The Mercedes-Benz hot rod division, AMG, has created some incredible cars over the years. Burly V8s are the highlight of the three-pointed star showroom thanks to their ability to make a lot of great-sounding noise and shove you hard back into your seat.
That they’re a little bit lairy adds to the wildness that AMGs have become.
Enter the Mercedes-AMG EQE53.
It’s one of the fastest AMG ever created to 100km/h. It’s also the quietest, because instead of a V8 it runs two electric motors.
Yes, to some that might sound boring. But to those who enjoy their performance cars – and being able to use them – it is arguably the best thing to ever emerge from the Affalterbach tuning house.
The Mercedes-AMG EQE53 is fast…
Pace is one thing AMGs do well. And usually it’s the 63 models (with V8s) and to a lesser extent the 45 models (smaller models with highly-strung four-cylinders) that deliver the most pace.
But the EQE53 is seriously brisk.
It’s the power (and torque) of electric motors doing the talking. Between them they deliver a hefty 460kW and 950Nm. That’s enough to blast to 100km/h in 3.5 seconds.
I never tired of that effortless thrust that ensures you’ll never come second in the traffic-light grand prix.
Sure, the V8s will have more thrust at higher speeds, but the opportunities to surpass 250km/h are non-existent anywhere but a race track.
But the Mercedes-AMG EQE53 is also subtle…
Subtlety is not something AMGs have done well over the years. They’re loud and designed to turn heads.
Not this one.
There’s a futuristic whir when you press the start button.
If you dial up Sport+ there’s more of that fake sound that sounds a tad try-hard.
I ended up programming the Individual mode to have all the go and none of the sound.
It means you can zap around the suburbs attracting very little attention. And have fun doing it.
The performance is immediate
All that performance is ready to go from when you first take off, too.
Unlike a petrol engine that prefers some heat in the system and fluids to be flowing, the EQE53 is ready to rumble from the outset.
There is actually a temperature readout that suggests the motors want some heat as part of a “warm-up” phase, but you feel far more comfortable utilising every kilowatt than you would in a high-performance petrol engine.
Besides, the motor temps came up swiftly.
And the Mercedes-AMG EQE53 can be even faster…
There’s also a Boost function as part of the optional AMG Dynamic Plus package (which adds about $5700 to the price).
While it wasn’t fitted to our car, it ups the peak outputs to 505kW and 1000Nm.
That in turn lowers the 0-100km/h dash to 3.3 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest accelerating Mercedes-Benzes ever.
And whereas the rear-drive models (most are now all-wheel drive) require some finesse to coax them off the line, the EQE53’s AWD system ensures every kilowatt faithfully makes it to the bitumen.
Even on a wet road it’s a stupidly reassuring machine that gets its power to the ground nicely.
The Mercedes-AMG EQE53 is stylish, too
The EQE53 also oozes style inside.
The mass of screens takes some getting used to and are not for the techno-phobic. There’s the occasional control hiding in a menu that could work better with its own physical button.
But the screens are beautifully crisp and clear and display a huge amount of information.
The metal finishes and plastics and other finishes are all nicely done, too, adding to the cabin ambience.
And being based on a bespoke EV architecture means the EQE53 has good leg space inside, particularly for those in the rear.
Only back seat headroom is compromised, but those concerned about that can wait for the soon-to-arrive EQE SUV.
There’s a but…
Yes, there’s always a ‘but’. And in the case of the EQE53 AMG that but revolves around it being not very AMG-ish. Sure, it’s got the pace. But it doesn’t have anything like the AMG tuning and tweaking that goes into most AMGs.
The electric motors aren’t anything special in the Mercedes-Benz world. The battery pack isn’t anything special. And while there’s the distinctive AMG styling tweaks – including a toothy grille – we were somehow left wanting more visual anger.
In some ways it’s indicative of the challenges for electric cars. The core product is so good – there are Teslas, Kias and Hyundais that will match or better some of the performance attributes of AMG’s finest – that finding ways to separate the top shelf ones gets all the trickier.
The other stumbling block is the price. The Mercedes-AMG EQE53 is a whopping $214,900 before your on-road costs. That’s a serious, serious investment.
The bottom line is…
Still, it wouldn’t stop us getting a big grin for popping the EQE53 AMG in the driveway.
Sure, it’s no V8, but’s it’s got enough muscle – and some subtly – to usher in a new era for the AMG sub-brand.