When it comes to the calm, cosseting feeling of luxury, it’s hard to imagine any better powertrain than something electric. And, when it comes to electric luxury, Mercedes-Benz is on a roll.
The EQE sedan is an excellent choice for those looking for a small, slightly anonymous, but undeniably posh package. However, it isn’t really suited to those with families, dogs or hobbies that require lots of accessories. They could step up to the EQS sedan, but its trunk isn’t much of an improvement.
The solution is to go taller. And Mercedes’ answer is the EQS SUV, which might just be the sweet spot for tech-forward families who need a little more luxury and a lot of room.
In the EQE sedan review, I made it clear I wasn’t a fan of that car’s styling. I’m equally ambivalent about the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, which very much takes the same cues and stretches them vertically and horizontally.
The result is a bit of a blob that absolutely disappears into any parking lot. That’s a problem made worse by the thoroughly anonymous palette of nine colors on offer, more than half of which are various shades of black and gray.
At night, all the puddle and fanfare lighting plus the swelling sounds of the future emanating from beneath the car make for quite a showcase as you approach. But, during the day, the EQS SUV is simply an extremely forgettable affair.
What the EQS SUV lacks in exterior personality it more than makes up for on the inside. The car I tested came configured with the sweeping Hyperscreen, which replaces virtually the entire dashboard with three OLED displays tidily integrated beneath a single pane of glass.
The effect is visually stunning, as are the flowing sections of gray Alcantara bordered by strips of dynamic lighting on the AMG Line interior. The subtle Burmester branding on the silver speaker grilles signifies that you’re in for an aural delight.
There are acres of headroom up front and, unlike the sedan, plenty out back as well. Legroom is likewise in abundance, even in the heated rear seats, both of which fold up or down at the touch of a button.
No rear-seat infotainment here to speak of, but most folks bring their own these days anyway.
If you have a lot of cargo to haul, up to 31 cubic feet of stuff can fit behind the rear seats. Or, fold those seats down and capacity balloons to 71 cubic feet. Need to haul more people than stuff? For $1,250, the EQS SUV can be outfitted with a third row of seats, but only tick that box if your way-back passengers are of the small and nimble sort.
Tech and safety
When it comes to the EQS SUV’s tech, far and away the star of the tech show is the Hyperscreen. On the left is the 12.3-inch gauge cluster, completely reconfigurable with a whopping six visual styles on offer. That’s managed via two rows of touch-sensitive thumb controls on the steering wheel. They’re surprisingly easy to use without looking down.
In the middle of the dash is a 17.7-inch infotainment screen, through which Mercedes-Benz’s comprehensive MBUX infotainment screen is accessed. MBUX can be a little overwhelming when you dig into the menus, but it does a great job of presenting what you need when you need it. It’s also reasonably responsive and, with both wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on tap, you can easily bring your own media to the party.
On the far right is another display, 12.3 inches here, for the passenger. Through that they can pair their own phone should they want to serve up their own media, change the climate settings in the car and even set navigation.
It all feels a bit redundant given they can do all that and more on the main display. Stunning as Hyperscreen is, I’d stick with the standard 12.8-inch display myself. But, if you find yourself swatting at the hands of your passenger frequently as you try to change this or that, perhaps Hyperscreen is a good investment.
On the safety front, the EQS SUV has a wealth of driver assistance systems standard, including comprehensive adaptive cruise plus automatic lane-changing (indicate the change with the turn signal and the car takes care of the rest) and about the best active headlights in the business. Benz’s Digital Light Intelligent Lighting System not only has auto high-beams but can paint warnings on the road if you’re wandering out of the lane. It also puts on the aforementioned light show when you’re approaching the car at night.
There’s even a fingerprint sensor in the center console you can use to lock your profile settings, perfect for keeping your significant other from messing with your perfect seat configuration.
Driving dynamics and range
The EQS sedan offers something of a relaxed drive, and the SUV flavor just takes that another step softer. Body roll is unsurprisingly magnified and the overall response to steering inputs is on the slow side. Surely a lot of that can be blamed on the extra weight here — about 400 pounds greater than a comparable EQS sedan.
But, any handling detriments here versus the sedan are more than made up for by this one’s additional ground-clearance, off-road performance and cargo space.
With between 355 and 536 horsepower on tap, even the base, rear-drive EQS 450+ SUV feels quick and fun when scooting from intersection to intersection. I only wish the EQS had a proper, one-pedal driving mode. The high-regen is great, but not quite enough to bring you cleanly to a stop at an intersection.
All flavors of the EQS SUV use the same 108.4 kWh battery pack, so as the power and number of motors increase the range necessarily goes down. Maximum range comes from the rear-drive 450+ version, which is EPA-rated for 305 miles. Both the 450 4MATIC or 580 4MATIC are rated for 285 miles, which feels like a minor loss in exchange for the extra winter capability that all-wheel-drive affords.
You are giving up a fair bit compared to the smaller, slipperier EQS sedan, though, which tops out at 350 miles.
A premium choice
The base, rear-drive Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV starts at $104,400, stepping up to $107,400 for the EQS 450 4MATIC and $125,950 for the 536-horsepower EQS 480 4MATIC SUV. Interestingly, those prices are exactly the same for the sedan so, while you will give up some range and performance, you at least won’t have to pay more for extra room.
That said, none of those prices can be considered a bargain. If you can get away with the smaller, slower, but still quite posh EQE SUV you can save upwards of $25,000. Or, if you really feel the need for tweed, the upcoming Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV will raise the luxury stakes to another level with bespoke wood paneling, ultra-plush seating and 649 horsepower from the AMG-derived powertrain. These haven’t started shipping yet but will probably cost somewhere around $200,000 when they do.
So, it’s up to you how much luxury and volume you need, and how much your budget can manage, but if it fits your budget and your life, the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is a stellar machine. You’ll look forward to climbing into that driver’s seat every time and wafting your way toward even the most tedious of chores.