Last year, Mercedes-Benz introduced the world to its first modern EV built on an electric-only architecture, the aerodynamic and distinctive EQS. The sleek full-size luxury sedan is based on the modular EVA2 platform, suitable for a variety of different vehicle types including the smaller and lower EQE sedans. Today, the automaker is going in the opposite direction, introducing us to the three-row EQS SUV.
The EQS SUV is taller than its similar sedan relatives, but many of its specs and features will feel familiar to fans of the existing Mercedes EV lineup. Most notably, the company’s “one bow” style theme is firmly present in the EQS SUV, with the aerodynamic, angled front end and tapered greenhouse helping it make a strong first impression. Offered in the form of the EQS 450, EQS 450 4Matic, and EQS 580, this SUV should also be capable of a range of up to 373 miles (albeit at an optimistic WLTP scale rather than the more realistic EPA sizes). And like any modern Benz, the EQS SUV is a technical tour de force.
Stylish For The Wind
The EQS SUV looks very futuristic, with a glossy black grille panel housing the large, centrally located Mercedes star. Triangular headlights with three individual lighting elements (a hallmark of the Mercedes S family) adorn the smiling grille, giving the EQS SUV a welcoming look up front. Buyers can choose between Electric Art and AMG-Line body styling, the former getting a refined front bumper and the latter receiving more aggressive features like angular air curtains and a chin spoiler at the front end. AMG cues will likely be more popular with EQS owners, and they give the slightly amorphous bumper some visual interest.
Like the EQS sedan, this crossover has a clamshell bonnet that fits snugly to the wheel arches, as well as a funky pop-out washer fluid filler on the front left fender. There’s also a very short visual dash-to-axle ratio, with the base of the windshield sitting almost above the centerline of the front axle. Step back, however, and it becomes clear that it’s a visual trick of the styling, as the actual dashboard and seats are a long way from the wheel. There’s also no front of the passenger cabin, meaning all that space is used for electrical components that only Mercedes technicians have access to – the hood doesn’t open from the inside.
As part of the forward look of the cabin, the EQS SUV features a single-arc sedan design that curves from above the front fender to the tapered D-pillar. The crossover has a more square roofline than the sedan to make room for its optional third-row seats, but there’s still plenty of family resemblance. That extends to the full-width taillights as well, which feature signature helical-style lighting meant to remember the filaments of Edison’s light bulbs. Contrasting black roof panels wrap around to incorporate the rear hatch glass, giving the EQS SUV a cohesive and sleek appearance.
Those who like the style of the EQS sedan will probably appreciate the SUV too, although to our eyes, the sloping front end and swoopy D-pillar look a bit like a minivan from the early 2000s. The EQS SUV also looks a bit bland and featureless after the initial shock of its windproof design wears off. Even so, the styling will no doubt help the EQS make the most of its electrons – although Mercedes didn’t confirm its drag coefficient, we doubt it’s far from the 0.20 EQS sedan or the 0.22 EQE sedan. It might even shift 0.25 Tesla Model X to become the slimmest SUV in the world.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV will come in two different trim levels – the EQS 450 and EQS 580 – with the former offering two-motor all-wheel drive as an option and the latter standard. Whether in single or dual motor form, the EQS 450 has 355 horsepower and 419 pound-feet of torque, both better than the EQS 450 sedan’s 329 hp and 406 lb-ft. The sturdier EQS 580 SUV’s dual motor produces a combined 536 hp and 633 lb-ft, up the same amount over the sedan. Power for all trim levels comes from a floor-mounted 107.8 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.
Mercedes claims the EQS 450 can achieve an impressive 600 kilometers (or 373 miles) of range using the WLTP scale, likely according to the EPA number of 300 miles or more. Range estimates for the more powerful EQS 580 are not available, but even the most inefficient models should be capable of 275 miles before needing a jolt. When it’s time to recharge, the EQS is capable of charging speeds of 200 kW – on a DC fast charger with an average output of 110 kW, the battery can increase from 10 to 80 percent in 31 minutes. Using a 240 volt wall box, a 10 to 100 percent charge took 11 hours and 15 minutes.
Once you’re up and running to hit the road, the EQS SUV requires standard four-corner air suspension with adaptive damping, as well as 10-degree rear axle steering which will provide better low-speed maneuverability and better road stability. . We expect this crossover to drive very similarly to the EQS sedan, which is impressively calm, quiet and smooth at speed while also offering some sportiness thanks to its well-damped suspension and instantaneous electric torque. The EQS sedan’s intuitive intelligent regenerative braking will appear as well, slowing the crossover in heavy traffic while allowing it to slide on free-flowing highways.
The interior of the EQS SUV will immediately feel familiar to anyone who has spent time in the EQS or the EQE sedan. The Model 450 comes standard with a portrait-oriented 12.8-inch touchscreen housed in an angled binnacle that takes note of the S-Class cabin. Optional on the 450 and standard on the 580 will be the main MBUX Hyperscreen display, a single sheet of high-strength glass that hides the 17.7 OLED center screen, 12.3-inch instrument panel, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen directly in front of the passengers to allow them to create navigation suggestions or listen to their own audio source.
Both infotainment options use Mercedes’ new zero-layer software that creates a permanently on-screen navigation map and overlays the relevant tiles – phone, audio, comfort, etc. – as it should be. The system also features machine learning, so if you always call home after leaving the office, the EQS SUV will suggest a call at a stop time via a subtle on-screen notification. The Burmester 3D audio system incorporates Dolby Atmos technology, so it will sound great. If embedded technology isn’t your thing, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
Cabin materials in the 2023 EQS SUV are excellent, with beautifully curved wood tiles on the center console and door armrests, soft-touch plastic and MB-Tex faux leather on the dashboard, and standard leather seats for all passengers. Mercedes will also include multi-colored accent lighting on the EQS SUV – a Miami nightclub vibe at the touch of a button, while the standard panoramic sunroof should allow for plenty of natural ambiance.
The Mercedes EQS SUV comes standard with a two-row, five-seat layout and ample space. The seats are mounted higher thanks to the raised roofline, eliminating the slightly awkward high floor feeling of the EQS sedan. The second row slides and reclines electrically, balancing space and comfort for passengers and cargo (or passengers and more passengers, in the case of the optional third row).
The sixth and seventh seating positions are a bit cramped in shoulder room – the tapered greenhouse does cost money – but there’s enough knee, leg and headroom for an average-sized adult. With all the seats above, the EQS SUV has about 7 cubic feet of cargo space, expanding to 71 cubic feet with the two rear rows folded. Go without the optional rear seats and your cargo area is between 23 and 74 cubic feet.
There’s no denying that there isn’t much room given the EQS SUV’s massive stature, only rising about 1 cube above the low-roof EQS. That’s because this crossover is actually only 202.0 inches long from bumper to bumper, 5.2 smaller than the sedan. That said, the EQS SUV takes advantage of the 126.4-inch wheelbase by being 8.4 inches taller than the four-door, significantly reducing claustrophobia.
As most automakers know, crossovers are essential to a healthy bottom line. And while the 2022 EQS has become a pretty popular sight in the posh Silicon Valley and Manhattan neighborhoods, it still doesn’t have the high form factor that luxury customers demand. By incorporating the best parts of a sedan into a crossover form, the EQS SUV should be an instant success for Mercedes. Adding to the intrigue is the preview of the EQS SUV concept, which is actually the Maybach – is a super-luxury crossover EV on its way?
Refreshingly for US customers, we will be the first markets to experience the Mercedes-Benz EQS 2023 SUV, which goes on sale towards the end of the summer. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed yet, but this SUV should cost a few thousand dollars more than the $103,360 EQS 450 or $126,950 EQS 580. Built at the company’s manufacturing facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, it won’t be for long. The EQS SUV is the darling of private school drop-off lines across the country.