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Road tests

New Mercedes EQS SUV 2023 review

The new Mercedes EQS SUV struggles to impress on UK roads with obvious flaws when it comes to the ride

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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The Mercedes EQS SUV is a big car, but not without merit. It’s refined, mostly comfortable, and practical, plus the technology on offer is solid. However, it’s also incredibly pricey and there are obvious flaws when it comes to the ride (in certain situations) and the brakes, which much more affordable EVs aren’t so badly blighted by. The Merc’s range is good, though – and so it should be, for nearly 130 grand.

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Mercedes’ flagship all-electric EQ model has arrived in the UK, with the EQS SUV crowning the range (Maybach EQS SUV notwithstanding). And it certainly has a range-topping price tag to match its status, because this ‘entry-level’ (a relative term, of course) EQS 450 4MATIC SUV costs £129,740 before you’ve even thought about adding any optional extras.

Whether you like the big off-roader’s smooth styling or think it looks like an amorphous blob will be a subjective call. But the shape is driven by the need for this massive machine’s aerodynamic performance to extend its range.

Thanks to a 108.4kWh battery, this EQS 450 can travel up to 364 miles on a charge, according to Mercedes’ claims. You can’t quite expect this level of range in normal driving conditions, but we found the EQS SUV offered more than enough flexibility on this front. It also backed this up with a genuinely refined, premium-feeling experience from behind the wheel.

First of all, the cabin is superbly quiet and nicely trimmed. Our car was fitted with the regular 12.8-inch central touchscreen running the latest MBUX infotainment system, which works well and is packed with features. So much so, in fact, that we’d think twice about adding the optional (£7,995) Hyperscreen package. We had a play with this set-up and, although it’s certainly good and suitably advanced, it’s also very expensive and doesn’t offer all that much more when it comes to day-to-day functionality and features.

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On the move, the EQS SUV is quiet and smooth. The air suspension set-up is soft, so this big machine feels fluid and flowing over rolling tarmac, delivering a good level of comfort on A-roads and motorways. However, sharper bumps highlight the EQS SUV’s colossal 2,805kg kerbweight.

Over potholes and sharper depressions in the tarmac, the suspension thumps. And when you’re braking, it can be so aggressive that it confuses the regenerative and friction brake set-up, so the level of braking drops off momentarily. It’s a disconcerting feeling.

There’s a wider issue with the braking set-up too. The regenerative system is adjustable, with an intelligent mode that works well – the progression in all modes is nice, and slowing down is smooth – but the brake pedal moves of its own accord under your foot as you slow down. So when you need more stopping power, the pedal isn’t quite where you imagine it to be.

Dynamically, with 355bhp and – more importantly – 800Nm of torque, the EQS SUV doesn’t feel its weight in a straight line; performance is smooth and swift. However, you notice that mass in corners, even if the rear-axle steering does help improve agility. But the body roll is relatively well contained, given the car’s brief, so it feels planted, if not all that sharp to drive.

The rear-wheel steering is even more useful in tight spots, because it reduces this vast, 5.1-metre-long car’s turning
circle to about the same size as a family hatchback’s, at just 11 metres.

Inside, there’s plenty of space in the five-seat model we drove, with acres of legroom in the rear. We also jumped into a seven-seat model, but space in the third row is tight and it’ll only be okay for short trips. At least the middle row is still roomy. The 565-litre boot capacity means there’s plenty of practicality on offer in this range-topping Merc, too, with the EQS’s vast cabin also backing this up with good storage.

Model:Mercedes EQS 450 4MATIC SUV
Powertrain:108.4kWh battery/2x e-motors
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive 
0-62mph:6.0 seconds
Top speed:130mph
Range:364 miles
Charging:200kW (10-80% 31mins)
On sale:Now
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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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