The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV Is the 3-Row Fancy Family Hauler of the Future
The EQS SUV takes everything we liked about the EQS sedan and adds ground clearance.
When Mercedes-Benz decided it was time to firmly plant its flag in the world of electric vehicles, it did so by whipping up the EV equivalent of its most iconic model. Where the S-Class has stood for the epitome of internal-combustion-powered luxury for decades, the new EQS is meant to do the same for battery-powered vehicles — a task it accomplishes with flying colors.
But as much as car enthusiasts extol the virtues of sedan (and station wagons, and coupes, and, well, cars), buyers these days want SUVs and pickup trucks above all else — and many folks in America want them large and in charge. So, while the brand has already begun expanding its EQ range into smaller sedans, an electric full-size SUV seemed like an obvious move, especially for the U.S. market. Which is why the all-new EQS SUV will be Mercedes-Benz USA's first electric sport-utility vehicle to go on sale.
The EQS SUV doesn't just share its name and its face with the electric flagship sedan; it shares an awful lot beneath the skin, too. Both SUV and sedan ride on the same platform, and have the same 126-inch wheelbase — although the SUV is nearly eight inches taller. As such, the EQS SUV seems unlikely to match the sedan version's impressive 0.20 coefficient of drag, though it should still be quite slippery by sport-ute standards.
If you live in warmer climes and prioritize maximum range over maximum performance, you'll likely prefer the base model, the EQS 450+ SUV, which uses a single rear-mounted electric motor that generates 355 horsepower. Most buyers, however, will probably want the EQS 580 4Matic SUV version, which packs all-wheel-drive courtesy of electric motors on both ends and makes 536 horsepower. (And, yes, if the EQS sedan is any indication, an AMG version is all but inevitable.)
As for the all-important question of range, Mercedes is staying fairly quiet for now, only going so far as to cite a range of at least 310 miles on the relaxed WLTP testing standard. That said, the EQS sedan has proven very capable of meeting or exceeding its already-impressive EPA ranges of 340-350 miles, so we'd bet the EQS SUV will come close to 300 miles of real-world range — at least, in the right weather.
Any EV buyers who're planning regular trips beyond the pavement will likely be more tempted by the likes of a Rivian or a GMC Hummer EV, but the EQS SUV ought to be able to at least handle the occasional dalliance into a grassy meadow or up a rough two-track. An "Offroad" drive mode rejiggers the AWD system for rough terrain, while standard air suspension means the ride height can be jacked up a bit for a dash of extra ground clearance.
While electric vehicles have been proliferating wildly in the last couple years, so far, there haven't been many that offer the three-row seating many families crave. The EQS SUV is set to change that — at least, for buyers willing to shell out six figures for the privilege.
While the third row may not look all that roomy, Mercedes-Benz claims it offers up to 38 inches of legroom, once the second-row seats are motored up as far forward as possible. Leave the second row set up for max legroom, and third-row knee space drops to 33 inches.
Look forward, however, and you'll find an interior very much like that of the EQS sedan. The centerpiece is, of course, the mighty 56-inc combined array of crystal-clear displays that Mercedes refers to as the Hyperscreen — at least, it is on the EQS 580 SUV, where it comes standard, or on EQS 450+ SUVs that have it optioned. (Lesser 450+ SUVs start with the still-elegant tablet layout found in the S-Class and SL-Class.)
The rest of the layout, likewise, promises to be every bit as cosseting as the lower-riding EQS, which stands out in recent memory as one of the most comfortable cars on sale. A full suite of the usual advanced electronic driver aids — adaptive cruise, blind spot assist, automatic braking assistant, etc. — and convenience features — Burmester stereo with Dolby Atmos, LED mood lightning, and so forth — should make the drive as stress-free as piloting a giant metal box at high speed can be.
Mercedes-Benz USA says to expect the EQS 450+ SUV and the EQS 580 SUV in dealerships in "late 2022," which could realistically mean anywhere between September and December. Pricing remains to be announced, but we'd guess it'll start around the $100,000 mark, much like the EQS. We're looking forward to seeing how it takes to the road.
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