The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV goes on sale this fall as the German luxury brand’s first electric SUV in the US, following the EQS sedan that launched late last year. The sedan was intended to be an electric S-Class and the SUV comparable to the GLS-Class. The two share a wheelbase and platform, which will underpin more EQ electric vehicles in the future.
The company gave some details about the EQS SUV at the opening of its EV (electric vehicle) battery plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, last month, though the car was wrapped and its exterior was hidden.
The electric SUV is slightly smaller than the conventional three-row GLS. The new EV is about 3 inches shorter, and the roof is more than 4 inches lower. However, it has a longer wheelbase, which means the wheels are pushed further into the corners. On the EQS the third row is optional while on the GLS it is standard.
Up front, the grille centers the company’s three-pointed logo with a star pattern emanating outward. Making the car aerodynamic was a top priority, according to the company, with clean lines running the length of the car from the EQS sedan-like front end. Even the wheels and tires were streamlined using windshields that the company calls “aeroblades.”
The EQS SUV comes to the US in two guises: the EQS 450+ rear-wheel drive version and the EQS 580 4MATIC all-wheel drive version.
A 107.8-kilowatt-hour battery and electric motor combine in the rear-wheel drive version to make 355 horsepower and 419 pound-feet of torque. In the all-wheel drive version, the same combination makes 536 hp and 633 pound-feet of torque.
Official figures on range have yet to be announced, though the company says 373 miles is possible on the European test cycle. Mercedes estimates that DC fast charging from 10 to 80 percent takes 31 minutes.
The center of the interior is the company’s Hyperscreen, a panel that integrates the gauge cluster, infotainment system and an additional passenger display. Hyperscreen is optional on the 450+ and standard on the 580 4MATIC.
Mercedes designed the interior to evoke a modern living space. It is available in seven different color-coordinated combinations, using colors such as sable brown-neva gray or space gray-macchiato beige.
Enough happens inside the booth to keep everyone entertained. The passenger display allows them to access navigation and entertainment features as well as media. Although if the driver looks at the screen, it goes dark so as not to be distracting. Entertainment screens are mounted to the rear of each front seat for second-row passengers.
For the EQS, Mercedes has developed a series of programs under the umbrella of “energizing comfort”, which is intended to engage your senses and put you at ease while driving.
Three “Energizing Nature” programs, Forest Glade, Sound of the Sea and Summer Rain, import natural sounds and fragrances into the cabin to provide an antidote to the grinds of daily driving.
The car also includes electrically intelligent navigation, which maps routes for speed and comfort with charging stops included. The system is capable of adapting to traffic conditions and driving styles.
ECO Charging works to preserve SUV battery life by reducing battery charge during charging, enforcing an 80 percent charge limit and delaying charging based on the departure time set by the customer.
A Driving Assistance Package is standard, including Active Driving Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Brake Assist. To navigate tight parking spaces and driveways, parking assist with a surround-view camera is also standard.
Mercedes expects the EQS SUV to hit showrooms in the fall. Pricing details have yet to be announced. The EQS sedan starts at $102,310, with the SUV expected to be more expensive.
The EQS SUV will be compared to the 2022 Tesla Model X and 2022 BMW iX, which start at $114,990 and $83,200, respectively. The segment is expected to become more crowded in the near future with the arrival of the 2022 Rivian R1S, starting at $72,500, and the 2023 GMC Hummer EV SUV, starting at $79,995.
The R1S is standard with three rows, while the Hummer only has two.
At a recent virtual roundtable, Britta Seeger, a member of the Mercedes-Benz sales and marketing board, told reporters that the EQS SUV is not expected to take sales away from the sedan variant.
“As we are seeing this in the [internal combustion engine] world, [the segments] they don’t compete with each other because from now on we see totally different customer needs and wants,” he explained. “And this is also true for electric vehicles.”