mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
Mercedes' new luxury hero goes electric.
mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The EQS SUV looks similar to the EQS sedan. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The brand’s ‘bumper bench’ is replaced by a tailgate that blends smoothly into the rear bumper. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Mercedes calls its EQ style ‘seamless design theme’. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The EQS has a smoother, more flowing appearance compared to the GLS. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The cabin looks and feels just like the sedan. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The front seats are generous in size. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The ‘MBUX Hyperscreen’ is expected to be an option extra in Australia. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Inside is finished in high-quality materials. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The second row has good space. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The rear seat width is generous for two. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Boot space is rated at 565 litres. (450 + variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Fold the rear seats down and cargo capacity grows to 2100 litres. (450+ variant pictured)

Likes

Unique looks Plush cabin Powerful drivetrain

Dislikes

Design is conversative in areas Third row is tight for adults Charging system could be quicker

Mercedes-Benz invented the automobile but now the German brand is having to re-invent itself and the way it has done business for the better part of 100 years. And no model represents that more than the all-new EQS SUV.

For decades the S-Class sedan has been the undisputed flagship of the brand’s line-up – a limousine powered by big capacity petrol engines. But in 2022 luxury buyers want something different, they want electric motors and SUVs, which is why the EQS SUV is both of those things.

As the name suggests, it’s based on the already launched EQS sedan and utilises the same new electric vehicle underpinnings that Mercedes has developed for a raft of incoming electric cars. This now sits alongside the internal combustion-powered GLS-Class as the brand’s flagship luxury SUVs, as high-riding alternatives to the S-Class and EQS sedans.

We drove the new EQS SUV at the international launch for the new model in Denver, Colorado in the USA, ahead of its arrival in Australia in the third quarter of 2023, to see how it lives up to Mercedes’ reputation.

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

With the EQS SUV not due in local showrooms for 12 months Mercedes-Benz Australia is keeping pricing and final specifications under wraps for now. However, the company has confirmed the models we’ll be getting – the 450 4Matic and 500 4Matic are definite, with the 580 4Matic a possibility and the yet-to-be-revealed Maybach version also a likely option.

The 500 4Matic wasn’t available in the US, so we’ll focus on the 450 4Matic and 580 4Matic for this review.

Pricing is expected to be similar to the EQS sedan range, which means the 450 4Matic will likely start around $250,000 with the 500 4Matic likely around $350,000 and (if it makes it) the 580 4Matic could cost as much as $450,000. But those are only an estimated guide, so stay tuned for more details as they are revealed.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
The EQS SUV isn’t due in local showrooms for 12 months. (450+ and 580 4Matic variants pictured)

In terms of specifications Mercedes is likely to load the EQS up with plenty of luxury goodies, befitting its place at the pinnacle of the range. The models we drove in the US were fitted with soft leather trim, large alloy wheels and loads of safety features.

Mercedes-Benz Australia has confirmed a key detail, all local EQS SUVs will be seven-seaters, despite there being a five-seat option available. This will create another point of differentiation between the SUV and sedan.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
The 450 will have a 12.8-inch portrait-style screen. (450+ variant pictured)

Another thing we know with reasonable certainty about the Australian range, is the 450 4Matic won’t come equipped with the showpiece ‘MBUX Hyperscreen’ as standard. Instead, the huge digital panel, that stretches across most of the dashboard and includes multiple touchscreens, will be available as an option (likely around $7000) for those who want the full ‘wow factor’ inside.

Instead the 450 will have the 12.8-inch portrait-style screen in the centre of the dash, alongside the digital instrument cluster, so even without it the EQS SUV still looks suitably modern and tech-laden.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

There’s a lot to say about the design because even though the EQS SUV and GLS-Class fill the same basic role – luxury Mercedes SUV flagship – about the only design similarity is they wear the three-pointed star badge.

But even then the EQS SUV has the option of an illuminated three-pointed star on its front, because it doesn’t feature a conventional grille but instead a large black panel that really makes the star pop visually.

Mercedes calls its EQ style ‘seamless design theme’ but the reality is, aerodynamics influence electric vehicles so much the brand’s designers needed to opt for a smoother, more flowing appearance for the EQS SUV over the bolder, more angular GLS.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The EQS SUV looks similar to the EQS sedan. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The brand’s ‘bumper bench’ is replaced by a tailgate that blends smoothly into the rear bumper. (450+ variant pictured)

In reality the EQS SUV looks – unsurprisingly – more similar to the EQS sedan, but with some clear visual differences. The bonnet and front fenders flow into black-clad wheelarches which then taper around to a much cleaner rear end design. The brand’s ‘bumper bench’ that is a trademark of its internal combustion SUVs is replaced by a tailgate that blends smoothly into the rear bumper.

The roofline is also less angular and tapers after the rear doors to create what Mercedes calls a ‘sportier’ profile for the car.

All of this results in a vehicle that is only slightly smaller by the measuring tape but looks significantly less bulky in the metal. According to the ruler the EQS SUV is 5125mm long, 1959mm wide and 1718mm tall, while the GLS measures 5214mm long (+89mm), 2006mm wide (+47mm) and 1823mm tall (+105mm).

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Mercedes calls its EQ style ‘seamless design theme’. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The EQS has a smoother, more flowing appearance compared to the GLS. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

One notable disappointment about the design is Mercedes’ rather conventional packaging of the EQS SUV, despite being on a bespoke electric vehicle platform and not a converted internal combustion underpinnings. Unlike other bespoke SUVs that use the freedom of the ‘skateboard’ EV platform to have under bonnet storage (or a ‘frunk’ as the Americans like to call it), instead all of the storage is in the traditional boot. Underneath the bonnet is auxiliary hardware for the drivetrain and other mechanical features, which seems like a missed opportunity from a design standpoint.

Even the charging port is located under the same size, shape and positioned flap that the petrol or diesel filler is usually found.

While it’s clearly a new and very different member of the Mercedes SUV family, it also feels conservative in some ways, as though the brand was unsure how far it could push the boundaries with these new electric models without alienating its traditional customers.

Practicality – How practical is the space inside?

Despite Mercedes’ somewhat conventional approach to the design, make no mistake about the EQS SUV’s role as a luxury limousine replacement. The wheelbase is the same 3210mm as the EQS sedan, so there’s a generous amount of space inside. Crucially, the biggest point of difference between the sedan and SUV will be the seven-seat layout.

Starting up front, though, the cabin looks and feels just like the sedan. That means a sweeping dashboard that wraps around the driver and passenger from door-to-door. One design factor driven by the introduction of the hyperscreen is the dashboard is very high-set, as it needs to be larger to accommodate such a big screen panel, so shorter drivers will be thankful for the power seat adjustment.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The cabin looks and feels just like the sedan. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The front seats are generous in size. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The ‘MBUX Hyperscreen’ is expected to be an option extra in Australia. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Inside is finished in high-quality materials. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

The seats themselves are generous in size, comfortable and supportive and finished in high-quality materials – as you should expect in a car likely to cost a quarter of a million dollars.

In the second row there’s also good space, with plenty of knee room for passengers. The rear seat width is generous for two, but would be a squeeze with a third adult in the back – or more than one child’s car seat.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The second row has good space. (450+ variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

The rear seat width is generous for two. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

While final specifications are yet to be locked in, each model we drove was fitted with second row climate controls, and there’s a central armrest with cupholders. There’s also an optional rear seat entertainment package that adds a pair of large screens (one on the back of each front seat headrest) that’s controlled by a tablet in the armrest. A smartphone wireless charger is available to be fitted to the armrest, too.

As for the third row, access comes at the touch of a button, with the passenger-side second and front row seats moving forward and out of the way, as long as no-one is already sitting in them, of course.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
Space is limited in the third row. (580 4Matic varaint pictured)

Once inside the third row occupants do get their own air-con vents, cupholders and USB outlets. However, space is limited for anyone over 180cm (six-foot) with headroom tight and very little foot space. However, if the second row passengers can compromise their knee room by moving their seats forward, it does liberate enough space for two smaller adults or children to travel in relative comfort.

Another big advantage for the EQS SUV over the sedan is the larger boot – or at least it should be. Despite being a wagon-style body, the liftback EQS sedan actually has it covered for luggage capacity with five-seats in use – 580 litres for the sedan and 565 litres for the SUV.

With the third row seats in use the boot size drops to just 195 litres. However, where the SUV ultimately trumps the sedan is in total capacity with both the second and third rows stowed (although it’s worth noting the second row doesn’t fold completely flat) there’s a sizable 2100 litres of capacity for big, bulky items.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Boot space is rated at 565 litres. (450 + variant pictured)

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review

Fold the rear seats down and cargo capacity grows to 2100 litres. (450+ variant pictured)

What are the key stats for the motor and transmission?

The 450 4Matic+ uses a pair of motors, one on each axle, to provide it with all-wheel drive. The combined output of these is 265kW of power and 800Nm of torque. That’s good enough for this seven-seat SUV to run 0-100km/h in just 6.0 seconds.

Stepping up to the 500 4Matic it uses the same motors but they are tuned to make 330kW/855Nm, which cuts the 0-100km/h time to 5.1 seconds.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
The EQS 450 has a range of 610km. (450+ variant pictured)

The 580 4Matic once again uses the same motors, this time they have been programmed to make 400kW/858Nm, resulting in a 4.1 second 0-100km/h time.

The motors draw their power from a 108.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which provides a claimed driving range of up to 610km (on the WLTP cycle) in the 450 4Matic and 609km for the 580 4Matic – with no figure for the 500 4Matic yet.

How much energy does it consume?

A driving range of more than 600km is impressive for any current electric vehicle, but especially for such a large one capable of accommodating seven people.

However, there are some key details about the EQS SUV and its battery that are worth noting. Specifically Mercedes’ decision to use a 400-volt electrical system, it has a maximum DC charging capacity of 200kW. Rival brands, including Porsche with its Taycan, already use 800V systems that offer up to 350kW of charging, which is the maximum currently available.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
With the right charger, the EQS can go from 10 per cent to 80 in just 31 minutes. (450+ variant pictured)

Having said that, according to Mercedes the 400V system is still good enough to take the battery from 10 per cent to 80 in just 31 minutes on a suitable charger.

Energy consumption is rated at 24.3kWh/100km (WLTP) for both the 450 and 580 models.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

Once again, a reminder that Australian specifications are still uncertain, but we can tell you what’s available. Obviously there’s all the usual required safety acronyms (ESC, ABS, etc) and airbags; crucially though, Mercedes offers side airbag coverage to the third row.

In terms of active safety features the EQS SUV is loaded with ‘Active Brake Assist’, ‘Attention Assist’, ‘Pre-Safe with Sound’ (that is designed to protect your ear drums in the event of an impact), ‘Active Lane Keeping Assist’, ‘Traffic Sign Assist’ and ‘Car-to-X communication’.

There are a number of safety packages too, and it’s possible Mercedes Australia will decide to include some of these as standard. The Assistance Package adds ‘Blind Spot Assist’, ‘Active Distance Distronic’ (active cruise control) and ‘Pre-Safe Plus’. The Driving Assistance Package Plus brings Active Brake Assist, ‘Active Steering Assist’ and ‘Evasive Steering Assist’.

There’s also the Parking Package with 360-degree camera, which features nine different perspectives for parking.

Ownership – What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

While there’s no confirmed details for the EQS SUV it would be surprising if it was dramatically different from the sedan.

The EQS sedan is covered by Mercedes’ now-standard five years and unlimited kilometres warranty, and the battery gets its own 10-year/250,000km commitment.

The sedan also comes with a three-year subscription to the ChargeFox network of public chargers.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
When the EQS SUV arrives in Australia it should be covered by Mercedes’ five years and unlimited kilometres warranty. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

Service intervals for the sedan are 12 months/15,000km, and can be pre-paid for $1750 for three years, $2750 for four years or $3250 for five-years – which isn’t cheap by EV standards but isn’t outrageous for Mercedes-Benz.

Of course, the SUV may require some unique servicing elements and could cost different, so use those figures as a guide only.

Driving – What’s it like to drive?

One of the defining characteristics of the S-Class as Mercedes’ luxury flagship over the decades has been its refinement. It has always been a quiet and relaxed vehicle to drive, but thanks to its electric motors the EQS SUV takes that up another level.

The cabin is very well insulated from the outside world, with very little in the way of wind and tyre noise, despite the electric motors running in near-silence. It means you can have a very quiet and relaxed drive and feel removed from the hustle and bustle outside the car.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
If you miss having an exhaust note, Mercedes has catered for that with what it calls a ‘Sound Experience’. (450+ variant pictured)

However, the EQS SUV 450 4Matic is also capable of unleashing its performance potential at any time. Put your foot down and despite weighing 2730kg the big SUV surges forward with the urgency of a sports car. With 800Nm of pulling power the EQS SUV has the kind of effortless performance that’s another prerequisite for a luxury flagship.

If you miss the drama of having an exhaust note, Mercedes has catered for that with what it calls a ‘Sound Experience’ – a trio of artificial noises that can be turned on and change with the speed of the car. The three sounds are grandly named – ‘Silver Waves’, ‘Vivid Flux’ and ‘Roaring Pulse’. The first is an overtly electrical soundtrack, the second has a ‘futuristic’ feel (in other words, like you’re driving George Jetson’s spaceship) and the latter sounds like a petrol engine with a digital makeover.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
The EQS SUV is capable of unleashing its performance potential at any time. (450+ variant pictured)

In terms of the way it handles itself on the road, our test drive took us through the urban heart of downtown Denver and out into the picturesque and winding mountain roads outside the city. Despite being a very large vehicle, both in terms of size and weight, the EQS SUV felt surprisingly spry and agile across all the environments we experienced it in.

One of the keys to this is the standard adaptive air-suspension, which can switch between ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and even ‘Off-Road’ settings, adjusting the ride-height between each one.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
The EQS SUV felt spry and agile across all environments. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

Comfort lives up to the name, with a very compliant ride, despite our test car riding on 21-inch alloy wheels. Across America’s concrete expressways the EQS SUV soaked up the bumps in the road and felt in control.

Another feature unique to the electric Mercedes is the steering wheel-mounted paddles that allow you to alter the regenerative braking, between none, low and strong, on the move. While it may sound like a gimmick at first, it’s a very handy feature as it allows you to quickly and easily adjust to the changing conditions to maximise battery range.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
Across America’s concrete expressways the EQS SUV soaked up the bumps in the road and felt in control. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

Once we reached the twistier roads the Sport setting made the suspension noticeable tauter, the steering heavier and the accelerator response more urgent. While far from a sports car, this big SUV acquitted itself well with a composed ride and direct, progressive handling.

The EQS SUV is also surprisingly agile for such a big vehicle thanks to its rear-wheel steering system. It comes standard with 4.5 degrees of rear turning, but it can be increased to 10 degrees as an option. This helps it at speed but also in low speed manoeuvring, such as in traffic and when parking. It also means the EQS SUV has a turning circle of just 11.0m with the 10-degree set-up, which is super impressive for a vehicle this size.

mercedes-benz eqs suv 2023 review
The cars we drove off-road were fitted with 20-inch wheels and all-terrain tyres. (580 4Matic variant pictured)

But while urban agility is the primary selling point for the rear-wheel steering, it also helps when you go off-road – something Mercedes was keen to demonstrate. While it’s unlikely too many owners will take their $250K luxury European SUV into the bush, Mercedes showcased the technical abilities in ‘off-road mode’, which includes a ‘see-through’ bonnet (a virtual display on screen using the optional parking cameras) as well as a hill descent control and the excellent low-speed traction that comes with electric motors.

However, it must be noted the cars we drove off-road were fitted with smaller 20-inch wheels and all-terrain tyres.

Keyword: Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV 2023 review

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