Home / Reviews / First Drive / Mercedes EQE SUV 500 4MATIC Review – Luxury Meets Lifestyle

 

The latest from Mercedes EQ is a car that claims to balance luxury while accommodating an active lifestyle. We experience it in the hills of Gulmarg.

Story: Joshua Varghese
Photography: Apurva Ambep

Until recently, Mercedes-Benz India’s EV line-up was limited to the luxurious EQS and the versatile EQB. Now there is a new entry that slots neatly into the middle. To fully experience the EQE SUV 500 4MATIC, we were taken to the lovely Gulmarg; a beautiful sanctuary nestled within Kashmir. Protected by the mountains and blessed with picturesque views all around, the only thing I enjoyed more than the crisp, clean air was the tranquillity. Seemed apt that we were there to drive a car that was as quiet as it was emission-free.

Like the other cars in the EQ line-up, the EQE’s design leans towards elegance more than aggression, its shapely form suggesting that it would be more at home parting the air around it gently rather than slicing through it. Mercedes claim that the car’s headlights are equipped with ‘Digital Light’ technology which continuously adapts to conditions, offering the best possible visibility in that scenario. Between them, a closed black grille embedded with numerous Mercedes stars sell the brand value of the car convincingly. When viewed from the profile, it is hardly surprising to note that they have opted for a coupé-esque roofline. Aerodynamic efficiency wins over the outright need to be an SUV. Other notable elements here include flush-fitting door handles, washer fluid reservoir — inspired by the EQS — and 20-inch alloy wheels. In comparison, the rear end of the EQE looks and feels rather plain but the tail-lights steal the show with their unique three-dimensional helix design.

Depending on which way you sway for the statement ‘white is the colour of opulence’, the EQE’s interior may be intimidating or inviting. Of course, the discerning Mercedes customer belongs to the latter. From the door trims, dashboard, pillars, seats and even the floor mats, it is an ocean of white in the cabin, interrupted only by a massive piano black element on the dashboard. That’s right, the hyperscreen that was critiqued and admired in equal measure in the EQS makes an appearance in the EQE as well. One screen for the driver, one for the centre console and one more for the front passenger; three OLED units in one flowing element. Along with the ambient lighting, they put on an impressive show. Attention to detail is also a crucial part of luxury and Mercedes have included a fine magnolia wood sliding panel in the centre console. A nice touch, I must say.

‘Sitting’ is not the word that comes to mind when climbing into the cabin of the EQE. High quality materials, seats with ventilation/massage functions and a Burmester sound system with Dolby Atmos advised that ‘cosseting’ would be apt. In spite of setting the seat at the lowest possible height, the driving position in the EQE lived up to SUV standards. The long and wide bonnet stretches out in front but a good sightline makes judgement easy and the overall experience feels like the road-going equivalent of what I imagine an interstellar cruiser must be like. Before the drive, the head of Mercedes-Benz India, Santosh Iyer, made a remark about how we were maintaining the purity of the crisp mountain air by driving around in the electric EQE. That sentiment about clean air extends to the cabin as well because it is equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air filter. Should put that to test in..ahem..more challenging surroundings.

Thanks to a wheelbase that is slightly more than three metres (3,030 mm) long, space is hardly a concern, even in the second row and the boot (1,675 litres). With its own dual-zone climate control, the second row is comfortable to be in but when one moves there from the first row, it feels like a downgrade, as far as luxury is concerned. Simply because it feels scarce when compared to the features offered in the front seats. Meanwhile, the gesture-controlled boot scores another point for convenience.

Only one variant is on offer at the moment and it is powered by two motors, one for each axle. The combined output is rated at 408 hp (300 kW) and 858 Nm. Mercedes claim that it propels the car from 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds and then goes on to a 210-km/h top speed. Not bad at all for a car that weighs more than two-and-a-half tonnes. The 90.56-kWh battery pack is expected to provide a range of 550 km off a single charge. After shooting in Gulmarg, we drove to the airport in Srinagar in the same car, a combined total of about 120 km and the car still had a reasonable 80 per cent charge left.

The driving experience is available in four flavours; Off-road, Comfort, Sport and Individual. In Off-road mode, the air suspension raises the car by 25 mm and offers the useful ‘Transparent Bonnet’ feature. Imaging from the 360-degree cameras are stitched together to show what is under the bonnet exactly. Useful, if the situation demands it because the EQE is not a car that one would be tempted to venture off-road with. The throttle calibration for each mode is so fine that this behemoth can pull away elegantly or take off like a missile, depending on your mood, mode and right foot. There was rarely an instance where the car felt it lacked traction, even around the tight corners of Gulmarg. I am assuming such prowess was due to the ‘Torque Shift’ working seamlessly in the background; the Mercedes tech that optimises the distribution of torque to all wheels according to the levels of traction available.

The air suspension does a fantastic job of ironing out the road surface’s imperfections and allows the car to waft on, especially in Comfort mode. The same character is felt in Sport mode as well but in that setting, the car lowers itself closer to the ground and it feels more composed through the corners. As quick as it is, Comfort mode felt most appropriate for a car as stately as this but given the poor condition of some roads, I was thankful there was an Off-road option. Three levels of regeneration offer an interesting balance of efficiency and a reasonably thrilling drive.

In the safety department, the EQE comes equipped with nine airbags and the latest in terms of sensors and assistance systems. Prospective owners will also be pleased to note that Mercedes are offering a 10-year battery warranty. Servicing is expected to be done once in two years or every 30,000 km.

All of that is offered at Rs 1.39 crore (ex-showroom) which is Rs 30 lakh more expensive than the top-end GLE. Not a bad price point considering just how much more kit is on offer. During our entire shoot in Gulmarg, the EQE never disrupted the tranquillity of the place and neither did it pollute the air. That is the Mercedes-EQ vision; which is also why this features a lot of responsibly recycled material. Opinions on using recycled materials in a luxury car may be divided but nothing beats the fact that the planet always comes first. To summarise, I would say that the EQE drives, rides and feels like a proper Mercedes but it is a car I would like to drive rather than be driven in. Of course, a high ground clearance also allows it the freedom to cater to an active lifestyle.

Watch the full video review here:

Also Read: Mercedes GLC 300 4MATIC First Drive Review

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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