Mercedes debuted the zero-emissions EQS SUV, the S-Class of electric SUVs. Mercedes has no further plans to work on new gasoline or diesel vehicles.
It comes in two models: RWD 450+ and AWD 580 4Matic.
Pricing and availability aren't released, but expect it to be into the six figures.
With all the development work now finished on the last of its internal-combustion C-, E-, and S-Class siblings, Mercedes has no plans whatsoever for further work on new gasoline or diesel sedans, coupes, or SUVs. No more development of piston-powered cars, at least at Mercedes-Benz.
“From a development perspective, everything that we're currently developing from now on will be EV-only,” said Christoph Starzynski, vice president of electric drive at Mercedes. “The next S-Class will be fully electric only, there will be no ICE or hybrid version anymore as of right now.”
Looking at photos and specs of this latest BEV from MB, the big, beautiful, bulbous EQS SUV—the S-Class of electric sport utilities—things look like they’re gonna be all right.
While U.S. specs aren’t out yet, and while specs used for the European market are usually “optimistic” compared to what we get here from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the new EQS SUV has a range of 660 kilometers, or 410 miles from a 107.8-kWh battery. While our U.S.-spec, SAE range might be shorter, that will still get you all the way from LA to Las Vegas and partway back in comfort.
And yes, the new flagship sport ute—to be assembled at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama—looks like it’ll be at least as comfortable as the EQS sedan with which it shares its architecture, its battery, and many of its interior amenities. Maybe more so.
“The EQS SUV offers plenty of space, comfort and connectivity for up to seven passengers in its avant-garde, luxurious interior,” Mercedes promises. “Thanks to powerful electric motors, responsive 4Matic all-wheel drive and an intelligent Offroad driving mode, the EQS SUV is capable of tackling light terrain with ease.”
It shares the same 126-inch wheelbase as the sedan but, being an SUV, its roof is almost eight inches higher. So there’s loads more room inside. The second-row seats are electrically adjustable, and you can even order your EQS SUV with a third row for seating up to seven. You can also order the MBUX Hyperscreen (or get it standard on the 580 4Matic trim).
MBUX stands for Mercedes-Benz User Experience and offers what’s promised to be “zero-layer design,” meaning “the user does not have to scroll through submenus or give voice commands. The key applications are always offered on the top level field of vision depending on the situation and context.” You can do that when you have an entire dashboard to spread out your menus, practically from A-pillar to A-pillar.
MBUX even suggests infotainment, comfort, and vehicle functions for you. The ginormous, curved Hyperscreen also offers the front-seat passengers their own 12.3-inch OLED display to watch movies—at least in Europe—and maybe eventually in the U.S. With that system, the car even knows if the driver looks at that passenger movie screen and shuts it off until his or her eyeballs are back on the road.
The EQS SUV will come in two models for the American market: the RWD 450+ and the AWD 580 4Matic. The 450+ delivers 355 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque while the 580 churns out 536 hp and 633 lb-ft, in case you have any stumps to pull.
Both models get “permanently excited” synchronous motors. The 450+ gets one for the rear axle and the 580 gets two, one on each axle. On the AWD 4Matic model, the Torque Shift function manages optimum distribution of torque between the front and rear ends. (And just what does “permanently excited” mean? “On a PSM, the rotor of the AC motor is fitted with permanent magnets and therefore does not need to be supplied with power. The magnets—and thus the rotor—follow the rotating alternating current field in the stator windings.”)
Regenerative braking can be fine-tuned to D+ (which is like coasting), D-auto (standard regen), or D- (the strongest level of regen). In D- mode you get one-pedal driving—lifting completely off the accelerator is like stepping on the brake pedal.
It’s all about efficiency, as is the case with electric cars. The outside is, too. Reminiscent of the EQS sedan, it also sports a rounded, wind-cheating shape.
“The first car of that electric vehicle architecture that we introduced just last year, the EQS sedan, speaking about aerodynamics, it’s the best production car in the market,” said Robert Lesnick, head of exterior design for Mercedes. “Obviously, with a higher-riding SUV, it's really not possible to achieve the same drag coefficient, but our goal is to be the best in that segment as well. Definitely, I will say that its design was influenced by aerodynamics, therefore the car is lower than you might expect, and looks maybe a little bit more, I would say, compact than it is. I mean, we're still talking about a 5.1-meter long car.”
That’s 200.8 inches, or a few inches shorter than, say, a Toyota Sequoia. But the overall look is more like the EQS sedan with which it shares part of its name. That double-naming may be confusing, or it may not. Once the ICE-powered models go away, Mercedes might return to a simpler naming scheme, but for now, remember to add “SUV” to your EQS when talking about this ute.
Mercedes did not release pricing (the EQS sedan starts at just over $100k) or a delivery date. Speculation says the launch will likely be this summer, with deliveries some time in the second half of this year. When that happens, we’re looking forward to trying out Mercedes me Charge, one of the largest networks in the US with more than 60,000 chargers, as well as Offroad mode, which raises the car about an inch.
There's also rear-wheel steering that can go out of phase by 10 degrees, and occupants can float along on the standard AirMatic air suspension, which combines air bags with adaptive ADS+ dampers that can be varied automatically at each wheel in both the compression and rebound stages.
We tried out the EQS sedan recently and, after figuring out the whole charging network thing—which isn’t that complicated—really enjoyed living the luxury EV lifestyle. So don’t necessarily be afraid of the coming electric age. We all managed to make the transition from carburetors to fuel injection and from drum brakes to discs. EVs are even easier than those, or any past automotive technology.