On many levels, the EQE 53 is deeply impressive. Its performance feels every bit as serious as the numbers suggest: it can deliver the sort of forces that relocate internal organs and cause passengers to squeal involuntarily.
Peak power is restricted in less aggressive dynamic modes, to 308bhp in Slippery, 493bhp in Comfort and 555bhp in Sport. The full 617bhp is available only in Sport+, with the overboost to 677bhp coming only when using the Race Start launch function. But across the board, it feels hugely fast.
As with other potent EVs, performance is about response as well as pure power. The EQE 53’s accelerator is better regarded as a fader switch for longitudinal g-force than a conventional throttle, because there’s no gap between adding pressure and feeling the response. If anything, the EQE 53 makes a point of giving you that 617bhp instantly.
Then again, haven’t we seen all of this before? The Porsche Taycan Turbo did it three years ago and the 1020bhp Tesla Model S Plaid has just rendered any other claims of head-scrambling performance moot.
And unlike with traditional AMGs, there’s no V8 engine noise to keep you entertained. The engineers must have felt the EQE needed something, because they seemed proudest of the sound symposer system that plays a generated noise both internally and externally through speakers, the sound altering in volume and pitch according to the car’s speed and the position of the accelerator. It even plays an idlelike throb when the car is stationary.
The sound isn’t trying to replicate an engine but has various futuristic elements instead. I reckon I heard both lightsabers and jet engines at different stages. The problem for me is that it just doesn’t really work. As with other artificial symposers, it feels like a gimmick, obviously fake.