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Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2024 review

 

Mercedes-Benz adds another string to its EV bow with the seven-seat EQS 450 SUV, rich with tech and luxury for $194,900. But has the quest for serenity come at the expense of personality?


Good points

  • Remarkable cabin quietness
  • Cossetting air suspension ride
  • Next-level cabin technology
  • 483km range ample and achievable
  • High-quality luxury inclusions
  • Seven-seat versatility

Needs work

  • Expensive move into an EV
  • Lacks some driving personality
  • Third-row seats a pain to raise
  • No bi-directional charging
  • Styling could be more exciting
  • No free public charging anymore

In what feels like a heartbeat, Mercedes-Benz now offers eight full-electric passenger vehicles, with this EQS 450 4Matic SUV the latest to join the party. 

It’s the giant seven-seat SUV version of the EQS sedan – the “pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz electric range,” says the brand – or a battery-powered alternative to the hulking GLS SUV that uses petrol or diesel propulsion. 

It’s a good time for me to test this new $194,900 (plus on-roads) EQS 450 SUV. Not because I’ve suddenly got a salary to afford one, but rather I recently used a petrol-slurping Benz GLS 450 for a week’s family holiday. And loved it.

I declared it a gloriously indulgent spaceship offering luxury transport for seven, so this electric in-house rival has some convincing to do.

Built on Merc’s electric-only EVA2 architecture, the dual-motor EQS 450 is some $23,000 over a GLS 450. That’s significant, though that premium may be swatted away by buyers keen to embrace electrification and the very different driving experience and tech it brings. 

But it’d be remiss of me to not compare the range between refills. The GLS with its 90-litre petrol reservoir manages 978km using quoted 9.2L/100km economy. Our EQS 450 has a WLTP range of 483km – almost dead on half that of its petrol stablemate. 

EV rejectors will (correctly) bang on about them taking much longer to refill too, but it’s pull-your-head-in time. If you regularly travel more than 500km a day (and very few do) an EV isn’t necessarily for you.

If you’re dropping $200k on a luxury electric SUV, I’ve no doubt that you’ve got a large garage, an AC wallbox charger and solar power to top up the EQS 450’s whopping 108kWh battery each night.

Regardless, plumping for an EQS SUV is still something of a dive into the unknown, especially for the Benz faithful. Yes there’s the cutting edge tech, expected capabilities, luxury, comfort and high spec with this new EV, but is there the desirability?

No EQS SUV (nor EQS sedan) offers the heritage and long-held aspirational appeal of a Merc S-Class, our usual reference point for peak Benz ownership.

Benz’s EQ range also misses the visual clout of its combustion cars. The EQS SUV’s excellent (for an SUV) 0.26 drag coefficient – besting a Toyota Prius – means a slippier if less imposing aero body design. To behold, the EQS SUV prioritises smooth style over outright road presence.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 badge

The EQS SUV’s extra trump card is seven seats. Luxury electric SUVs with three rows remain rare in Australia. There’s the incoming Kia EV9 – probably costing close to half the outlay of this EQS – but snobbery reminds Kia’s not a luxury brand. 

The Volvo EX90 SUV’s not here yet and Tesla’s Model X is missing in action, so Merc’s own EQB seven-seater, at $90,700, is your budget alternative.

Large electric SUV rivals like the BMW iX and Audi Q8 55 E-tron both stop at five seats.

What are the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV’s features and options for the price?

You’re buying a mammoth vehicle here. It’s 5125mm long and 1950mm wide, while the wheelbase is a jumbo 3210mm – that’s 180mm longer than the rung down EQE SUV, most of it for the benefit of second-row occupants.

From launch there’s this sole 265kW/800Nm EQS 450 variant. Overseas markets (such as RHD UK) also receive a 400kW/858Nm EQS 580 version. A Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 ultra-luxury model was also unveiled this year, ready for all your dictator roleplaying.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 wheel

Standard features on the EQS 450 include:

  • AMG Line exterior styling
  • 21-inch alloy wheels
  • Digital headlights
  • Keyless Go with seamless door handles
  • Aluminium-look illuminated running boards
  • Acoustic comfort package
  • Metallic paint
  • Electric tailgate
  • Seven seats
  • Leather upholstery
  • 12.8-inch central display screen
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Burmester surround sound
  • Panoramic glass electric sunroof
  • 64-colour ambient lighting
  • Nappa leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Two charging cables (240v household and AC port)
  • Airmatic air suspension
  • Rear axle steering 4.5-degrees
  • Easy Entry electric sliding second-row seat
  • AMG Line interior with comfort seats
  • Power, heated, ventilated and massage front seats
  • Head-up display
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Four-zone climate control

There are a few headline-grabbing options to really treat yourself.

For an extra $11,700 there’s the Comfort Plus Package to go full rockstar limo in the back. Middle row occupants score MBUX high-end rear entertainment with two tablet screens; pillow-like head rests; wireless phone charging and wireless headrests.

It also brings heated seats to the second and third rows and a heated steering wheel – which really should be standard anyway.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 head rest

If you fancy the IMAX-type cinema experience, there’s the $6700 Hyperscreen Package. This delivers a 17.7-inch OLED centre display screen and 12.3-inch front passenger monitor to go with the driver’s 12.3-inch display. For me, the standard festival of screens is enough – I find the Hyperscreen panel simply too large and distracting.

Other options are a $4300 Exclusive Package bringing Nappa leather and microfibre roof liner; there’s greater range of rear axle steering (10 degrees) for $2900; a digital TV tuner for $2500, and 22kW AC charging for $1800.

Unlike the Japanese market, our EQS SUVs don’t enjoy bi-directional charging capability.

How does the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV drive?

This is the quietest cabin I’ve ever been in. And I’ve been testing cars for over 20 years. Sit in the back seats, close your eyes and you genuinely forget you’re in a car.

You’re aware you’re moving, but there’s no sound to suggest how. Even after many hours in the driver and passenger seat, I still can’t decide if I love this absolute serenity or if it’s all just too unusual for my brain to process. I even cracked a window for a while to bring back some normality.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 side driving

But if Mercedes’ job was to out S-Class an S-Class, it feels like the job is done.

The included Acoustic Comfort package brings laminated safety glass with acoustic- and infrared-protective film layers, reinforced sound-deadening felt and noise insulation on suspension components. With not a hum from the electric motors, you feel truly hermetically sealed.

The air suspension and luxury-packed interior gives an absolute feel of refinement, quality and importance. Just as you should demand from a big buck Benz.

On decent and even half decent roads it’s a confirmed glider. You waft above everything. Road undulations are dealt with in a cushy manner, but find a bigger hit and you’re reminded it is a car after all – we had a couple of wake-up jolts through the suspension to prove it’s not perfect.

At 2918kg – over three tonnes with me and a passenger on board – the EQS SUV’s cornering behaviour is from the physics-defying school. There’s minimal body lean expected of such a tall SUV, grip’s ample and it even turns in sharply and neatly enough if you keep things smooth.

In Sport mode the air suspension drops to its lowest setting. It feels a bit keener and more eager, and the cabin silence masks how quick you’re travelling. I barrelled into a few corners a touch faster than sensible, and then the EQS SUV really feels its weight and size.

But the sense of safety and competence never deserted it, and the rear-wheel steer is an ideal addition to this lump of an SUV. At low speeds, certainly, its turning circle leaves you wide-mouthed impressed. It’s not quite a Kia Picanto, but your expected 13-point turn never materialises.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 wheels turning

I’ve focused so much on the ride quality and quietness because those are the aspects that left the greatest impression. To actually pilot the EQS 450 SUV, as an experience, doesn’t stir the soul.

It’s quick enough – the 265kW and 800Nm combination from twin electric motors means 100km/h is there in just six seconds – but emotional connection’s hard to find.

The lack of any noise is the main culprit, but the sheer weight of this thing means you pine for relaxed highway drives rather than a city dash or fun back road.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 driving rear

Steering wheel paddles cover regeneration, and if you hold the right hand one it goes into regen auto mode, and just about drives for you. It takes care of braking, which can be disconcerting as the brake pedal disappears closer to the floor without you touching it. Brake feel, then, is somewhat absent.

We had no opportunity to head off-road – I don’t imagine any owner would anyway – but it’s worth noting the air suspension allows 220mm ground clearance in ‘off road’ mode. That rear-steer and instant EV torque (cleverly controlled in the off road setting) would make this a competent if rather unusual thing to take bushwhacking.

What is the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV’s interior and tech like?

Palatial is a word springing to mind when inside.

While some sub-$100k Benzes lack polish, this EQS 450 feels Real Deal Merc with a side helping of ultra-luxe. Throw in cavernous space for front and middle seat occupants – plus reasonable room for third-row travellers – and it’s a mightily covetable large SUV.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 interior

Slide into the driver’s chair and the material quality is sublime. Upgrading to Nappa looks unnecessary as the perforated leather trim is sink-in, while head rest cushions feel like you’ve cosied into a warm bed in a Presidential Suite.

Why the hell aren’t such cushions standard on all cars? The cost to fit them must be minimal.

The screen duo – driver display and infotainment – are crystal clear, intuitive and imposing, although to get the best from them you need a deep dive and lots of practice. Same with the steering wheel swipe buttons: there’s so many to take in you feel overwhelmed.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 interior close

Benz’s Hyperscreen is optional, but demanding more screen real estate feels greedy. That said, the slate cliff-like slab of trim in front of the passenger would be replaced with a monitor.

With electric everything, heating and massaging seats in action and the array of ambient colour choices, there’s indulgence overload.

The trim, armrests, turbine air vents, flat-bottom steering wheel, touch buttons, central storage area and even the regeneration paddles ooze class. Thrills may be rare when actually driving this EQS, but outright comfort and specialness runneth over.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 rear vents

Middle row seats and that long wheelbase mean exceptional rear leg room, while head room under the panoramic roof is also generous. Seat comfort’s lush – the centre seat tolerable for adults – with an electric recline to ease into a long journey. Separate digital climate control back here’s also a boon.

I know a car like this must be electric everything, but power sliding the rear seats and using a button to fold them for third row access isn’t fun for time-hungry folk. Yes it’s fancy and cool, but good grief it’d be quicker with a grab handle and quick-fold.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 rear seat buttons

That said, the third row seats aren’t electric and can only be raised using a handle at the top of the seat back. If you’re accessing these seats through the boot, there’s no handy strap to pull them into position.

Instead, you must clamber into the boot (not elegant) and struggle to raise them. It’s terribly impractical, so compels you to go through a rear door and wait for the electric seat origami to complete. Now you can hop into the rear footwell and raise seats six and seven. It shouldn’t be this hard.

Once in the back, six-foot me was crammed in, especially my knees. The middle seats must be moved fully forward (there’s up to 130mm adjustment) to give adults a fighting chance in the third row. But for kids it’d be ample, plus there are vents, USB ports, phone storage and bottle holders to go with the quality finish everywhere.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 boot

With many ways to fold and move seats, boot space volume can be jiggled to suit. With all seats in place there’s 195L, and with the two rear chairs folded there’s between 565L and 800L, depending how much you slide forward the middle row. Fold the second row completely and there’s 1395L.

For reference, a BMW iX manages only 500L and an Audi Q8 55 e-tron 569L with five seats in place.

Is the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV a safe car?

While there’s no ANCAP safety test result for the EQS SUV yet, its sedan-bodied alternative EQS scored a maximum five stars in its 2021 test.

It returned an excellent 96 percent adult occupant protection; 93 percent child occupant protection; 76 percent vulnerable road user protection and 80 percent for safety assist.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 front 3/4

Standard safety equipment in the EQS 450 includes:

  • Auto emergency braking
  • Active lane keep assist
  • Active lane change assist
  • Active steering assist
  • Pre-safe impulse side accident preparation system
  • Radar adaptive cruise control
  • Traffic jam assist
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Route-based speed adaptation
  • Head-up display

For anti-theft Guard 360 Vehicle Protection Plus you’ll need an extra $1600, while the MBUX augmented reality head-up display is $2100.

What are the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV ownership costs?

Luxury brands tend to offer complimentary public fast charging through the ChargeFox network, but Mercedes has dropped this sweetener, apparently due to so few owners using it.

Electric BMW, Porsche, Lexus, Genesis and Audi buyers score from three to six years free public charging. For those who regularly charge their prestige EVs at public stations, Benz’s decision may push buyers into rivals’ hands.

Energy use on our test varied wildly. Our first 60km involving hills and traffic returned a heavy 32kWh/100km use. We managed to drop this to a far more palatable 19.5kWh/100km after 160km, and noted over the previous 1300km the use was 24kWh/100km.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 screen

Benz’s claimed energy use is between 20.2 and 24.3kWh/100km, depending on recuperation.

Its WLTP range of 483km is just shy of the psychologically-pleasing 500km, but at least it looks a trustworthy figure according to our energy use on test.

The included 11kW AC charger (for a home wallbox, which isn’t included) fills the battery in ten hours. Option the 22kW charger (if you have three phase power) and the job’s done in five hours.

The mega 108kWh battery and 400v architecture accepts up to 200kW DC public charging. Going from 10 to 80 percent charge takes 31 minutes if you can snare an ultra-fast charger.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 badge

Service intervals are every year or 25,000km – ideal if you’re a heavy user. But despite the original promise EVs wouldn’t cost much to service, there’s still a decent outlay needed when making the annual trip to the dealer.

Benz offers service plans of three years for $2350, four years for $3695 and five years for $4280. Not cheap, but remember a five year service plan for a combustion engine GLS 450 is $7225.

Mercedes-Benz gives a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, while its high-voltage battery is covered for ten years/250,000km – promising to retain at least 70 percent usable charge after that time.

The honest verdict on the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV

Delivers superbly in terms of comfort, technology, cabin class and utmost drive serenity.

The material quality throughout and refinement ensures the EQS 450 SUV feels every inch its chunky $194,900 asking price.

The 483km range should satisfy most buyers, charging’s rapid enough, and seating for seven makes its versatility rare in the prestige electric SUV space.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 SUV 2023 front far

But can it persuade large SUV shoppers to pay more over its GLS 450 equivalent? This petrol or diesel alternative offers more imposing styling and a more characterful drive. In the quest to be ultra quiet and ultra polished, the EQS 450 SUV is a bit lacking in personality.

But for those demanding the ultimate in spacious, indulgent EV transportation for up to seven, this mighty Benz is in a class of its own.

Overall rating
Overall rating
8.0
Drivability
8.0
Interior
9.0
Running costs
Good
Overall rating
8.0
Drivability
8.0
Interior
9.0
Running costs
Good
$194,900
Details
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges
$204,789

Key specs (as tested)

Engine
Cylinders
APPLICABLE
Induction
Not
Power
265kW at 0rpm
Torque
800Nm at 0rpm
Power to weight ratio
97kW/tonne
Fuel
Fuel type
ELECTRIC
Fuel capacity
0 litres
Drivetrain
Transmission
Automatic
Drivetrain
All Wheel Drive
Gears
Single gear
Dimensions
Length
5127 mm
Width
2034 mm
Height
1722 mm
Unoccupied weight
2730 kg

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