"The Mercedes EQS SUV is a worthy technological flagship, but all that kit doesn’t come cheap"

Pros

  • Supremely comfortable
  • Luxurious cabin
  • Loads of technology

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Uninvolving to drive
  • Not very efficient

SUVs don’t come much bigger than the Mercedes EQS. Based on the maker’s existing flagship saloon-cum-hatchback, the SUV builds on its lower, sleeker sibling with a more family-friendly interior, but just as much tech.

The ingredients don’t differ hugely. The EQS SUV gets a slightly larger 108.4kWh battery, but the same dual-motor, 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, and the same feature-packed cabin. It’s heavier than its stablemate, however, so range dips from over 450 miles to ‘just’ 379 miles. That still makes it one of the longest-range electric vehicles currently on sale, though, and being able to charge at up to 200kW should make stops quick and easy.

From launch there are two models to choose from; the 355bhp EQS 450, and the more powerful 536bhp EQS 580. An even punchier AMG 53 version (as per the EQS saloon) is expected to join the range in time, but even the entry-level car – expected to cost from £130,000 – will do 0-62mph in six seconds. Both launch cars have a 130mph top speed.

Supremely comfortable, the EQS SUV majors on refinement. It isn’t much fun to drive, but it’ll prove a hugely capable motorway cruiser if that’s the kind of driving you do on a regular basis. It’s not an easy car to park given its size, but all-round cameras and a rear-wheel steering system (4.5 degrees as standard, 10 degrees optional) help significantly. We’ve yet to drive an EQS SUV in Britain, but expect it might feel quite large traversing city streets or tight rural back roads.

Every UK car gets seven seats as standard, and with the two rearmost rows folded flat the EQS SUV boasts an almost van-like 2,020 litres of boot space. The very back seats are a bit tight and tricky to get into, but the middle row offers loads of head, leg and shoulder room.

The dashboard is a highlight, and carried over unchanged from the EQS saloon. You get two screens as standard, but those looking for a true flagship party piece should consider the flashy Hyperscreen layout that uses a single pane of glass to cover three separate displays. It looks fantastic, but may prove a bit of a gimmick; the standard setup works well and is the one we’d recommend. 

Luxury is another selling point. The materials used are first-rate, and everything you touch is coated in the finest leather, metal or wood. You’ll have to search long and hard for any corner cutting or cheap-feeling plastics. The controls are responsive and there’s plenty of storage up front.

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Overall, the EQS SUV feels like a fitting electric flagship for Mercedes, and one that can only get better over time. We’d prefer if it felt a little less cumbersome, and a little more enjoyable to drive, but if you want something luxurious, quiet and spacious, while also somewhat satisfying your environmental conscience, this could be the car for you.

Range, charging & running costs

While it’s expensive to buy, the reward is a long driving range and 200kW charging speeds

The Mercedes EQS SUV is one of the longest-range electric vehicles you can buy. It has one of the biggest batteries fitted to any production car (108.4kWh usable capacity) – and it can charge pretty quickly too.

All models officially return 379 miles on a full battery, although in our experience between 250 and 270 miles – perhaps 300 on a good day – is more realistic. But the thing all buyers need to be aware of is that just because the EQS SUV is electric, doesn’t mean it’ll automatically be cheap to run. All that weight (2.6 tonnes, no less) means that the EQS isn’t very efficient. It’ll use more electricity per mile than almost all of its rivals, so it’ll cost you more to keep charged.

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Of course, for many buying a £130,000 (est) electric SUV, that won’t matter. What will be of greater interest will be its ability to charge at speeds of up to 200kW – allowing for a 10-80% rapid top-up in 31 minutes if you can find a suitable rapid charger. The EQS also supports 22kW AC charging, though most owners are likely to use a more conventional 7kW home wallbox. Charging to 100% in this way will take over 17 hours.

Being electric, the EQS will – for those who can afford it – possess particular appeal when it comes to Benefit-in-Kind company car tax. It sits in the very lowest band, though its list price will still make for chunky monthly payments. There’s currently no road tax (VED) to pay, and the EQS SUV is exempt from the London Congestion Charge.

Electric motor, drive & performance

Smooth and powerful electric motors, but the EQS SUV majors on comfort over engagement

At launch there are two powertrains to choose from, both of which get 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard. The entry-level car is the EQS 450 4MATIC, while the more powerful and more expensive version is badged the EQS 580 4MATIC.

Even the 450 4MATIC gets 355bhp and 800Nm of torque – enough for 0-62mph in six seconds. It feels quick off the line, but acceleration tails off at motorway speeds. There’s enough power for brisk overtaking, but it never feels as lairy or unhinged as a Tesla Model X.

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Those wanting a bit more poke should look at the 580 4MATIC which boosts power to 536bhp, with a slight increase (to 858Nm) in torque, too. This slashes the 0-62mph time to just 4.6 seconds, but crucially it feels much faster towards the top end. Both cars are limited to 130mph.

But arguably the most impressive thing about the EQS SUV is how quiet and comfortable it is. Even on the motorway there is very little in the way of wind or road noise, while the suspension soaks up all but the very worst lumps and bumps – far more so than an EQS saloon. The SUV is even more refined than an Audi e-tron – despite our car sitting on huge 22-inch wheels.

So it beats the Audi for comfort, but the EQS unfortunately can’t match a BMW iX for engagement. Body control is good for a car weighing as much as this, yet most of the time the Mercedes feels a little numb and devoid of driver enjoyment.

What’s more, the regenerative braking system isn’t as accomplished as some systems we’ve tried. In fact, at times we preferred to simply switch it off. The transition between the regenerative set-up and the conventional disc brakes is lumpy at best, and pedal feel is inconsistent. For some, this could be a dealbreaker.

On the plus side, every version comes with 4.5-degree rear-wheel steering, upgradable (over the air) to 10 degrees for a fee. Its sheer size means it’s still a tough car to park, but this system helps significantly when manoeuvring – reducing the turning circle to that of a Volkswagen Golf.

Interior & comfort

Lavish materials and a vast Hyperscreen setup help set the EQS SUV apart

This is where the EQS SUV comes into its own. Merc’s flagship represents the pinnacle of luxury and technology, with plush materials and a cutting-edge infotainment system.

The seats are super comfortable, with plenty of support and what feels like pillows instead of headrests. There is loads of adjustment – electric, of course – in those seats, so finding a commanding driving position that fits the contours of any individual should be no trouble at all. The tall centre console offers plenty of storage, and again, is covered in only the finest woods, metals and leathers.

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Prices and specs haven’t been confirmed yet, but we expect the vast Hyperscreen setup to be a circa-£8,000 option. This brings a trio of infotainment displays spanning the entire width of the dashboard – a party piece for sure, but arguably unnecessary given the standard twin-screen layout works just as well. We’d stick with this setup, which is responsive and relatively intuitive, and spend the difference on the rising cost of rapid charging.

But where the EQS SUV really impresses, is on the move. It is incredibly quiet even at motorway speeds, and the ride – even on 22-inch wheels – was supple and well cushioned for the most part. Few cars are as relaxing to drive long distances.

Practicality & boot space

Seven seats and a large boot make the EQS SUV very practical for an EV

The benefit of building something that measures 5,125mm long, 1,959mm wide and 1,718mm tall is that, unless something goes horribly wrong, you’re left with an extremely roomy and practical cabin. Fortunately, the EQS uses its electric-specific platform well, boasting a big boot and room for the whole family.

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UK cars come with seven seats as standard, and while the rearmost row is on the small side – best reserved for kids, we reckon – the front and middle seats are extremely spacious. Where the EQS saloon’s sloping roofline limits headroom in the rear, the SUV is bright, airy and plenty big enough for even the tallest adults. The flat floor means you’ll have no trouble sitting three abreast either.

Boot space with all seven seats in place is nothing to write home about, but this is quite common. Fold down the back row and the EQS reveals a 565-litre boot – smaller than the e-tron but bigger than the iX – expanding to a van-like 2,020 litres with the middle row stowed.

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There’s no space under the bonnet like in a Tesla or Porsche Taycan, but Mercedes does offer storage beneath the boot floor for the charging cables.

Reliability & safety

The Mercedes EQS SUV is one of the safest cars on the market

The Mercedes EQS SUV is a brand-new car, and even the saloon model on which it’s based hasn’t been around for that long. Using a battery and electric motor should, in theory, mean there is less to go wrong compared with an equivalent petrol, diesel or hybrid model, too.

The EQS certainly isn’t short on technology – so what it lacks in oily moving parts, it makes up for with glitzy screens and trick technology. We’d hope Merc’s flagship wouldn’t throw up too many electrical gremlins in its early years, but it’s certainly something to be wary of. 

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Especially as Mercedes doesn’t have the strongest reputation of late – finishing 23rd out of 29 car makers in the 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. That’s a 10-place fall on the previous year, with drivers particularly disappointed in the quality of their cars. Practicality was a plus point, apparently, but owners expect more when paying such a hefty premium versus more mainstream models. Of course, every EQS comes with the usual three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty, and the battery is guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles, which should give you some peace of mind.

In terms of safety, while the EQS SUV hasn’t been evaluated by Euro NCAP, the saloon has – achieving a full five stars in the organisation’s independent crash tests. It has loads of safety tech on board, including semi-autonomous drive functions and anti-collision sensors. There’s little doubt the SUV is one of the safest cars money can buy.

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