The Mercedes-Benz EQ line of electric cars is pretty vast these days, covering equivalents to almost every ICE car it has. These aren’t just engine swaps though. Each EQ has been designed specially to make it the best EV possible. The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is based on the EQS saloon model, which in turn is a version of the S-Class.
The EQS is different to an S-Class in many ways though, and likewise, the EQS SUV isn’t just an EQS that has been given a taller roof. While there is obviously a great deal of similarity in terms of styling, the SUV model is very much its own car.
This model sits as the flagship of Mercedes’ electric range. However, there is also now a Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV version that pushes the luxury elements of this car to even greater levels. I took one of the first EQS SUV models in the UK for a drive to see just how it performs.
Price and availability
There are two choices of model here, the EQS 450 4Matic SUV and the EQS 580 4Matic SUV. While the 450 offers a 360hp motor (265kW), the 580 provides a hefty 544hp (400kW) while maintaining an almost identical range. The battery is capable of 200kW DC fast charging as well as the more powerful 22kW AC home charging option. New models come with six months of free BP Pulse membership for reduced charging prices, free standard membership for Mercedes Me chargers, and one year of free IONITY charging.
The EQS 450 starts from £129,170 on the road, while the EQS 580 starts from £139,170. As with the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, it’s the more powerful model that is the most fun to drive.
Design and features
From the outside, the EQS SUV does sit taller. It sits on large 21-inch alloys with more clearance and yes, it does have a higher roof. The large rear SUV door opens up to provide a much larger opening to the boot, and of course, due to the height, there’s lots more space in there too.
While there are elements of the Mercedes-Benz GL range here, the more rounded features clearly tie this to the EQ range. That large flat grill, which contains so many of the safety and driving sensors looks impressive, if not as imposing as other manufacturers' versions. There’s that large three-pointed star badge in the centre too. The front headlights (that use digital light technology) blend into the grill at the front, and form a thin band across the rear.
One big advantage is that this model can be configured with a third row of seats, giving the option to carry rather than the standard five, making it ideal for larger families. It’s a trade-off for boot space but makes this one of the few all-electric seven-seater SUV options on the market right now.
There’s also the benefit of the panoramic sliding sunroof that comes as standard on all models and provides a huge amount of light into that giant cabin.
For the driver, the infotainment displays are familiar and have almost the same layout as the EQS. While the AMG Premium Plus model I tried had the standard centre screen and driver instrument screen, the MBUX Hyperscreen comes as an optional extra here, or as standard on the Business Class models for the ultimate set-up.
The MBUX system offers a very useable platform for both vehicle controls and entertainment. The layout is clear and based around an icon-heavy menu screen plus you can use the “Hey Mercedes” command for a wide range of tasks, even providing more general statements like, “I’m cold”, or “I’m tired”, to have the car offer changes to the climate and seats.
The addition of Zync, Mercedes’ video streaming service, provides a mixture of shows, movies, sports and games that passengers can enjoy on the move, and the driver can use when parked up or charging.
Your Mercedes Me profile allows you to maintain all of your preferences in any Mercedes car you get into and means that you can have different profiles for each driver. This also ties into the Mercedes Me app, which allows you to check the charging status, and pre-set the interior climate and navigation when you’re not in the vehicle.
The EQS SUV uses digital light headlights as standard, which can adapt to traffic conditions – and even the side of the road you’re driving. The Driving Assistance Package Plus also comes as standard on all models. This includes evasive steering, emergency stop and distance assist safety features. It also includes steering assistance, speed adjustment and stop and go assist for sitting in traffic jams.
Driving and performance
Inside, the big difference with the EQS SUV over the saloon is the driver’s seating position. As with the Mercedes-Benz EQE SUV, you sit very high in the EQS SUV. While you can, of course, lower the seat, to keep the instrument panel clear of the wheel – which is needed for face detection and monitoring – you need to keep the wheel high. You also need to be higher to get a clear view of the road in front of you. What struck me was how different it felt to drive at this height.
The EQS SUV is a big car, but thanks to the electric motor and the air suspension, it never feels heavy or bulky. It’s still very pokey and handles extremely well, plus it feels comfortable enough to make it ideal for long journeys and has the range for it too. Despite the higher stance of the car it still manages a range of up to 365 miles, which though 87 miles short of the saloon version, is still impressive for an SUV.
Should I buy the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV?
Though the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV comes from the same family as the EQS saloon, this is a car with different priorities. While both are luxury models, the SUV model is designed for utility. It has increased headspace and can hold a larger amount of luggage or people inside it. This feels more like a luxury family car rather than an executive transport – even though it could easily be both. What you gain in height and space, you ultimately lose in range, and even the 580 version is nowhere near as quick as the AMG 53 version of the EQS saloon.
There will naturally be comparisons between the Mercedes EQS SUV and the BMW iX M60, seeing as they come at similar prices. Both cars are exceptional examples of luxury electric SUVs and though the BMW is ultimately quicker, I wouldn’t be disappointed with either.