The big three-row market of luxury SUV offerings are now a six-digit market.
Some might have a starting price under $100,000, but most are selling at or above that. Most luxury buyers don’t do base models. Those who do are buying the nameplate, not the vehicle itself.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is, like most luxury models, a lot of letters and numbers that mean little to the average person on the street. Gone are the glory days when longer names with more syllables and added suffixes directly correlated with the car’s cost. Instead, we just get a lot of semi-random capital letters followed by nonsensical numbers that may or may not have something to do with the engine, or whatever.
I blame this sort of thing on people not caring about car model names and always just referring to their vehicles by the brand. This one is destined to just be called “the Mercedes” by its owners. As compared to my family’s van, which we call Smurpy.
Because cars should have names. They’re part of the family.
Outside of its naming, however, the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 X4 SUV is a great three-row vehicle. It happens to be electric, however, which will automatically make it akin to Satan in the eyes of many Wyomingites.
Mutterings of Azazel aside, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is a solid three-row despite its powertrain. Its sleek appearance and strong performance are Mercedes’ hallmarks, but its actually useful third row and extremely luxurious interior are this SUV’s highest points.
This is premium luxury at its finest, even in the very back.
There are three model options for the 2023 EQS SUV.
· The first is the 450+, which is rear-wheel drive with 355 horsepower and 419 pound-feet of torque from its single electric motor.
· The EQS 450 4Matic is next, with the same 355 horsepower, but more torque at 590 pound-feet thanks to an added motor to give that model all-wheel drive.
· The similarly dual-motor EQS 580 4Matic, which is what I drove, ups power output to 536 hp and 633 pound-feet in its AWD setup.
All three models come standard as two-row offerings, but a third row is available for all of them as an upgrade. It’s worth noting that the second and third rows fold flat, which is not always the case in these higher-end sport utilities.
All three of the EQS models use the same 108.4 kWh battery pack, which is mounted under the floor. This means a low center of gravity and a more car-like drive quality for the big SUV despite its bulk.
The EPA’s estimated range for the battery is between 285 and 305 miles, depending on the model. DC fast charging (which won’t be found in Wyoming yet) is available in the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV as standard. This means an 80% charge in about 30 minutes. My charging unit at home, which is a 240V/50A unit, charges this SUV in about eight hours from near empty.
In the real world, I was able to achieve just under 2.3 miles per kWh in the big Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 SUV. For something this large, that is not bad. Its EPA rating would put it at about 2.6m/kWh, for those wondering.
Since I rarely get the MPG rating for gasoline or diesel vehicles when test driving here in Wyoming, it’s no surprise that the real-world test of this one isn’t the same either.
For luxury trappings, this Mercedes has just about everything. Heated and cooled seats? Yeah, that was luxurious in 2010. Now they also have massage, plus lighting and ambiance to go with that. And a natural voice infotainment that you can talk to like you do your Google puck or Alexa device.
“How can I help?”
“Tell me a joke.”
“I’m sorry, I cannot do that. My engineers were German.”
Aside from that clever inside joke Easter egg, the EQS’s MBUX infotainment interface lets you do just about everything on the fly.
Need navigation? Radio station change? Those massaging seats to turn on? Just ask for it. Eyes stay on the road.
A few other manufacturers are starting to pick up on this, and it’s appearing in their vehicles as well. Soon, those giant screens will be obsolete. Thank the gods.
Pricing for the new 2023 EQS SUV starts at $105,395, plus shipping. The 580 that I drove has a starting price of about $127,000. Package additions and destination charges pushed that to about $145,000 on my test model.
If you think that seems like a lot of money to pay for a vehicle, then you’re definitely not in the large luxury SUV market right now. The most recent Cadillac Escalade and BMW X7 I’ve driven (both gasoline-powered models) had similar price tags.
When you get into that kind of price range, though, it’s hard to find things wrong with a vehicle. I found little to dislike about the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV. Most of those things are personal preference. I’m not a fan of white paint, for example.
This Mercedes is fine luxury driving. Sitting behind the wheel, whether driving or just waiting in a parking lot for someone, it’s as good as luxury gets.
After this, you’re probably the passenger talking to Jeeves up front about where you want to go while making financial power moves with a broker on the phone. Or whatever it is the 1% does while in a car.