Must silent EVs be silent? Perhaps, they may pretend to be one of the gas-powered crowd. With the seismic transition towards electric propulsion, this is the central question facing designers. Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan is an S-class-level electric vehicle on a specialised platform with a style that pushes the edge after witnessing Tesla sprint ahead as the tech-forward luxury offering. The subsequent car, a midsize EQE, followed suit. Both the EQS SUV and the EQE SUV take on more conventional SUV body styles. The EQE SUV targets the sweet spot of the market, making greater efforts to appeal to the large groups of consumers that will likely start shopping in this area in the near future.

The SUV version of the EQE does not have the same taffy-stretched appearance as the cars, but it is shorter (by 4.4 inches) and more rounded than the GLE, which uses a more traditional powertrain. The EQE SUV is shorter by 2.4 inches in length and nearly as wide as the previous model. The EQE SUV has a very low drag coefficient of 0.25 because to its egglike shape and smooth undercarriage. But, it doesn’t look any stranger than the BMW iX, another alternative to the neo-SUV trend. Audi’s conventionally styled e-tron, or Cadillac’s edgy yet approachable Lyriq, could be more appealing to true aesthetes.

Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV

The EQE SUV has the benefit of being Mercedes-fourth Benz’s model to utilise the company’s specialised electric vehicle platform. There are two new features that are exclusive to the EQE SUV. Mercedes claims that their all-wheel-drive vehicles’ range is increased by 6 percent when the front motor is off (except in Sport mode). The heat pump in the HVAC system also contributes to the vehicle’s eco-friendliness. (These improvements are supposedly on their way to the other EQ models.)

There is much in common with the EQE sedan on the inside. All of the front seats are set up the same way, and the same luxurious accents can be found on the various top trims. Unlike in EVs like the iX and the Genesis GV60, which make the most of an EV’s flat floor by providing open space at the front of the console, the EQE’s dash dips down at the centre to meet the tallish centre console, creating a less airy and open interior. The Mercedes, on the other hand, offers a sizable storage area under the freestanding centre console, as well as a covered compartment up top that can accommodate a smartphone and two cups.

While some of the EQE SUVs we tested featured a conventional centre display and an analogue gauge cluster, others were outfitted with the company’s all-encompassing Hyperscreen (which won’t be available on U.S. versions until 2019). The Hyperscreen not only adds visual flair, but also a display for the front passenger that provides redundant controls for much of the infotainment, as well as the capability to stream movies or games, or simply display a picture of your dog. There is a digital gauge cluster and a massive touchscreen in the centre, regardless of whether or not the Hyperscreen is installed. The former offers flexible display possibilities, while the latter makes it simple to access frequently used features. For example, the display will keep minor submenus for music, phone, and major climate controls open while you use navigation. The touch slider for the music volume and the tiny four-way touchpads on the steering wheel are the biggest offenders, but we still lament the lack of any non-touch switchgear. This is one of modern life’s tribulations.

The rear seats are roomy despite the car having a wheelbase that is 3.5 inches shorter than that of the EQE sedan. There is sufficient space for occupants’ legs and knees, and the floor is flat enough so sitting in the middle is comfortable. But, unlike the GLE, which has 33 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, the EQE only has 14. With all seats collapsed, there is 55 cubic feet of space. The GLE has a third row of seating as an option, but the EQE SUV only has enough for five people.

The EQE SUV’s inside is attractive, although we wish it had a larger window. The bulky A-pillars protrude forward into the driver’s line of sight, and the windscreen is narrow due to the brow above the dashboard. We had to adjust the driver’s seat to get a good look around, but it’s still hard to tell where the car ends and the walls begin.

The SUV is driven by the same engines as the EQE sedan, albeit with higher torque. The 350+ has a single motor and rear-wheel drive, while the 350 4Matic and 500 4Matic have two motors and all-wheel drive, respectively. Both 350s only make 288 hp, which is much less power than comparable electric mid-size vehicles from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, or Genesis. Both the single-motor and the two-motor powertrains put out decent amounts of torque; 417 and 564 pound-feet, respectively. The high-performance EQE500 generates 402 horsepower and 633 pound-feet of torque, bringing it within striking distance of the BMW iX xDrive50 (516 horsepower, 564 pound-feet). The 610-horsepower iX M60 should be no match for the impending AMG version of the EQE.