Our first test drive with the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, the German automaker’s new all-electric flagship SUV.
Highlights of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS
- remarkable comfort
- High-end luxury features
- amazing handling
- Generous autonomy, even in winter
Weaknesses of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS
- Disappointing interior space
- slow charge
- Avoid rear windows if you have children
Slowly but surely, Mercedes-Benz is expanding its electric vehicle offering, and the German automaker is starting at the top. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV has just hit the market and is largely based on the EQS sedan that was introduced last year. We’ve driven the EQS sedan several times in the past 12 months, now we have a chance to review the SUV version.
Mercedes-Benz’s line of electric vehicles closely reflects the brand’s family of gasoline models. The EQS, for example, is the S-Class of electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, making the new EQS SUV the equivalent of the GLS. The upcoming EQE will sit below the current E-Class EQS compared to the S-Class, while the EQE SUV will be a step below the EQS SUV.
That means the 2023 EQS SUV (I really wish Mercedes-Benz had chosen a different name, if only for SEO reasons, but whatever) is supposed to be the most luxurious, electric, refined, exclusive and spacious SUV ever. Mercedes-Benz offers Does it keep its promises? Yes, but only in three of the four items listed above.
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2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS Overview
The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is currently offered in two versions in Canada, but a third model, built by AMG, should arrive at some point.
Our test model is the Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS 580, the top version of the EQS SUV line. It’s equipped with the same 108.4 kWh battery that powers the entry-level EQS 450 SUV, and both offer a claimed range of 280 miles. The EQS SUV can charge up to 200kW, bringing the battery from 10% to 80% in 37 minutes on paper. At home, the electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz can charge up to 9.6 kW, which, again in theory, reaches full range in 11.25 hours. The reality is a bit different, but I’ll come back to that.
Full power is rated at 536 horsepower, and a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds is just 0.3 seconds quicker than the current EQS sedan. Towing capacity is rated at nearly 4,000 lbs. or 1,600 kg.
The starting price of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV is $136,000, while the EQS 580 SUV is $158,500. Our tester had almost every option and it cost $178,600 before taxes and other fees.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 SUV delivers blistering, immediate acceleration worthy of a high-performance luxury electric vehicle. Step on the accelerator and the EQS SUV rushes forward immediately, without hesitation, and driving down the highway will put a smile on your face every time. The EQS 580 SUV is as impressive in its power delivery from a standstill as it is at 115 km/h, and the power climb never falters.
Is it as fast as, say, a BMW iX M60? No. But it’s faster than an iX xDrive50. It’s not quite on the same level as some ultra-performance electric vehicles or even the Tesla Model Y Performance or Mustang Mach-E GT, but when it comes to SUVs, electric or not, the EQS 580 SUV ranks in the top percentile in terms of performance, at least in a straight line.
The EQS SUV backs up its impressive acceleration with stable and predictable handling. It’s not a cornering machine, far from it, but given its mass it offers surprising agility that doesn’t force you to run out of tight turns. It’s a weird feeling, because there’s a certain disconnect between the steering and the wheels. At times, the EQS SUV feels like it’s floating just a few inches above the road, but things seem to tighten up like magic and the steering adjusts quickly as you quickly approach a turn.
The new EQS SUV is undeniably focused above all on comfort, but the commitment to handling isn’t obvious.
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Speaking of comfort…
Before starting this review, I expected the EQS 580 SUV to offer exceptional comfort and refinement, and it did. Mercedes-Benz’s electric SUV feels like it’s traveling on a cloud, just as a high-end Mercedes-Benz product should.
All EQS 580 SUVs come with 21-inch wheels, but the rubber on the tires is generous and helps soak up bumps and potholes. Plus, the suspension does a great job of making sure road imperfections don’t creep up on the driver. The cabin is also well insulated from outside sounds and finding the right driving position is quick and easy. Simply put, the EQS SUV is the most comfortable electric SUV you can buy right now.
Part of that comfort is due to the standard adaptive damping system, which continually adjusts its firmness to ensure a smooth ride on the road while helping to plant the EQS SUV in corners, as described above. Compared to a GLS, the EQS SUV is safer, wind noise is less present and the overall refinement behind the wheel is superior.
In addition, the steered rear wheels significantly reduce the turning radius of the EQS SUV in the city. Navigating the indoor car parks is child’s play, further enhancing the overall feeling of comfort behind the wheel.
Of course, luxury isn’t just about comfort on the go. It’s the little things that count. The ambient lighting should be a benchmark for other manufacturers with its many color options and the multiple LED strips around the cabin provide a truly unique experience at night.
And then there’s the little boost from the Mercedes-Benz Air Balance system that cleans the interior air while giving off a subtle hint of different scents thanks to the Mercedes-Benz atomizer. For what it’s worth, the EQS SUV smells great, and the scent was never overpowering despite my olfactory sensitivity…and my asthma.
Most importantly, the large HYPERSCREEN screen that stretches from door to door and houses three screens (driver, center and passenger) creates an impressive appearance inside the EQS SUV. Plus, as in the EQS sedan, the technology doesn’t just look good, it’s also functional. The latest generation of the MBUX infotainment system is one of the easiest to use and does a great job of organizing the wide range of different features intuitively.
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Disappointing interior space
Since it’s the largest electric SUV Mercedes-Benz plans to offer, I was expecting a roomy cabin, but in reality, the EQS SUV looks more like a GLC than a GLS. In fact, rear legroom is just 15mm more than the GLC and nearly 100mm less than the GLS. And this, pushing the rear sliding bench seat as far back as possible. But in doing so, it reduces the load space to less than 700 litres. The EQS SUV offers good headroom, front and rear, but rear legroom is downright disappointing.
And then there are the optional screens for rear-seat entertainment. The first thing my colleague and fellow dad Matt and I noticed when we got into the EQS SUV was how far those screens protruded from the front seats. They couldn’t be in a better position to take a swift kick from an angry child. It’s scary when you know how much they cost…
This is where I think the EQS SUV really missed its mark. Given its positioning in the Mercedes-Benz EV lineup, I expected it to outshine the competition in versatility, and in doing so become the first true family EV on the market. Unfortunately for Mercedes-Benz, the BMW iX and Tesla Model Y are much more attractive options when it comes to versatility and space.
Excellent battery life, slow charging
One element that stands out about the EQS sedan is the generous range that its battery provides, even during enthusiastic driving or when the weather is less than optimal. The EQS SUV, while having less range than the sedan, exceeds expectations just as well.
Since this is the dead of winter, I didn’t expect to get anywhere near the EPA-stated range, but I still managed to average about 230 miles on a full charge, which is more than enough for most buyers.
Charging is a bit slow, especially when the battery charge is below 20%. When I first charged the EQS SUV, I had 14% range left, which, due to the low temperatures, meant less than 50 kilometers of freedom. My home charger charges around 7kW on average, which means it took me a full 14 hours to charge the EQS SUV. The best you can get out of a fast charger is 200kW which is fine, although given the price I would have liked the option of a 350kW charger when it became available.
2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS Review Conclusion
If you’re looking for a premium electric vehicle that puts comfort first, there’s no better choice than the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV right now. You’ll also get great range, a luxurious, feature-packed interior, and surprising agility. Versatility is disappointing, though, and ultimately the SUV version’s only real advantage over the EQS sedan is the added headroom and cargo space. The EQS SUV is certainly luxurious, but it’s not for the whole family.
#Drive #MercedesBenz #SUV #EQS #Luxury #family #EcoAuto