Mercedes-Benz: Modern luxury meets stylish electric SUV

Mercedes South Africa is actively working to make its entire passenger model range available to customers locally, which includes fully electrically powered cars.

In the sedan range, there are the A, B, C, E and S classes, which are available for sale with a variety of petrol and diesel engines. Two years ago, the full electric versions were introduced in South Africa as the EQA, EQB, EQC, EQE and the top-class EQS.

At the end of last year, Mercedes SA also launched certain SUV models with only electric drives.

The EQS SUV is built at Mercedes' plant in Tuscaloosa, USA and is available in five or seven seats with different power outputs.

We recently tested the five-seater EQS SUV 450 4Matic with AMG-Line trim for a week.

Design and appearance

The EQS version has a much more modern and rounded look than the standard GLS, but is still impressive in appearance, with the futuristic front end in particular turning heads.

With the AMG-Line exterior trim, the large 22” decorative wheels and low-profile tyres are strikingly sporty. The EQS SUV is 5 125 metres long, 1 959 metres wide, and has a total height of 1 718 meters. The wheelbase of 3 210 metres is similar to the EQS sedan, and our five-seat model's rear cargo space can take 645 litres of luggage.

Mercedes-Benz describes the EQS SUV in its marketing material as "redefined SUV luxury," and given the opulent opulence and luxury of the regular GLS, the EQS SUV can honestly be described as a blend of extravagant luxury with impressive modern technology and equipment.

In our opinion, the interior of the EQS SUV 450 as tested features the most luxurious cabin with the highest levels of technology and equipment we have ever experienced in any Mercedes vehicle.

The list of standard equipment is hopelessly too long to mention here, while the cabin's impressive layout, opulence and appearance can best be described in a photo.

Driver assistance systems

The EQS SUV's MBUX full-colour hyperscreen, for example, is 141 cm in length from side to side. This includes the 12.3" instrument panel, a 17.7" infotainment screen, and a 12.3" display screen for the front passenger!

The EQS SUV is equipped with the latest and most advanced driver assistance systems and active and passive safety systems, including things like active distance assist, active blind-spot assist with exit warning functions, active lane-keep assist, active steering assist, evasive steering assist, and brake assist with cross-traffic monitoring, to name just a few.

Should any of these systems' software become out of order or need to be updated, owners can do so at any time with the help of the EQS SUV's built-in data and communications connectivity system. The equipment and assistance systems are legion and include, among others, trailer manoeuvring assist, traffic sign assist, augmented reality navigation, energising comfort and energising coast, increased rear-axle steering angles, beginner's driving mode, parking service mode, a dashcam, the AMG Track Pack, and the individualisation package.

Drive and power delivery

Our test model, the EQS 450 4Matic, which sends power to all four wheels, is driven by an electric motor on each axle and offers a maximum power output of 265 kW and 800 Nm powered by a battery pack that has a usable capacity of 108.4 kWh. When fully charged and in ideal conditions, it will allow a range of more than 530 km if the electric use can be maintained between 18.6 and 23.0 kWh/100km.

During our week of mostly long-distance driving at a maximum of 110 km/h, we could never get more than 400 km. Mercedes says that when a 200 kW fast charger is used, 250 km can be added to the range for every 15 minutes of recharging time.

According to Mercedes, the technology used in the batteries is so advanced that the battery can be guaranteed for 10 years, or 250 000 km, and that thereafter it will still have 70% of the capacity available.

Power delivery is immediate and quite impressive, with the EQS 450 4Matic SUV's 0-100 km/h run taking just 6 seconds, while top speed is claimed at 210 km/h.

Road dynamics and handling

Mercedes' R&D team adapted the existing air suspension system on the GLS for the EQS SUV and allows the ground clearance to remain unchanged regardless of the cargo or weight loaded into the EQS SUV. The system can also adjust the ride height by 25 mm with the push of a button in the cabin, depending on the road and driving conditions, while the speed is below 60 km/h. The altitude will automatically return to normal should the speed rise above 70 km/h.

If the driver chooses the comfort or sport modes, the vehicle will lower by 10 mm and 15 mm, respectively, when the speed goes above 110 km/h to minimise air resistance.

The EQS SUV's gearbox has a torque shift function that, during a trip, constantly shifts the power to the wheels where it is most needed. The system uses five different modes to make the most of a variety of driving conditions, including, among other things, off-road, snow/ice, energy efficiency, energy recovery power and traction/acceleration.

In a nutshell

The EQS SUV offers a sublime ride on dirt and tar roads in an astonishingly quiet and sophisticated cabin. In our opinion, this is the best ride in any Mercedes to date. Grip, handling and road dynamics that include balance through corners and underbraking are as they should be in a luxurious large vehicle.


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