Mercedes EQS SUV review

Mercedes’ flagship electric car gets the SUV treatment – boasting seating for seven and a 366-mile range

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Excellent refinement
  • Sublime comfort
  • Huge rear cabin

Cons

  • Extremely expensive
  • Uninvolving to drive
  • Not very efficient
ModelElectric rangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge
EQS 450 4MATIC362-366 miles10 hours (0-100%, 11kW)31 mins (10-80%, 200kW)
EQS 580 4MATIC362-365 miles10 hours (0-100%, 11kW)31 mins (10-80%, 200kW)

We’ve already driven and reviewed the Mercedes EQS – praising it for its long range, impressive interior quality and cutting-edge technology. But as will eventually be the case for the vast majority of Merc’s EVs, what starts life as a saloon, eventually morphs into an SUV.

So here we are: the Mercedes EQS SUV uses the same platform and hardware as the luxury limousine, adding a raised ride height, more practical body, and seating for seven. But it's obviously less aerodynamic and there’s a weight penalty – as is often the case with SUVs – so efficiency takes a hit compared to the regular EQS.

The EQS SUV boasts a maximum range of 366 miles in entry-level EQS 450 4MATIC guise, while the more powerful EQS 580 4MATIC tops out at 365 miles. A lighter rear-wheel drive 450+ will be offered in other markets, but all UK cars come with all-wheel drive as standard. 

Efficiency, as you might expect for something weighing more than 2.6 tonnes, isn’t great. Mercedes claims between 2.5 and 3.0 miles per kilowatt-hour depending on specification, but during our time with the car, the average sat at the lower end of that range. All told, we were seeing a comfortable 250-270 miles on a charge – a little shy of what we achieved in a BMW iX xDrive50 in normal driving.

The Mercedes EQS SUV boasts rapid top-ups of 200kW, meaning a 10-80% charge should be achievable in just over half-an-hour – all without the complex 800-volt electrics found on fast-charging rivals like the Porsche Taycan. The Mercedes’ huge 108.4kWh battery means lengthy home charge times; the EQS supports 22kW AC charging, but topping up on a more conventional 7.4kW wallbox will take upwards of 17 hours.

Interior quality, as you’d hope from something costing £130,000 and up, is exquisite. There are solid-feeling woods and metals dotted around the cabin, and the leather used for the seats, dashboard and doors is first rate. Those seats – all seven of them – are plush and super supportive, with pillow-like headrests and adjustable lumbar support.

The interior technology on offer is among the best in the business too, even without the circa £8,000 Hyperscreen infotainment system. We actually prefer the standard twin-screen set-up; it’s easier to use, less distracting and still has all the functionality you’d wish for. Save yourself the cash and spend it on something else.

On the move, the first thing you notice is how comfortable the EQS SUV is – even more so than the calm, cosseting EQS saloon. The extra ride height gives you a commanding view of the road, but refinement remains unbeatable. We can say with some confidence that there is no quieter car to travel long distances in.

But while the EQS is supremely silent, we came away feeling underwhelmed by the overall driving experience. The 450 4MATIC feels heavy and uninvolving to drive; something you might reasonably expect from a heavy, expensive electric SUV – but when a car costs this much, we were hoping for more.

Body control is good, but performance is blunted by the car’s kerbweight. It’s plenty quick enough off the line thanks to all-wheel drive and 355bhp on tap, but mid-to-high-speed acceleration is dulled; those wanting Tesla-like overtaking prowess should look towards the punchier 536bhp 580 4MATIC, or even the forthcoming AMG version. 

Ultimately, however, a BMW iX is more fun to drive. The way that car hunkers down and rewards the keen driver is not something that the EQS SUV can replicate. Furthermore, the Merc’s regenerative braking cannot compete with the one-pedal option offered by rivals. Brake feel is inconsistent, and at times the pedal gives the sensation it’s being pulled away from your right foot, which can be quite disconcerting.

But what the EQS lacks in the driving department, it more than makes up for when it comes to space and practicality. It’s a shame there isn’t any storage under the bonnet, but you’ll find space beneath the boot floor for the charging cables. 

Even seven-seat versions offer some space behind the rearmost seats for soft bags, but folding these chairs into the floor boosts load volume to an acceptable 565 litres. All-in, with all five rear seats stowed, the EQS – thanks to its tall roofline – can carry up to 2,020 litres.

That high roof works wonders for rear seat room. One of the EQS saloon’s biggest failings – at least compared with the petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid Mercedes S-Class – was space in the back. In the SUV, however, there is enough head, leg and shoulder room for even the tallest adults to get comfy in the middle row. Seats six and seven are tighter; these are best reserved for kids.

Prices for the EQS SUV 450 4MATIC in the UK start from a smidge under £130,000, while the more powerful EQS 580 4MATIC adds £10,000 to the flagship EV’s price tag. Both versions come in AMG Line Premium Plus trim as standard, equipped with 21-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, Nappa leather seats, anthracite wood trim, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats and a 360-degree parking camera. Not to mention a Burmester stereo, a panoramic glass roof and a head-up display with an augmented reality navigation system.

You can add Mercedes’ Hyperscreen infotainment system for £7,995, or it comes as part of the Business Class specification (£14,325) which also adds screens for the second row of seats. The materials used get an upgrade too, with this trim level also including open-pore wood trim and special, contoured leather for the seats, among other things.

It’s certainly expensive, but if you’ve got the cash the new Mercedes EQS SUV is one of the most luxurious electric cars available right now. It’s imposing, quiet, refined, spacious and loaded with the best materials and technology this brand has to offer. But that doesn’t mean it's flawless, in fact there are some areas where the luxury seven-seater doesn't live up to its price tag. Perhaps the fully electric Range Rover is worth holding out for.

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