The second battery-electric vehicle that Mercedes-Benz will build at its Alabama facility has been caught undergoing testing in the bitter cold near the Arctic Circle. Built on the EVA architecture developed specifically for EVs, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV will slot under the EQS SUV, the other U.S.-made EV from the German brand. Sized similarly to the GLE-Class, the EQE SUV will have a more aerodynamic design to maximize its driving range.
Based on the photos recently taken by spy photographers, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV will closely resemble the EQS SUV in terms of shape. It’s rounded and has soft lines, which should give it a flowing, streamlined look when the swirly camouflage comes off. The wheels appear to be aerodynamically focused too, meaning they’re functional and will help the crossover slip through the air better. Like the EQS SUV, the tailgate appears to be more vertical, ditching the coupe-like form of similarly-sized EVs like the Audi e-tron Sportback and Jaguar I-Pace.
The front end is still heavily covered so we can’t see much of the crossover’s front fascia. If the EQE and EQS sedans are anything to go by, the EQE SUV will likely have a version of the EQ family look but with different cues. It’ll likely blend the headlight clusters with the enclosed grille, which should also get a unique pattern to distinguish it from the other Mercedes-EQ models. As a whole, you can tell the EQE SUV has a more upright look. Yes, it still has a wedgelike silhouette but it’s more conventional than its internal combustion counterparts, the GLC Coupe and GLE Coupe.
As is the case with the current crop of battery-electric crossovers, the EQE SUV doesn’t appear to have much ground clearance. That’s because the batteries need to be as low as possible to keep the center of gravity down and maximize its wind-cheating capabilities. Mercedes will likely add an air suspension either as standard equipment or as an option to give the EQE SUV some degree of off-road capability.
The EQE SUV will launch initially as the EQE 350, the same model that its sedan counterpart debuted with. However, unlike the low-slung four-door, a dual-motor AWD layout will likely be standard, meaning it could have more than the 288 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque that the RWD EQE 350 sedan makes. A 90-kWh battery should also carry over from the EQE sedan to the EQE SUV along with a peak charging rate of 170 kW on a DC charger and 22 kW on a level AC charger. The EQE SUV’s charging architecture is capable of accepting up to 800 volts and it could eventually get there as it sees more updates throughout its life span. At launch, it will use a 328.5-volt system.
Beyond the standard models, there’s no doubt that the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV will get an AMG variant. Prototypes of high-performance variants of its sedan sibling have already been caught testing at the Nürburgring in Germany, it’s only a matter of time that prototypes of the crossover’s go-fast version start popping up. The EQE SUV will be the final EQ model to debut, completing the nine-model lineup. In the U.S., only five of them will come: the two body styles of the EQS and EQB, and the compact EQB.