Mercedes EQS SUV review
"The Mercedes EQS SUV is a worthy technological flagship, but all that kit doesn’t come cheap"
- Supremely comfortable
- Luxurious cabin
- Loads of technology
- Expensive to buy
- Uninvolving to drive
- Not very efficient
Verdict - Is the Mercedes EQS SUV a good car?
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.
Mercedes EQS SUV models, specs and alternatives
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’ 365 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 – which starts from around £130,000 – will do 0-62mph in six seconds. Both launch cars have a 130mph top speed.
There’s even a Mercedes-Maybach version, which is the luxury marque’s first all-electric model. Almost a separate model in its own right, this not only features unique two-tone paintwork and distinctive alloy wheels, but it also sets out to make the experience for rear seat occupants second-to-none.
Even in its standard form, the EQS SUV majors on refinement and is supremely comfortable. 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.
That comfort does fall down slightly in the UK however, and in an area you might not expect. While the ride quality stands up to most scrutiny, the air suspension can be caught out by sudden bumps and by potholes, sending a real thud through the car. Brake feel is also odd, with the pedal moving of its own accord as it blends energy recuperation and braking force from the conventional disc brakes, which can be disconcerting when you simply want to slow down at your own pace.
With such a high starting price, you’d expect the EQS to come with a lot of equipment as standard – and this is certainly the case. There are just two trim levels to choose from at launch: AMG Line Premium Plus and Business Class. All cars get 21-inch alloy wheels, Digital LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, multi-zone climate control, three-row seat heating, a 360-degree camera system and a powered bootlid. Stepping up to Business Class adds beige Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, an upgraded head-up display and Mercedes’ Hyperscreen infotainment.
Every UK car (except for the Maybach version) 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 we’d be more inclined to stick with the standard setup (which comes fitted to AMG Line Premium Plus cars), which still works very well, loses little in terms of functionality or features, and will leave £8,000 in your back pocket to spend on other things.
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.
The Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 takes things to another level, with lashings of chrome trim and vegetable-tanned Nappa leather ‘Executive’ seating that offers ventilation, a massage function, plus neck and shoulder heating. Rear passengers get their own screens, a fridge, and silver-plated champagne goblets.
Range, charging & running costs
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 just over 360 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.
Of course, for many buying an electric SUV that costs from around £130,000, 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
At launch there are two powertrains to choose from in the regular model, 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.
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. The Maybach EQS 680 SUV is even more potent, with 659bhp from its dual electric motors for a 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds.
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, and on motorways and A-roads the suspension does a good job of absorbing poor surfaces and controlling the car’s weight. There’s a limit though, and that’s harsher bumps and potholes, which can send a real thump through the structure as the car’s large 21-inch wheels and 2.8-tonne weight fight each other. The Maybach version’s suspension features an ‘oscillation node’ to ensure the movements of the SUV are kept to a minimum under the rear seats to avoid disturbing VIP passengers.
We’d still say it beats an Audi Q8 e-tron 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
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’s 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.
Coming as standard on Business Class models – or as an £8,000 option on AMG Line Premium Plus cars – buyers can specify Mercedes’ cutting-edge Hyperscreen infotainment system setup. 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, save for the issues we’ve mentioned tackling the UK’s pothole-strewn roads. Few cars are as relaxing to drive long distances.
While we haven’t driven the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV yet, it promises to move the most expensive all-electric SUVs into an entirely new limousine-style class. Features that set apart the Maybach’s cabin include upmarket materials like chrome and wooden veneers, while the Executive seats are trimmed in a grade of Nappa leather not found in regular versions. There’s also a Burmester ‘4D’ surround sound stereo system and 11.4-inch displays are mounted to the front seat backrests. A wooden console separates rear passengers, and comes with a built-in fridge for your bubbly, along with silver-plated champagne goblets to enjoy it in. Both rear seats are also capable of massaging away the strains of the day, while also heating your neck and shoulders.
Practicality & boot space
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.
Apart from the VIP-spec Maybach version, 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. This shrinks to 440 litres for the Maybach model, which is focused on luxury rather than outright luggage space.
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, and there’s good storage space in the cabin itself too.
Reliability & safety
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.
Especially as Mercedes doesn’t have the strongest reputation of late. In the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey the brand finished in 25th place from 32 brands. That’s a two-place drop from 2022’s result, which itself was a 10-place tumble from 2021. Drivers are 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.
Which Is Best?
- NameEQS 450 4M 265kW AMG Line Premium+ 108kWh 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeAuto
- NameEQS 580 4M 400kW AMG Line Premium+ 108kWh 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeAuto
- NameEQS 580 4M 400kW AMG Line Premium+ 108kWh 5dr Auto
- Gearbox typeAuto