2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV: Real-World Drive Review (2023)

Mercedes-Benz, a longtime leader in automotive innovation, followed with EQS Sedan with the EQS SUV — both share the same all-electric architecture. The EQS SUV is larger and more spacious than the Sedan, making it more appealing to families, but it also carries a bit more weight, and the mass slightly affects performance.

I tested the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC SUV earlier this year during a full-day drive. I found the hot rod, all-wheel drive flagship rather splendid, yet I wondered if the slower, entry-level, rear-wheel drive model — with a $25,000 cost savings — would suffice. To find out, I recently had the opportunity to spend a week with the EQS 450+ SUV.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV Exterior and Interior

The exterior design of the EQS SUV is best described as modern and aerodynamic without pushing the boundaries of being too futuristic. I’m betting the shape holds up well over time, as most passers-by liked it. The exterior is impressively sleek. Flush (motorized) door handles, and an utterly smooth underbelly help the SUV deliver a drag coefficient of just .26 (in comparison, the Mercedes-Benz GLS has a drag coefficient of .32). The upside to sleekness is reduced cabin noise and increased range. The side running boards, which are essential to that low drag number, are standard fitment — some passengers complained that they made ingress/egress challenging.

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Inside the cabin, occupants are coddled within a strikingly spacious area that beautifully mixes traditional layout with modern. The primary controls (e.g., window switches, light switches, and PRNDL lever) are precisely where a Mercedes-Benz owner would expect them. Secondary controls are found on the digital display after going through an intuitive menu. Call out “Hey Mercedes,” and the virtual assistant will accomplish most tasks via simple voice control, with directional accuracy (the assistant knows whether the driver or front passenger is asking for massaging seats). My test vehicle did not have the 56-inch wide MBUX Hyperscreen — it was not missed.

The front seats are comfortable, and the view is commanding. The second row is equally as spacious, with a flat floor adding to the openness. Most everyone who rode in the EQS SUV commented on how comfy the second row of seats felt. HVAC vents at the rear of the center console and on the pillars boost air circulation throughout the cabin (3-zone climate control is standard, with up to 5-zone climate control optional). A third row is on the options list, which increases passenger capacity to seven. The rear row is spacious enough for adults but is best suited for children. The second-row splits/folds 40:20:40, while the third-row splits/folds 50:50 to increase utility.

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV powerplant

Mercedes offers the EQS SUV in three different configurations, with the 450+ model slotted as the entry-level model. The EQS 450+ SUV is fitted with a single 265 kW motor on the rear axle, thus a rear-wheel drive configuration. The Permanently Excited Synchronous (PSM) motor, mated to a single-speed gearbox, provides 355 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque that enables the 5,963-pound SUV to accelerate from 0-60 mph in about 6.5 seconds — quicker than most other SUVs.

The vehicle is fitted with a 108.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers approximately 305 miles of driving range, says Mercedes-Benz. However, during my week with the SUV, I recharged on my home 50A Level 2 charger overnight and would wake to 323-343 miles of range showing on the vehicle’s dashboard display. Real-world driving supported this extended range — my wife and I drove 207 miles across the expansive LA Basin one day (ambient temperatures of about 60°F and an average speed of approximately 70 mph), and we arrived home with 116 miles of range remaining, which indicates a true range of 323 miles.

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Ideally, EV owners will have a Level 2 charger at home, so their battery is replenished overnight — 300 miles of range should cover just about every daily driving need outside a road trip. If away from home, the EQS SUV supports DC fast charging that can restore 80 percent of battery charge in fewer than 30 minutes (American EQS SUV drivers will get two years of free charging with Electrify America through the Mercedes Me Charge). One of the only shortcomings I found with the Mercedes was the lack of an illuminating light on the recharging port – when plugging it in at night, I needed to pull out my mobile phone flashlight to line up the charger with the receptacle correctly.

How does the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV drive?

Befitting a world-class luxury SUV, the EQS SUV glides effortlessly down the road. The cabin is nearly silent, except for the occasional muffled road noise when the tires drive over broken pavement or rough asphalt aggregate. Conversations with other passengers are easy — you can whisper to each other. I’ve tested hundreds of vehicles over the past two decades, and the EQS SUV may be the quietest I’ve ever reviewed.

After spending time in the 536-hp EQS 580 4MATIC SUV, I was worried that the 355-hp EQS 450+ SUV would feel underpowered — yet that was never the case. The acceleration from the rear motor is strong, even with four adults on board, and I never felt the need for more power while merging in traffic or driving up steep grades (unless you are a horsepower junkie, the 450+ should be more than adequate). ESP, the name Mercedes Benz gives to its electronic stability control, deserves a shout-out. It rained while I was reviewing the EQS SUV, and the road was very slick, yet the digital ESP kept the rear-wheel drive SUV planted and stable regardless of the available traction.

I left the DYNAMIC SELECT driving program in COMFORT nearly all the time, setting the tone for relaxed suspension damping and easy steering effort. The overall ride is elegant — graceful — with well-controlled body movements. The belly-mounted battery pack (within its armored protective shield) acts like a large mass damper, which effectively erases the annoying jiggles and bumps that most vehicles struggle with.

The EQS SUV feels and drives like a very large vehicle. You can sense the mass of the SUV from behind the steering wheel, but it never feels ponderous or floaty. Instead, it adds to the sense of luxury and security (passengers commented that they “felt safe” inside the Mercedes-Benz). Standard rear-axle steering, with the ability to deliver up to 10 degrees of steering for the back wheels, makes low-speed maneuvering a breeze — the EQS SUV can make an effortless U-turn in most two-lane neighborhood streets and grab tight mall parking spaces without needing to back up.

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While the brake pedal feel requires getting used to (it’s a digital-based regeneration system), my stops were smooth after some familiarization. Of course, all EVs offer some type of brake regeneration, and the EQS SUV is no exception. Of the four settings (STRONG, NORMAL, NONE, and INTELLIGENT), I found INTELLIGENT the most useful and least intrusive as it factors in the surroundings (traffic and geography) for predictive assistance.

How much does the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV cost?

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV (rear-wheel drive) starts at $104,400 in Premium Trim, with standard Burmester Sound with Dolby Atmos, heated/ventilated front seats, power 2nd row, and a Panorama roof. The Exclusive trim, which starts at $107,550, adds massaging front seats, front-cabin gesture control, 4-zone climate control with fragrance, and an ionizing purifier. The range-topping Pinnacle Trim adds executive 2nd-row seats, and a luxury armrest with wireless charging starts at $110,190. Finally, the EQS 450 4MATIC SUV, with dual motors (all-wheel drive), starts at $107,400 (the destination charge is $1,150 for all trim levels).

Who should buy a Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV?

Mercedes-Benz targets a very affluent, family-oriented buyer with luxury and comfort at the top of their wish list. This discerning premium shopper is looking for a large SUV/SUV that offers passenger space, utility, and all-weather capability in a pure electric – completely emissions-free – package. Brand and making an intelligent purchase are essential to this buyer. Mercedes-Benz, an automaker that has been in business for over a century, conveys cachet and the reassurance of a nationwide dealer network of more than 380 certified dealers to back its product.

Is the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV a good car?

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Like most advanced vehicles today, which are chock-full of innovative features and sophisticated infotainment systems, it took me about a week to become familiar with the various controls and menus. (On that note, don’t allow the overwhelming technology to intimidate you during a test drive.) But, after that brief acquaintance, the EQS SUV emerged as a luxury SUV that was comfortable and effortless to drive – and my family looked forward to riding in.

As far as 5- to 7-passenger pure-electric luxury SUVs are concerned, there is no better choice today. The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ SUV is the segment benchmark for style, innovation, technology, and lavishness. It’s on my highly recommended list.

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