers and stays flat in the corners is far sportier that the lesser trims.

Because electric motors are essentially silent, AMG gives you multiple synthesized sound experiences to choose from, selectable via a small dial on the steering wheel. The driving sound is tied to the driving mode, or it can be selected manually. There are even different grades of traction control and safety nanny settings that can be turned down to provide a more engaging experience that allows the driver with enough skill a bit more liberty to let the tail hang out.

2024 Mercedes AMG EQE SUV

The AMG EQE feels noticeably different and sportier than the EQE 500 which is a good thing. It can also deliver breathtaking acceleration at moment’s notice, but that power comes at a price. The AMG EQE is not exactly what you’d call efficient with my average consumption coming it at over 35 kWh/100 km. To be fair it was cold and that tends to sap range, but it means that the 90-kWh battery delivers less than 400 km of range even in ideal conditions. It’s a good thing that it can charge quickly with a rating of up to 170 kW. My experience plugging the AMG into a fast charger consistently yielded charging speeds of over 100 kW, which was more than acceptable.

The AMG EQE SUV is expensive, heavy, and not very efficient but it has massive amounts of power, and it handles well for a large SUV. It also does enough to bring the AMG brand forward into the electric era and while it’s not perfect, it’s a good start.

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