Mercedes-Benz EQS is better as an SUV. There, I said it. From the way it drives to the way it looks to simple, little things, the SUV body is peanut butter to the EQS sedan’s jelly. And honestly, I dislike myself just a little bit for suggesting this partnership is superior to the EQS sedan.
And yet, here we are. That the EQS SUV is an able challenger to all the other big luxury EV crossovers on the market – a better alternative than the EQS sedan is to its four-door rivals – makes it an even easier vehicle to recommend. But for all that is good, the EQS SUV struggles in some of the same ways as the sedan. That doesn’t change my opinion that the EQS SUV will be one of the chief competitors at the 2023 Motor1.com Star Awards later this year, though.
The EQS SUV shares much of its styling with the EQS sedan, but the two-box design is more versatile and results in a less polarizing overall aesthetic. Without the jelly-belly shape, though, the EQS SUV also looks more conventional and less interesting. The hood, fascia, and body sides lack any real adornment or flair, and as a result, the EQS SUV blends into the background to a degree that the grille-less face, curvy rear, subtle lighting, and punched-out, five-spoke wheels can’t overcome.
Like its sedan counterpart, though, the EQS SUV wins with its cabin, which blends soft leather, beautiful wood, and a glass-intensive dash to feel modern and luxurious. I’ll go on record as saying I’m not a fan of Mercedes’ Hyperscreen, but there’s little arguing with the statement it makes. I would like to see a bit more adornment, though, which is one area non-Hyperscreen-equipped vehicles shine. Even though the material quality is unquestionably high, the lack of intricate leatherwork or abundant wood trim isn’t befitting of a flagship like this.
– Seating Capacity: 5
– Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
– Cargo Capacity: 23.0 / 74.0 Cubic Feet
The best seats in this particular house are up front, where huge adjustability comes with ample padding – including freaking pillows in the headrests – and rapid heating, ventilation, and massage functions. It’s not an exaggeration to say I’d happily run through the EQS SUV’s entire 285-mile range without a break. Things are good in back too, even though my tester retained a conventional bench rather than cushier captain’s chairs. The flat floor and hefty legroom, along with an approachable hip point, making sliding in and out a cinch.
Ride quality is excellent, thanks to the Airmatic suspension, standard continuously adaptive dampers. My tester wore 21-inch wheels on 45-series tires, although the arrangement had little bearing on how the car got down the road. The Pirelli Scorpion Winter tires create a touch more road noise than the standard equipment, but the EQS SUV is otherwise hushed at any legal speed.
– Center Display: 17.7-inch Touchscreen
– Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
– Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: Yes/Yes
You can check out our past coverage of the EQS sedan, AMG EQS, and EQS SUV for deeper dives into the Hyperscreen/MBUX combo. Suffice to say, it’s an excellent setup with beautiful, clear graphics, bright colors, and excellent response times. My tester added the optional passenger display, although I’m still not really sure what the point is – reaching it from the passenger’s seat is no more arduous than interacting with the main display.
The standard secondary systems all impress. The Burmester 3D audio system is so good and rich that I’m still surprised its standard equipment on all EQS SUVs, and Mercedes continues to kill it on the ambient light game. The Pinnacle trim’s standard massage system prevents sore spots from forming on long drives, while the Air Balance system keeps the cabin smelling fresh. The optional head-up display is the only thing I question – surely this could be standard equipment on a $110,000 vehicle.
Motors: Dual Permanently Excited Magnets
Output: 355 Horsepower / 590 Pound-Feet
Transmission: Single-Speed Automatic
Mercedes sells two versions of the EQS450. A single-motor rear-driver serves as the base of the range and a dual-motor 4Matic model that matches the single-motor’s output, exceeds its 419-pound-foot torque figure, and slashes the run to 60 from 6.5 seconds to 5.8. That’s adequate performance for a large crossover, but there’s no denying that the EQS450 pair are the slowest EVs at this price point. Fortunately, stopwatches don’t chase us around in the real world, and the immediacy of the power delivery means getting the EQS up to speed is a simple affair. I had no issues around town or at highway speeds during a week at the helm.
Handling is unremarkable, but the body moves in a predictable and controllable way. Standard equipment like rear-axle steering give the EQS SUV uncommon agility for a vehicle of this size at lower speeds, but if outright cornering is important, better to consider a BMW iX or Audi SQ8 E-Tron. They’re simply more entertaining to chuck into a bend.
– Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
– NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
– IIHS Rating: Not Rated
The EQS SUV, regardless of motor layout or trim, includes Mercedes’ entire active safety suite standard. There’s no driver assistance pack or some other, annoying $1,700 option group to select. That’d be great if the EQS only had the basics (adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automatic emergency braking), but it includes crosswind assist, active steering assist, and rear automatic braking, among others. And as with most other Mercedes’ products, the various systems dramatically reduce driver strain mostly by working in the background.
– EV Range: 285 Miles
– Battery Size: 108.4-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion
– Efficiency: 79 City / 77 Highway / 78 Combined
– Base Price: $104,400 + $1,050 Destination
– Trim Base Price: $114,340
– As-Tested Price: $129,285
Mercedes offers the EQS SUV in three trims and with three powertrain layouts, with the base single-motor EQS450+ demanding $105,650, including a $1,150 destination charge. Interestingly, Mercedes maintains similar pricing gaps. Regardless of trim, the EQS450 4Matic is $3,000 more expensive than the EQS450+, and the EQS580 is $18,550 dearer than the 4Matic. And on the trim front, every mid-range Exclusive trim (450+, 450, and 580) is $4,250 pricier than the base Premium, while the Pinnacle is $2,000 more than the Exclusive.
The sweet spot in the lineup is not this $114,340 EQS450 4Matic Pinnacle model, though, but the mid-range trim, which carries a price of $112,700. The Pinnacle focuses on the second row, adding the Executive Rear Seat pack, but not much else. Unless you’re routinely chauffeuring executives, the Exclusive is a better deal for a daily driver, and it doesn’t even require digging into the options.
From the Burmester audio to the multi-contour seats, the mid-range Exclusive is a handsomely equipped vehicle. I could see adding $250 for the heated steering wheel and $1,370 for the Nappa leather upholstery. And I dig my test car’s optional 21-inch wheels ($1,100). But there’s no good reason to go wild with the EQS’ option sheet. All that said, it’s quite clear that the EQS is among the most expensive vehicles in the class, and its score here reflects that fact.