The most-famous nomenclatures will not be retired - any time soon.
Mercedes-Benz has registered some interesting new model derivatives with the European patent office.
The German company is unreserved in its pursuit of electrifying its product portfolio, allowing the world’s oldest automotive brand to compete with the 21st-century upstart, Tesla.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that its forthcoming Tesla rival will be a large luxury sedan, called the EQE. In a global market where sedans are being rapidly displaced by SUV and crossovers, this might appear an odd strategy, but it is one which has served Tesla well with its S and Model 3.
Few car companies can match Mercedes-Benz’s experience in the design and engineering of large luxury sedans and with EQE, it wishes to secure a battery-powered future for its customers.
The EQE is expected to be similar in size to an E-Class yet equipped with superior technology and interior space. But what of the performance versions?
Mercedes-Benz has certainly shown its intent with EQE, having now filed registration papers for 43, 53 and 63 variants on the model range. As any follower of AMG will recognise, those three nomenclatures fit very much within the current offering of Mercedes-Benz’s six- and eight-cylinder high-performance vehicles.
It is clear that even without the presence of a turbocharged in-line six or V8 engine on-board, Mercedes-Benz is keen to retain an association with the AMG brand’s internal combustion lineage. These future EQE 43, 53 and 63 derivatives might only be powered by a combination of batteries and electric motors, but they will carry badges with a proud petrol heritage.
The implications of these new EQE 43, 53 and 63 names being registered, are potentially significant. It will be very challenging for Mercedes-Benz to market both turbocharged E53/63 cars and its EQE 43, 53 and 63 variants.
In terms of performance, the EQE cars will in all likelihood be faster. This means that Mercedes-Benz might be forced to make a difficult decision and discontinue (or rebadge) its E-Class AMG internal-combustion models, as we know them, in future.
The business case for a next-generation E53 or E63, with a turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, will be interesting. Especially if there are EQE 53 and 63s to rival it, with better acceleration and more interior room.