The current focus on electric vehicles (EV) has brought out the term ‘legacy carmakers’. These are the car manufacturers everyone is familiar with like Toyota, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, etc.
Now, the word ‘legacy’ carries with it a connotation of being superseded – outdated, if you will. But the car industry is a traditional one, and brand perception plays a significant role amongst car buyers.
EV-only makers namely Tesla (often called disruptors), may have been a catalyst in the electrification pathway the industry is in right now, but unlike the so-called legacy carmakers, they have had to figure out how to properly mass produce a car.
Early adopters faced a raft of quality issues, some of which can still be seen recently.
Also read: Tesla denies defect after Model Y's steering wheel fell off but replaces entire car out of goodwill
Carmakers like Mercedes-Benz have been in the business for a significantly longer time, accumulating their wealth of knowledge and experience in the process of manufacturing cars. They know what works and what doesn’t.
Plus, it’s not like Mercedes-Benz is against the idea of EVs, they’re going all in for the transition to all electric. As it stands, Mercedes-Benz has the widest portfolio of electric vehicles in Malaysia, from the EQA to the EQS, with more to come this year. The sweet spot of the range is arguably the Mercedes-Benz EQE.
Also read: Mercedes-Benz plans to launch 20 new models in Malaysia in 2023, new EQ and AMG models
What makes the Mercedes-Benz EQE special?
The Mercedes-Benz EQE is built on the dedicated Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) platform, freeing it from the typical limitations and design restrictions of a combustion-engine platform.
Mercedes-Benz refers to this as a "cab-forward fastback design with one-bow lines." The car's body is characterized by fluid lines that seamlessly flow into one another, with few creases present, resulting in a sleek and uninterrupted design.
Also read: Mercedes-Benz EQE 350+ launched in Malaysia, RM 419k, 292 PS/565 Nm, RWD
This design also leads to a slippery exterior – crucial when it comes to EVs in maximising range. Mercedes-Benz claims a WLTP-rated range of up to 669 km, which is one of the longest EV ranges in Malaysia.
Then we have the interior. Mercedes-Benz has adeptly found a middle ground between the conventional and the futuristic.
Also read: Report: Future Mercedes-Benz EVs will not be called EQ anymore
There are still physical controls that are located where one would expect them to be in a Mercedes-Benz, providing a natural driving experience, but the car's large screens and button-free interior provide a glimpse of what the future may hold.
It may not have the Hyperscreen like the EQS but truth be told, the three-screen setup may appear lackluster in daylight.
And because the instrument cluster is located on the same panel, it is angled upwards, which may be less than ideal for some drivers.
In contrast, the EQE has a split-screen setup with a properly angled instrument cluster and a portrait infotainment display. This eliminates any such concerns and offers a more conventional yet effective design.
The design itself is stunning, with lines that flow like the exterior, free of clutter. Come dusk, the active ambient lighting creates a uniquely pleasant ambiance that is hard to replicate outside of the brand.
Speaking of outside the brand, the EQE is somewhat in a class of its own being a sedan EV. The closest rival in Malaysia in terms of form factor is perhaps the Porsche Taycan and BMW i4, but those are more akin to a four-coupe coupe that emphasizes on sportiness.
Until either the Tesla Model 3 or Model S arrives here, the EQE is a convincing option for those who still prefer a sedan as they are entering the world of EVs.
Also read: Mercedes-Benz says battery EVs still superior, not interested in e-fuels
Why choose a sedan?
All things being equal, sedans tend to offer a more comfortable ride than SUVs due to basic physics. SUVs have a higher centre of gravity, which means that both the driver and passengers are positioned further from the pivot point of the car. This results in amplified lateral movements, which can be felt more acutely in an SUV.
For example, when going over a large dip on one side of the road that causes diagonal body movements, the higher seating position of an SUV can cause the driver and passengers to experience more lateral forces in the cabin compared to a sedan. Essentially, passengers will experience more movement and body roll in corners when riding in an SUV.
Being a lower riding sedan, the EQE rides flatter than the BMW iX that has to deal with amplified lateral movements. And while the EQE may not be equipped with air suspension, its passive setup is superbly judged, offering excellent ride quality.
Why should I choose the Mercedes-Benz EQE?
The Mercedes-Benz EQE is every sense a ‘baby EQS’ in that it incorporates some of the best features from its flagship sibling, including refinement, interior design, and comfort level.
While it offers these qualities at about 80% of the EQS's capability, the EQE is available at a much lower price point (RM 419,888 compared to RM 648,888). It’s currently the Goldilocks of EVs in Malaysia.
It came from a fairy tale in which a girl named Goldilocks prefers the bowl of porridge that is ‘just the right temperature’. So The Goldilocks principle suggests that individuals tend to seek out something that is perfectly balanced, or ‘just right’, in terms of various factors.
To this writer, the Mercedes-Benz EQE has just the right balance of luxury, comfort, and features for its price point. The company may be called a legacy carmaker, but it'll take more than a disruptor to supercede them.
Also read: Review: Mercedes-Benz EQE 350+ EV - When an iX is too in-your-face