Test drive: Mercedes-AMG EQE43 4MATIC+: Could this be our electric automotive future?

AMG is currently working on its own electric platform (AMG.EA) and in the meantime the company uses the Mercedes EVA2 one. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean the EQE43 is soulless. Most of the time, it’s a comfortable and quiet car.

The EQE43 really stands out among its rival electric cars.  We find its compact and saloon-like lines way  more elegant and attractive than any crossover. Could this be the first electric car we eventually like ? Let’s get a closer look first. Unlike the EQS we tested a while ago, this “little” EQE is a 4-door car with a real boot. Wearing an AMG name tag means there are some aesthetically distincitve elements to set it apart from other EQEs. These include the vertical slats on the black grille, the bigger front bumper lending it a bit more character, the rear diffuser or the larger boot lid. The distinctive aero wheels are 20-inch size ones.

 I like it

Unlike Tesla cars, the AMG EQE43 has a welcoming and classy interior. The front seats perfectly hug the body and really enhance the travelling experience. The dashboard fit and finish are up there with the best, even though some parts are a bit too plasticky for our liking. The large screens were lifted from the EQS.  A front passenger screen is available as an extra. It displays a whole lot of car-related data and information while some dedicated apps will give access to favourite series and programmes. This  car is quite comfortable and favours relaxed driving. Which is quite paradoxical in an AMG. However, owners of such cars always enjoy having loads of power under their right foot, just in case they would have to get away quickly from hazardous situations. Let’s think about some drivers who clog both the right and midlle motorway lanes or accelerate/ decelerate constantly, ending up in your way…

Quite clever

Warn your passengers at once when the Sport+ mode is activated ! We forgot to do so before accelerating hard and they got pushed quite violently in the back of their seats. 0-100km/h taks just  4″2… To be honest, we rarely experienced such a rush, even in a car powered by a thermal engine. However, even more surprises were in store. The EQE43 didn’t give us cold sweats in the first bend. Indeed, the central pedal requires some pressure for the brakes to be fully effective. The front discs are massive 415 mm circles, with 6-piston calipers. They won’t fade, even if you use them for hours and hours. If you want even better braking performance, ceramic discs feature on the extras list. You just dive into bends and hairpins in total confidence, knowing the 4 wheel drive chassis and precise steering set up will be assets. The Affalterbach engineers really know what to do and fully deserve a big bonus !

I don’t like it

Although the EQE made by AMG gets the same 90.6 kWh 328 V battery as the Mercedes EQE, driving it in a spirited way will inevitably reduce the 462 to 530 km range. The Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres will wear out even faster too. The on-board AC charger is a 11 kW one but  a 22 kW is available as an extra. Maximum fast DC charging power is 170 kW. At 2.5 tons, the EQE is quite portly and that leaves us quite cold. The rear seat could be better : they feel very hard to sit in and the back is too upright. Mercedes (and other AMGs included) usually have more cosseting back seats.

Why I buy it

Buying this rather convincing electric car will set you back at least 107.690€, unless you are tempted by a few extras… In our view, the AMG43 design is more attractive than the EQE and could eventually have us falling in love with electric cars. It really won us over : its compact size, the top quality fit and finish, the hyper-technological interior and even its road manners are all quite close to what the best good old ICE engined cars can offer now. We could even be tempted to use the whole range of unintrusive and well designed driving aids and make each and every journey in this car as efficient as possible…

Why I don’t buy it

Some will regret the usual backfiring noises usually associated with ICE cars and voice out that the EQE is not worthy of the magical Affalterbach letters and wizardy. However, in this day and age, everything upset everyone, noise pollution is ever less tolerated. Therefore, if these electric AMGs allow us to preserve some of the things that started our automotive enthusiasm, why not? The rear seat is not very welcoming and comfy, plus legroom is at a premium. Most electric cars we have tested so far had a dead brake pedal feel. Unfortunately, the EQE suffers from it too and that spoils the fun of driving it dynamically.

Although the EQE43 quickly makes you forget its massive weight, big-engined car enthusiasts won’t be fooled by the artifical sounds provided. They will be much more impressed by the way it accelerates and how it drives. It can be a real fun car provided you get used to the dead- feeling brake pedal. Sure, it’s expensive to buy but you would enjoy its comfort and its high quality interior on an everyday basis… (Translation: Dimitri Urbain / Pictures: Pierre Fontignies)

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