► AMG goes electric with stunning results
► 617bhp, 701lb ft
► 0-62mph in 3.3 seconds
Three little letters that mean so much. No, not EQE. I’m talking about AMG, Merc’s performance division, which has turned the solid if rather unexciting EQE – and turned it into the most convincing electric Mercedes so far.
The Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 is a lot quicker, totally poised, nicely balanced, and more rewarding to drive overall. Although clearly part of the same family, this is the kid that got all the good Christmas presents: two e-motors instead of one, all- rather than rear-wheel drive, a chassis tuned by some of the best in the business, and it even gets to debut some new Michelin Pilot Sport tyres designed especially for high-performance electric AMG vehicles.
Give us some specs
According to the gaudy and colourful instruments, there are 617bhp and 701lb ft at the disposal of the driver’s right foot. The maximum range indicated when fully charged is more than 320 miles. Sounds intriguing, but of course taking full advantage of the available power makes the driving range shrink at time-warp speed.
Every EQE 53 AMG is fitted with 4Matic all-wheel-drive, the Ride Control chassis with air suspension and adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, five different driving modes and high-performance brakes which can be upgraded to even bigger carbon-ceramic discs which require the larger 21-inch wheels and tyres.
What’s the interior like?
Inside, the optional full-width Hyperscreen entices and confuses with an overwhelming potpourri of digital wizardries, visual feats and modular displays. The interior is brightened by red accents and matte aluminium details.
On the steering wheel, as well as a round driving mode selector there’s a second rotary control which accesses the damper settings and the three sound patterns. You guessed it: there’s a lot of setting up and fine-tuning to be done in the Mercedes-AMG EQE 53.
How does it drive?
Oodles of momentary torque, explosive power delivery, seamless supercar performance and no fanfare but a condensed high-speed swoosh.
When equipped with the AMG Dynamic Plus pack, which briefly boosts the output to 677bhp and 738lb ft, the 2.5-tonner from Affalterbach can in Race Start mode accelerate from 0-62mph in just 3.3sec, at least if the state of charge has not dropped below 70 per cent – that’s Ferrari Roma and Portofino territory.
The two motors do an ace job orchestrating the ever-changing torque split, which only goes full rear-bias when ESP is switched off completely. The rear-wheel steering shortens the virtual wheelbase through tight first and second-gear bends where the EQE feels almost as nimble and chuckable as an A-Class.
The brakes combine stamina, instant response and easy modularity in a reassuring and effortless manner the steel rotors simply cannot match. The EQE 53 rides more smoothly than the C43, and it remains composed through curvy and undulated sections, over toboggan camber variations and on patchwork turf crumbling at the seams.
The steering feels meatier, more direct and more communicative than the EQE 350+. It’s the same variable-rate, variable-effort type, but the AMG calibration has filtered out any lightness and on-lock ambiguity.
Low-speed time-warp overtaking manoeuvres are eerily unreal and highly physical. With ESC off, a tentatively entertaining wriggliness creeps up the tail which can now be coaxed into performing token sidesteps, but on dry public roads that’s about all the drama this safe set-up permits.
What about charge?
Long before the battery is running on empty, the system is moving heaven and earth (along with warning lights, messages and chimes) to steer you to the closest, least expensive and currently unoccupied high-performance charger. Clever, that.
The UK price has not yet been confirmed, but we expect it to start at more than £100k, which is a big leap up from the 350+. Our test car is also fitted with many extras, including the Dynamic Plus pack that brings more power and performance (the figures you see in brackets in the data panel). But even without them, it looks, feels and goes much more convincingly.
More desirable than the overpriced EQS 53 AMG and a much better car than the EQE350+, the new clean-air AMG midliner is Stuttgart´s most convincing EV effort yet. If you´re in the market for a high-end EV, don´t buy before you have driven this one.