Test Driving Mercedes’ First All-Electric SUV, The EQS 580 4Matic

Mercedes’ luxurious EQS SUV boasts 536 horsepower, real off-road capability, solid range, and an insane array of tech features.

(Mercedes-Benz North America)

I took the four-wheel-drive version of the Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic on a 500-mile road trip to experience the speed, the comfort, the range, and the tech that make it a potential Tesla Model X killer. All along the way, the 285-mile range did away with my usual EV anxiety and allowed for just two short stops topping it up to 80%.

The power and torque were head-spinning, especially merging into freeway traffic from on-ramps. And the sheer amount and variety tech on tap was a vision of the future—from the massive Hyperscreen dashboard to the augmented reality HUD, to the multisensory sound, scent, and air treatments to keep you alert behind the wheel. It’s a pricey ride, with the 4MATIC 580 starting just shy of $126,000, but nothing was spared in creating it. 

More Maxim Videos

Design & Interior

(Mercedes-Benz North America)

The EQS 580 SUV is built on the same platform as the EQS 580 sedan. The SUV has the rounded silhouette of a crossover, but the bold fascia with Benz tri-star and the 21-inch performance wheels balance the overall visual impression. 

Climbing inside the cabin is where things really get interesting. The first thing you notice about the interior is the uninterrupted glass dashboard running from A-pillar to A-pillar, a 56-inch display Mercedes calls a “Hyperscreen,” which seamlessly incorporates three touchscreen OLED panels.

(Mercedes-Benz North America)

The passenger side of the Hyperscreen is fully controllable by the passenger for controlling the car’s tech features or streaming video. But if the driver tries to watch, on-board cameras will catch them looking and the entertainment will automatically pause until the driver puts their eyes back on the road. Everything else about the interior—the butter-soft perforated leather, the precise Burmeister sound system, the programmable accent lights—are all impressive, but the Hyperscreen steals the show. 

Augmented Reality is implemented very well in systems like the “multi-sensory experiences.” With names like Forest Glade and Sounds of the Sea, these programs play sounds of the forest or ocean while blowing cool air on you and pumping subtle scents into the air to keep you alert. I discovered the feature by accident by clicking “OK” to a suggestion from the Hyperscreen, and I didn’t know what was happening when a pleasant smell filled the cabin. 

But the AR tech I enjoyed the most was the Head’s Up Display. The intelligent ways in which it helps make driving safer and less draining would be welcome in any car.

Signal a left turn, and the HUD creates an arrow overlay that guides your lane change visually and lets you know if it’s safe then disappears as soon as you complete the lane change. The HUD also has a graphic overlay highlighting the bumper of the car ahead of you, which makes it very easy to maintain awareness of your following distance. These details made the normal act of freeway driving easier, less tiresome, and less stressful, without ever being a distraction. 

The panoramic moon roof makes the interior feel expansive, and the EQS 580 SUV can be ordered with a third row. Cargo space is 31 cu-ft, though slightly less with the third-row option.  This is not a hauler for Home Depot runs, but it can certainly handle a road trip for four with ease. 

Driving Experience, Range & Performance

(Mercedes-Benz North America)

The EQS SUV has slightly less range than the sedan sibling, though it’s still very good. And charge time is great—at a DC fast-charging station, it can charge from 10-80% in 31 minutes. With 285 miles of range for the 4MATIC version, I found it plenty to make a 210-mile round trip with two brief stops to get it back to 80%, so long as it was plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet at a rental house when not in use. 

The EQS 580’s ride is whisper quiet thanks to its extensive sound insulation. It’s powered by dual front and rear motors, and the 536-horsepower and 633 pound-feet of torque is dramatic when you put it in Sport Mode or give it full power in any mode. Mercedes clocks zero to 60 mph at 4.5 seconds, but in practice all you know is that it’s far faster than you’d ever need a car to be.

The rear-axle steering makes it incredibly agile, and the turning radius was shockingly good—it’s like turning in a golf cart. The adjustable air suspension keeps the car low for maximum efficiency on the freeway, but then raises for off-road driving to increase ground clearance. 

Final Thoughts

(Mercedes-Benz North America)

It’s easy to assume that no one would buy this for off-roading. But I’m someone who frequents the North Carolina mountains and stays in cabins with access roads requiring four-wheel-drive, where 90% of the drive is on the freeway but the last 10% is off-road. This single vehicle can do it all, making its appeal undeniable.

The EQS 580 4MATIC is an uncompromising vehicle inside and out. You get what you pay for, but you do pay a lot. That said, if you want the most advanced technology at your fingertips and serene comfort in an all-electric SUV with range that won’t cause you stress, this is as good as it gets. 

Tags: