First driver 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS: Luxury for the whole family?

Our first test drive of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, the German automaker’s new all-electric SUV flagship.

Highlights of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS

  • Remarkable comfort
  • High-end luxury features
  • Amazing treatment
  • Generous autonomy, even in winter

2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS Weaknesses

  • Disappointing interior space
  • Slow charging
  • Avoid rear screens if you have children

Slowly but surely, Mercedes-Benz is expanding its electric car offerings, and the German automaker is starting at the top. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS has just hit the market and is based on the EQS sedan introduced last year. We’ve driven the EQS sedan multiple times over the past 12 months, and now we’ve had a chance to review the SUV version.

Mercedes-Benz’s lineup of electric vehicles closely mirrors the brand’s gasoline-powered model family. For example, the EQS is the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz electric cars, making the new EQS SUV the equivalent of the GLS. The next EQE will sit below the current E-Class EQS compared to the S-Class, while the EQE SUV will be a notch below the EQS SUV.

That means the 2023 EQS SUV – I wish Mercedes-Benz had chosen a different name, for SEO reasons, but whatever – should be Mercedes-Benz’s most luxurious, most electric, most exclusive and spacious SUV . suggest. Does it keep its promises? Yes, but only in three of the four items listed above.

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2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS Review

The Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS is currently offered in two versions in Canada, but a third model developed by AMG should arrive at some point.

Our test model is the Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS 580, the top version of the EQS SUV line. It is powered by the same 108.4 kWh battery that powers the entry-level EQS 450 SUV, and both offer a claimed range of 459 kilometers. The EQS SUV can charge up to 200kW, which on paper charges the battery from 10% to 80% in 37 minutes. At home, the Mercedes-Benz electric SUV can charge up to 9.6 kW, which again theoretically achieves full range in 11.25 hours. The reality is a little different, but I’ll come back to that.

Total power is rated at 536 horsepower, and a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds is just 0.3 seconds faster than the current EQS sedan. Towing capacity is rated at around 4,000 pounds or 1,600 kg.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV starts at $136,000, while the EQS 580 SUV starts at $158,500. Our tester had nearly every option and cost $178,600 before taxes and fees.

Impressive performance

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS 580 offers instant and dazzling acceleration worthy of a high-performance luxury electric vehicle. Step on the gas, and the EQS SUV immediately jumps forward without hesitation, and it will put a smile on your face every time you cruise down the highway. The EQS 580 SUV is just as impressive in its power delivery from a standstill as it is at 115 km/h, and the power surge never lets up.

Is it as fast as, say, the BMW iX M60? Nope. But it is faster than the iX xDrive50. It’s not quite on par with some ultra-performance electric cars or even the Tesla Model Y Performance or Mustang Mach-E GT, but when it comes to SUVs, electric or not, the EQS 580 sits in the top percentile of SUVs. performance, at least a straight line.

The EQS SUV backs up its impressive acceleration with stable and predictable handling. It’s not a cornering machine, far from it, but given its mass it offers surprising agility that doesn’t force you to avoid tight corners. It feels strange because there is a definite connection between the steering wheel and the wheels. The EQS SUV sometimes feels like it’s floating a few inches above the road, but things magically stiffen and the steering adjusts quickly when approaching a corner at speed.

It is undeniable that the new SUV EQS focuses on comfort above all else, but the compromise in handling is not obvious.

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Speaking of comfort…

Before starting this review, I expected the EQS 580 SUV to offer exceptional comfort and refinement, and it did. Mercedes-Benz’s electric SUV feels like it’s floating on a cloud, as a premium Mercedes-Benz product should.

Every EQS 580 SUV comes with 21-inch wheels, but the tire rubber is generous and helps absorb bumps and potholes. Plus, the suspension does a great job of keeping road imperfections from filtering through to the driver. The cabin is also well insulated from outside noise, and finding the right driving position is quick and easy. Quite simply, the EQS SUV is the most comfortable electric SUV you can buy right now.

Part of that comfort comes from the standard adaptive damping system, which, as described earlier, continuously adjusts its firmness to ensure a smooth ride on the highway, while the EQS helps keep the SUV in corners. Compared to the GLS, the EQS SUV is more confident, with less wind noise and overall refinement behind the wheel.

In addition, the directional rear wheels significantly reduce the turning radius of the EQS SUV in the city. Navigating closed parking lots is child’s play, which further improves the overall comfort felt behind the wheel.

Of course, luxury is not only about comfort on the road. It’s the little things that count. The ambient lighting should be a benchmark for other manufacturers, with multiple color options, and multiple LED strips across the cabin provide a truly unique experience at night.

And then there are small boosts of the Mercedes-Benz Air Balance system, which purifies the air inside, giving a subtle hint of different scents thanks to the Mercedes-Benz atomizer. For what it’s worth, the EQS SUV smells great, and despite my olfactory sensitivity and asthma, the smell was never overpowering.

Most importantly, the large HYPERSCREEN screen that stretches from door to door and includes three screens (driver, center and passenger) creates a stunning view inside the EQS SUV. Plus, like the EQS sedan, the technology doesn’t just look good, it’s functional. The latest generation MBUX infotainment system is one of the easiest to use and does a great job of intuitively organizing a large range of different functions.

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Disappointing interior space

Given that this is the largest electric SUV Mercedes-Benz plans to offer, I was expecting a spacious interior, but the EQS SUV actually looks more like a GLC than a GLS. In fact, rear legroom is only 15mm less than the GLC and almost 100mm less than the GLS. And that’s by pushing the sliding rear seat back as far as possible. However, you are reducing the boot space to less than 700 litres. The EQS SUV offers good headroom, front and rear, but rear legroom is a complete disappointment.

There are also additional screens for rear seat entertainment. When my coworker and my co-dad Matt got into the EQS SUV, the first thing we noticed was how far those screens protruded from the front seats. They couldn’t be better placed to take a swift kick from an angry child. It’s scary when you know how expensive they are…

I think the EQS SUV really missed the mark. Given its position in the Mercedes-Benz EV line-up, I expected it to outperform the competition in terms of versatility, thereby becoming the first true family electric vehicle on the market. Unfortunately for Mercedes-Benz, the BMW iX and Tesla Model Y are more attractive options in terms of versatility and space.

Great battery life, slow charging

One element that sets the EQS sedan apart is the generous range its battery provides, even during spirited driving or when the weather isn’t optimal. Even though the EQS SUV has less range than the sedan, it similarly exceeds expectations.

Considering it’s the middle of winter, I didn’t expect to get anywhere near the EPA-claimed range, but I still managed to average about 375 kilometers on a full charge, which should be enough for most buyers.

Charging is a little slow, especially when the battery charge is below 20%. When I first loaded the EQS SUV, I had about 14% range left, which meant less than 50 kilometers of range due to the cold temperatures. My charger at home averages about 7kW of power, meaning it took me a full 14 hours to charge the EQS SUV. The best you can get from a fast charger is 200kW, which is fine, although given the price I’d like a 350kW charger option if available.

Conclusion of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS review

If you’re looking for a premium electric vehicle that prioritizes comfort, there’s no better choice right now than the 2023 Mercedes-Benz SUV EQS. You’ll also get great range, a luxurious, feature-packed interior and surprising flexibility. Versatility is disappointing, and as a result, the only real advantage the SUV version has over the EQS sedan is extra space and cargo space. The EQS SUV is certainly luxurious, but not for the whole family.

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