- Doors and Seats
- Engine Power
- Ancap Safety
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE53 embraces a new era of electrified performance cars. However, has it gone too far, too early?
- Stellar infotainment functionality and presentation
- Ride comfort without peer
- Hides its hefty weight convincingly
- Lacks that raucous AMG nature
- Enclosed cabin ambience
- Electrified sound is a love-or-hate affair
Mercedes-AMG models have always been famous for their loud and brash characteristics. Think about some of the iconic engines we’ve seen since the brand’s inception: V12s, V8s, and inline six-cylinders… These power plants were the heart and soul of AMG products.
But, what would happen to the AMG brand if there were no engine at all? Enter the 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE53 – the performance car brand’s second-ever electric product.
Is an AMG’s character intrinsically tied to the powertrain under the skin? Mercedes certainly hopes not.
The EQE model is a new large-sized passenger electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, equivalent in size and status to the E-Class. The AMG EQE53 version is the performance version of that car. It looks set to compete against rivals such as the Porsche Taycan, Audi E-Tron GT, and BMW i4.
In order to compete with these, let’s talk numbers, because they are big. The EQE53 gets a pair of electric motors powered by a 90.6kWh battery pack, good for outputs of 460kW and 950Nm. But that’s not all… This output increases to 505kW and 1000Nm when using launch-control mode, available as part of the AMG Dynamic Plus package.
This amount of power will rocket you from zero to 100km/h in 3.3 seconds, onwards to a top speed of 240km/h.
That’s blisteringly fast, especially when you consider the literal elephant in the room – the EQE53 is over 400kg heavier than an AMG E63S with a conventional turbocharged V8.
Obviously that’s not an insignificant amount of weight, but it makes sense with respect to the gigantic battery that lies under the floor. The 90kWh unit contains enough juice to get you roughly 444–518km according to WLTP testing, about on par with a Porsche Taycan with a Performance battery.
Mercedes says the EQE53 is capable of 170kW DC charging, where 15 minutes on charge can result in an extra 180km of range. It’ll recuperate its own lost energy thanks to a 260kW regenerative braking system that is controlled by paddles on the steering wheel.
The EQE53 is distinguished on the outside by a 2D rendition of the AMG Panamericana grille, revised lower splitter, tweaked rear diffuser, and a subtle spoiler up the back. It also gets a set of “aerodynamically optimised” 21-inch wheels, with optional carbon-ceramic brakes underneath.
Inside, upgrades for the AMG model include unique displays for the full-width, tri-screen MBUX Hyperscreen dashboard – including an optional AMG Track Pace app for recording lap times – plus unique AMG sports seats with artificial leather and microfibre upholstery as standard (or nappa leather as an option).
There’s also an AMG Performance steering wheel with rotary drive-mode selectors, alloy sports pedals, AMG floor mats, illuminated branded door sills, and available carbon-fibre inlays.
It all makes the electric-powered sports experience feel special, though the experience is arguably dominated by the gargantuan OLED Hyperscreen. It’s almost not even worth mentioning the diameter, instead referring to the screen as spanning from A-pillar to A-pillar, though the display comprises two 12.3-inch displays in front of driver and passenger, and a central 17.7-inch display for main infotainment.
To use, it’s as user-friendly and feature-packed as we’ve come to expect from Mercedes’s MBUX system, without overwhelming driver or passenger. Maps are presented in beautiful colour schemes with crisp graphics, while sifting through menu systems is simple thanks to shortcuts and a logical content layout. Infotainment features can also be controlled using touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel, or you can even dictate a task to the car using the “Hey Mercedes” feature.
|2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE53|
|Boot volume||430L seats up|
Together with the ambient lighting strewn throughout the cabin, the dash interface looks incredible and is hugely configurable.
Though they don’t look overly hardcore or especially intricate, the AMG sports seats contain a great amount of bolster support to keep your insides, well, inside, and there’s an armchair-like quality to sink into on longer drives.
Passengers up front are treated to a comfortable amount of legroom and head space, though the ambiance is somewhat dark thanks to that shrouded rear end and lack of sunroof. You can see how little light there is in photos.
Back seat passengers suffer the same darkened fate, though there is a good amount of room for taller people. The seats are a scalloped shape you sit ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ and there is good accommodation for knees.
One area impacted by the tapered roof line is outward vision. Vision behind is through a letterboxed rear window, which isn’t the easiest to view out of, and the C-pillar is larger than you’d like for such a big car. Considering the tapered roof line that traditionally blends into a hatch rear end, it was an odd choice for Benz to go with a traditional boot rather than a hatch. The small aperture isn’t the easiest to slot luggage through – the 430L capacity trails its petrol-powered counterpart, and its BMW i4 and Tesla Model S rivals.
With the temperamental weather of eastern France rivalling Melbourne’s own, we set off in the downpour rain to put the EQE53’s driving experience in practice.
Approaching something with 460kW/950Nm outputs is worrisome at the best of times, but on wet unfamiliar roads, behind the wheel of a left-hand-drive car, it had me genuinely concerned.
However, I wasn’t to know how well the EQE53’s sophisticated powertrain technology would handle the sub-par conditions. It puts down those explosive outputs with mesmerising effectiveness.
Even for something tipping 2525kg (kerb weight) on the scales, the way it hides its heft when rocketing from zero to 100km/h is seriously impressive. There’s no discernible slippage in the wet, and the traction-control system is lightning quick to react in order to keep the car in shape.
We all know how quickly electric cars can accelerate, so I won’t waste time trying to explain the sensation – but it’s breathtaking. It mightn’t be as quick on paper as its Porsche Taycan Turbo and Tesla Model S Long Range rivals, but no-one will be left wanting more from the EQE53.
Now that weight is felt when trying to arrest its forward momentum, or when you send it through a corner, but it fares better than you’d expect. There is no sense in chucking this car around like a sports car, and you do have to be measured in mid-corner weight management, but body roll is kept in good stead considering the car’s weight.
Plant the pedal on the other side of the corner and the EQE powers out like a greyhound out of the gates, putting down all available power without any obvious slip or traction management.
Our tester featured optional carbon-ceramic brakes that bite down reassuringly and have a nice pedal feel. There is little concern paid to whether the car would pull up or not, with the driver able to jump on the anchors time after time without worrying about fade.
|At a glance||2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE53|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||Not yet available|
|Servicing costs||Not yet available|
|Energy cons. (claimed)||23.2kWh/100km|
|Energy cons. (on test)||40.7kWh/100km|
There are multiple modes of steering weight that are tied to the five driving modes, or you can choose your own feel in the Individual setting. A turn of the steering wheel doesn’t send through much in the way of feedback, though it does result in a quick and decisive change of direction.
In terms of aural character to accompany these impressive dynamics, there are three modes of powertrain noise to choose from. Follow this link to hear for yourself, because it’s a divisive topic, but I was pleased by the sound AMG engineered to match the dynamics.
Sound is such an ingrained, emotive part of the driving experience, it’s hard to know what to do in the absence of an engine. But I quietly enjoyed Mercedes’s solution – it doesn’t sound overly cheesy or forced, and even if you don’t like it, you can simply leave the noise off and go without.
Despite AMG’s claim the EQE53 will return a 23.2kWh/100km combined energy consumption, we couldn’t get the car to go below 40.7kWh/100km on test. That’s a far cry from Mercedes’s claim.
One of the most striking areas of the EQE53 experience is its sublime ride quality. While it can firm up in a dynamic setting and dispatch a set of corners at the flick of a switch, the suspension equally settles down to become one of the most serene ride experiences this side of an S-Class.
It is beautifully compliant over bumps and road cracks in town, able to iron over road imperfections on rural roads, and shields passengers from all but the harshest potholes.
Road noise is similarly well managed to ensure its grand-touring abilities – not the easiest feat in electric cars that don’t have combustion engines to drown out extraneous noise.
|Key details||2023 Mercedes-AMG EQE53|
|Engine||Dual permanently excited synchronous electric motors|
505kW (overboost with AMG Dynamic Plus Package)
1000Nm (overboost with AMG Dynamic Plus Package)
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Power to weight ratio||182.2kW/t|
The overarching experience in town is one of smooth driving, whether it’s the power delivery or ride control. Very impressive for a car that is capable of tearing up a back road among the best of its electric type.
But as for whether it’s still the age-old AMG character we’ve come to love – it’s not. This is the next generation of AMG products, which unashamedly focus on cutting-edge engineering and technology.
Some will miss the imperfect lairiness of AMGs past, but there are so many new aspects to love in the EQE53. Whether it’s the wowing in-cabin infotainment tech, supreme around-town smooth driving experience, or the way it hides its weight dynamically, this new era of Mercedes-AMG shows promise.
Interior Comfort & Packaging
Infotainment & Connectivity
Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned that journalists got the better end of the deal. He began with CarAdvice in 2014, left in 2017 to join Bauer Media titles including Wheels and WhichCar and subsequently returned to CarAdvice in early 2021 during its transition to Drive. As part of the Drive content team, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories. He understands that every car buyer is unique and has varying requirements when it comes to buying a new car, but equally, there’s also a loyal subset of Drive audience that loves entertaining enthusiast content. Tom holds a deep respect for all things automotive no matter the model, priding himself on noticing the subtle things that make each car tick. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t learn something new in an everchanging industry, which is then imparted to the Drive reader base.