LOS ANGELES – The difficult query for legacy automakers creating their new electrical car fleet is how a lot their EV model ought to really feel just like the internal-combustion counterpart. That’s very true with Mercedes-Benz, which is creating its BEV and ICE automobiles in parallel, with launch dates usually inside a 12 months of each other. Ought to the EV really feel the identical solely totally different, or like some whirring futuristic spacecraft?
Within the case of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQE – the electrical equal of an E-Class sedan, however sharing its structure with the EQS and never the E-Class – the EV nonetheless drives and feels primarily like a silent E-Class. And in keeping with Mercedes product growth engineers, that was intentional.
On a 45-minute experience in a pilot-production EQE 350 rear-drive sedan alongside Pacific Coast Freeway from Santa Monica towards Malibu, the hushed, assured propulsion of the 250 kilowatt (roughly 350 hp) electrical motor felt as assured as one would anticipate from a sporty interpretation of a enterprise limousine. With roughly 417 pound-feet of torque, the EQE 350 RWD delivers a Zero-60 dash of 5.7 seconds. That’s mainly a full second slower than an E 450 4Matic, however nonetheless needs to be a lot fast for many American midsize luxurious sedan patrons. It’s additionally Zero.2 second faster than the bottom EQS 450+.
The default working setting for the powertrain is a blissful quietude. There isn’t a accompanying “whirr” that folk have come to anticipate from electrical automobiles. The loudest aural intrusion at 45 mph is a touch of tire rumble.
“We needed no whining noise, no nothing,” stated Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz chief know-how officer. “A lot of EVs sound like a tram. We would like ours to be absolute silence.”
In brief, the EQE feels stable, a return to the bank-vault cocoon of nice Benzes of the previous. The pre-production mannequin made just one chassis groan throughout the complete drive – whereas taking an undulating nook – however in any other case felt like an ingot. Elon, take be aware: That is what a luxurious EV ought to really feel like.
After all, there are people who want some sturm to accompany their drang. For them, the EQE affords three faux-noise “sound experiences” to accompany how the automobile is being pushed – together with the acquainted whirring in addition to one thing akin to an digital Godzilla at full roar.
What’s going to impress range-conscious patrons is the space the EQE can cowl between prices. Though the EPA has but to check it, the EQE 350 has a WLTP vary of 409 miles (660 km). Observe that the WLTP numbers are sometimes extra optimistic than EPA or real-world outcomes. Nonetheless, that’s according to the Tesla Mannequin S, which the EQE ought to undercut on value. (The EQE goes on sale in Europe in April, and the U.S. in late 2022. Pricing has not been introduced.)
However what actually will impress most folk is the obtainable Hyperscreen infotainment system. Initially positioned within the EQS flagship, this pillar-to-pillar sweep of digital 3D glass appeared like a imaginative and prescient just for the 1 p.c. However these within the Mercedes mid-range will get to take pleasure in it as nicely. The entrance passenger may even watch video whereas the car is in movement; the automobile’s driver monitor will see if the driving force is catching a peek and shut off the video till they return their consideration to the highway. The screens themselves are virtually painfully crisp of their element.
The upgraded infotainment system additionally incorporates route planning round recharging stops; the augmented-reality map contains charging areas, their in-the-moment availability and charging energy, and whether or not the electrical energy for the charger comes from a “inexperienced” supply. The map operate is at all times “on” as the first heart display; different infotainment choices then seem as overlaid tiles. It’s very “Minority Report.”
As our experience was performed within the waning of rush hour, there was little alternative for dynamic driving aside from the occasional stab of the accelerator pedal. Additionally, our mannequin got here with an elective air suspension and rear-axle steering, so the EQE delivered a lovingly floaty experience in Consolation mode, however felt tamped down and nimble when shifted to Sport mode. (Base fashions get a metal suspension.) This is able to be consistent with our expertise within the EQS sedan.
The rear-steering additionally permits the EQE to have a turning circle on par with the compact C-Class. Our driver – Holger Enzmann, Mercedes’ venture supervisor for the EVA platform – whipped a U-turn on a two-lane residential road with ease.
If it’s a enterprise limousine, how about inside house? Mercedes claims there may be practically three inches extra rear legroom than within the present E-Class. Whereas which may be true longitudinally, the battery pack does intrude into the floorspace – a rear-seat occupant’s hips are tilted upward extra acutely within the EQE than within the E-Class, and a cutout into the front-seat footwell barely positive factors entrance for males’s gown footwear (Girl Gaga should kick off her platform stilettos). Second-row headroom is first rate for a6-footer, because of the roof-glass cutout that creates house within the coupe-like roofline paying homage to the first-generation CLS.
However in contrast to the CLS, for which Mercedes designers penned a prolonged hood to boast its luxury-performance credentials, the EQE cabin is extra balanced over its entrance and rear wheels. With no engine to take care of, the dash-to-axle ratio is shortened. Does it negate the visible notion of premiumness? Not likely. The EQE’s curb enchantment is defiantly Mercedes.
So, must you purchase an EQE as an alternative of an E-Class? The within of the EQE definitely feels progressive and ultramodern, as does its silent propulsion. Because of this, whereas it could carry the Mercedes DNA of the E-Class in its veins, the EQE seems like the longer term.