What’s the first upper-large luxury electric SUV in Aus really like? Drive


What’s it like to live with the first upper-large luxury electric SUV in Australia? We grab time in Mercedes’s biggest battery-powered vehicle to find out.

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What we love
  • Luxurious, comfortable, quiet interior 
  • Powertrain and suspension deliver on the premium promise
  • Easy to drive despite its size and weight 
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What we don’t
  • Underwhelming recharge speed
  • No private vehicle should be this heavy
  • Servicing costs are excessive

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS450 4Matic SUV

Competition is hotting up in the electrified prestige SUV market as brands fight for tech-savvy business at the top end of town.

Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to battery electric vehicles (BEVs), with four SUV offerings ranging in size from the compact EQA right up to the EQE large SUV. Now, with the even bigger EQS making it five, Mercedes has become the first to market in Australia with an ‘upper large’ segment luxury EV.

This line-up gives Mercedes-Benz unrivalled market coverage among its peers, and an unchallenged flagship – at least until Range Rover launches its first luxury EV later in 2024 or early 2025.

How much is a Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV?

The Mercedes-Benz EQS450 – the SUV, and not to be confused with the sedan of the same name – is available in three performance levels in overseas markets, only one of which is offered in Australia. The EQS450 4Matic is priced from $194,900 before on-road costs, or $204,047 drive-away, before any options are added.

The basic mechanical configuration utilises two electric motors (one for each axle) producing a combined 265kW and 800Nm. That’s good enough, says Mercedes-Benz, for 0–100km/h in 6.0 seconds and a driving range of 592km from its 108kWh battery.

It’s fair to say, however, that dynamic driving is not what the EQS450 is about. The EQS’s mission is to provide an electrically powered mobile lounge room to ensure its owner and other occupants get from A to B in luxury befitting the Mercedes-Benz brand.

That’s why it has ‘Digital Light’ matrix LED headlights of 1.3 million micro-mirrors to shape the beam for maximum penetration and minimal blinding of other road users.

There’s also Airmatic air suspension, rear-wheel steering up to 4.5 degrees, a panoramic glass sunroof, quad-zone climate control, a 15-speaker Burmester surround-sound system, 360-degree camera, metallic paint, a head-up display and full smartphone integration, including a wireless charging mat.

Arguably, the most eye-catching element of the Mercedes-Benz EQS catalog is the ‘Hyperscreen’ which, for an additional $6700, replaces the infotainment and instrument cluster screens with one epic 144cm in-dash display.

It’s actually three screens housed behind one incredible sweep of glass, but it’s one hell of a talking point for owners. Sadly, we won’t be talking about it any more because it wasn’t fitted to our test car.

Key details 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV
Price $194,900 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Obsidian Black Metallic
Options None
Drive-away price $204,047 (Melbourne)
Rivals Mercedes-Benz GLS | Range Rover

How big is a Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV?

The EQS SUV’s cabin is beautifully crafted and composed of high-quality materials, but the first thing that strikes you is the height of the dashboard. It’s very high, and can make smaller passengers – like my 155cm wife – feel claustrophobic in the front passenger seat. But once settled in the driver’s seat, the mood transforms into one of cossetted indulgence.

The deeply comfortable front seats are fully electrically adjustable and have memory settings, four-way lumber support, seat heating and soft-cushion head restraints. Seat cooling and massage functions are optional.

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The turbine-style air vents are a nice touch, as are the highly machined chrome covers for the 15-speaker Burmester sound system’s in-door speakers.

Storage options abound, starting with a deep bin under the armrest and another ahead of it that contains two cupholders and a phone charging mat. It also has a retractable hard cover to hide items within.

The second row of seats is electrically adjustable for slide (130mm) and tilt (18deg) to adjust the balance between space in the second and third rows. Leg room is generous, as is head room.

Access to the third row is via an Easy Entry function that automatically slides the second-row seat forward by 290mm and folds the backrest. It also slides the front-row seat forward to make room for the sliding second-row seat – provided there’s no occupant. Once the third-row occupant is in situ, the system returns first- and second-row seats to their original position.

Space in the third row is adequate for adults under 180cm. There’s even enough room under the seat in front for feet.

There are air vents for both second- and third-row passengers.

The EQS has an electric tailgate, as you’d expect, which opens to a generous height of 198cm.

There is just 195 litres of cargo space in seven-seat configuration, which is enough for two or three overnight bags. In five-seat mode, there’s a more generous 565L of cargo space growing to 880L if the second row is slid forward. Maximum luggage space with the second rows folded is 2020L.

It’s worth noting that all EQS variants have a maximum payload of 582kg, which must account for up to seven occupants and their luggage.

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV
Seats Seven
Boot volume 195L to third row
880L to second row
2020L to first row
Length 5125mm
Width 1959mm
Height 1718mm
Wheelbase 3210mm

Does the Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

Fitted as standard in the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is a 12.3-inch digital instrument display and 12.8-inch multimedia touchscreen running Mercedes’s MBUX software that uses AI to place the most-used functions on the home screen.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone are standard, along with a 360-degree camera projection, 710W Burmester 15-speaker surround-sound system, DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation and Bluetooth media integration.

The EQS SUV’s Dolby Atmos sound system has the power to let listeners position certain instruments or vocal tracks around the listening area. Because of course it does.

All systems can be used via the touchscreen or vocally via the “Hey Mercedes” sound prompt.

The 12.3-inch driver’s display is assisted by an impressively large, clear head-up display that directly projects critical driving data onto the windscreen.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS range features OTA (Over The Air update) capabilities that provide software updates outside service centre visits. Overseas, Mercedes expands on this with downloadable product enhancements, such as 11-degree rear steering and augmented reality navigation.

Mercedes-Benz offers vehicle to smartphone integration via the Mercedes Me app. This allows owners to honk the horn, check mileage and tyre pressures, lock and unlock the doors, adjust climate settings, and preload driving routes into the navigation.

Is the Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV a safe car?

ANCAP hasn’t tested an EQS SUV yet – and is unlikely to – but the EQS sedan was tested by Euro NCAP in 2021 and received a solid five-star rating.

While the ground-breaking rear-passenger airbags of the new S-Class haven’t carried across into the EQS, the sedan still has a host of safety systems that lead to a 96 per cent adult occupant and 91 per cent child occupant rating.

We cannot, however, assume that the EQS SUV will perform similarly well because it has a different body structure. All we know is that Mercedes-Benz has been steadfast in its commitment to safety for many decades now. So, if its flagship SUV were to score poorly, it would come as a shock to both the company and the industry.

What safety technology does the Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV have?

As one of Mercedes-Benz’s newest and most advanced vehicles, the EQS has almost every active safety system the company can throw at it.

A 10-airbag complement covers all three rows of occupants.

In addition, ISOFIX child seat mounts are fitted to the outboard seats in row two, while all three second-row seatbacks are fitted with top-tether points. There are no child seat restraints in row three.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Yes Includes pedestrian, cyclist, and junction intervention
Adaptive Cruise Control Yes Includes traffic jam assist
Blind Spot Alert Yes Alert and assist functions
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Yes Alert and assist functions
Lane Assistance Yes Lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centring assist
Road Sign Recognition Yes Includes intelligent speed limiter
Driver Attention Warning Yes Includes fatigue monitor and driver attention monitoring
Cameras & Sensors Yes Front, rear, and side sensors, 360-degree camera

How much does the Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV cost to run?

The EQS450 is covered by Mercedes-Benz Australia’s standard five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Service intervals are 12 months or 25,000km, whichever comes first, and can be prepaid at time of purchase – $2350 for a three-year plan, $3695 (four years) and $4280 for five years.

As for how much the $204K EQS450 will cost to insure comprehensively, we received a quote of $6791 from a major insurance company. It’s hard to know if this is affordable or expensive for a vehicle like this because there aren’t any similar vehicles to compare it with.

This quote is for a 35-year-old male living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Battery warranty Eight years, 160,000km
Service intervals 12 months or 25,000km
Servicing costs $2350 (3 years)
$4280 (5 years)

What is the range of a Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV?

Mercedes-Benz claims the EQS450 4Matic will achieve 20.5kWh per 100 kilometres of driving depending on energy-recuperation opportunities and driving conditions. That’s good for 592km of claimed range on a full charge, based on NEDC testing.

During our time with the car, we recorded an average of 26.2kWh/100km, which is a long way from efficient EVs like the lighter and smaller Hyundai Ioniq 6 and Tesla Model 3 (14–16kWh). Realistically, drivers can expect somewhere between 400km and 500km on a full charge.

A fair portion of our driving was freeway commuting, where there’s little chance for the EQS’s energy-recuperation system to do its thing. And, let’s not forget this is a close-to-three-tonne SUV with all the fruit, so it requires a large and heavy 108kWh battery.

Buyers aren’t choosing the EQS because it’s energy-efficient, and they will need to familiarise themselves with their local charging station, especially ones that can re-juice this behemoth at close to its 200kW maximum charging rate.

Charging at home on an 11kW AC system will take around 10 hours, or 16 hours on a 7.4kW system, but if you’re forced to use a 1.5–2kW domestic socket, then firstly it will take days and, secondly, why are you buying a large luxury EV?

Mercedes-Benz offers a 22kW AC upgrade for $1385, which cuts domestic charging time down to five hours or so. The vehicle also comes with a three-year free subscription to ChargeFox, which takes some of the financial burden of recharging off owners.

Helping to recuperate range are four stages of regenerative braking, including a ‘one-pedal’ mode that can bring the car to a standstill. The different modes – D+ (gliding), D (standard recuperation) and D- (enhanced recuperation) as well as D-Auto (which offers situation-adapted energy recovery advice to the driver via an in-dash display) – are accessed via the EQS450’s paddle-shifters on the steering wheel.

Energy efficiency 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV
Energy cons. (claimed) 20.5kWh/100km
Energy cons. (on test) 26.2kWh/100km
Battery size 108kWh
Driving range claim (NEDC) 592km
Charge time (11kW) 10h
Charge time (50kW) 2h 15m
Charge time (200kW max rate) 31m (claimed 10-80%)

What is the Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV like to drive?

Think of the EQS450 4Matic as an SUV limousine and you won’t be disappointed. Its controls are seamless and smooth, its ride is cosseting and comfortable, and the sound isolation is absolutely top-notch.

Driving this car elevates your sense of calm and – it must be said – your sense of self-worth. This is a car that spoils its occupants. It’s obviously at its best wafting serenely through life, but if you need to hurry, the 4Matic’s 800Nm provides ample shove. Mercedes claims a 0–100km/h time of six seconds flat, which is impressive for a vehicle weighing perilously close to three tonnes with driver and passenger on board.

The EQS SUV comes standard with air suspension that also features continuously adjustable damping and adjustable ride height integrated into the vehicle’s Dynamic Select drive modes. Even so, the ride can feel fidgety at times and a touch unsettled, but the overwhelming sensation is one of wafting calmness, which to me feels bang on the target market’s expectations.

Despite its weight, the EQS450 has some dynamic prowess, thanks in part to a lower centre of gravity than its Mercedes-Benz GLS internal combustion equivalent. Putting the air suspension into Sport brings a firmness to the ride that still prioritises ride comfort but ties the big body down well enough through corners.

The EQS450 4Matic is nobody’s idea of a sports car, but in this mode it does feel sporty compared to its stately grace in Comfort mode.

The EQS SUV’s four-wheel-steering system provides up to 4.5 degrees of turn from the rear wheels. Like most four-wheel-steering systems, this one turns in sympathy with the fronts at highway speeds to aid stability, and opposite to the fronts at lower speeds to increase agility.

That four-wheel steering, and in fact all the EQS’s controls, play a role in making the car easier than it should be to manoeuvre in tighter spaces. But it’s still big, and has a monster wheelbase, so it takes a careful driver to not bump gutters and scratch expensive wheels… or worse.

If you want additional peace of mind, Mercedes-Benz will unlock 10 degrees of rear-wheel steer for $2231.

Key details 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV
Engine Dual electric motors
Power 265kW
Torque 800Nm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Single-speed
Power-to-weight ratio 90.8kW/t
Weight (kerb) 2918kg
Spare tyre type None
Payload 582kg
Tow rating 1800kg braked
750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.9m

How much weight can a Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV tow?

Will towing be high on the priorities of a Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV buyer? We think not. But let’s explore this aspect for the sake of thoroughness.

Electric vehicles may have deep initial reserves of torque, but they’re currently not well-suited to towing heavy trailers, horse floats or caravans. A mid-2022 test by US auto website Motor Trend highlighted EV towing weaknesses. In a test with the then-new Ford F-150 Lightning EV Ute, the vehicle’s battery depleted twice as fast with a light trailer and three times as fast with a heavy trailer.

They acknowledged that while an electric vehicle’s powertrain has the torque to pull away from standstill smoothly, its authority wanes quickly, making acceleration at freeway speeds more time-consuming than it otherwise would be.

That said, Mercedes-Benz certifies the EQS450 SUV to tow an unbraked trailer weighing up to 750kg, and a trailer with independent brakes weighing up to 1800kg.

Beyond the issues with using an EV to tow, we also question the likelihood of a luxury SUV buyer using their $200K-plus purchase as a draft horse. But then we’ve seen Range Rovers towing horse floats, so we do not doubt that some buyer, somewhere, will give it a go.

One other factor worth bearing in mind is the EQS SUV’s maximum operating weight (GVM). The EQS450 SUV weighs 2918kg and has a GVM of 3500kg, which leaves 582kg for occupants, luggage and accessories. That’s the equivalent of seven 83kg adults.

Should I buy a Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV?

Chances are, if you’ve got the EQS450 in your gunsights, then only a stock market crash will stop you from buying. There’s simply nothing else like the EQS SUV in the luxury EV space right now to tempt you away. The only seven-seater EV SUV to rival the EQS in size is the Kia EV9, and that vehicle costs half what the EQS does and has a lot less luxury and cachet.

So, does the EQS tick enough boxes to satisfy buyer expectations? Yes. Is it the best? Well, it’s the only one of its kind, so that’s moot.

As my colleague Rob Margeit wrote after his launch drive back in October 2023, “Those looking to make a statement with an electric vehicle, a statement that says ‘I’m at the forefront of the EV revolution’ while not compromising on luxury, need look no further than the Mercedes-Benz EQS450 4Matic”.

It’s imposing, opulent, stately, graceful and brimming with tech. We’d tick the Hyperscreen option box because the interior demands it. Owners will love it and it distracts brilliantly from the overly high dashboard, making the cabin far more welcoming.

If I were forced to pinpoint a weakness, the EQS’s 450–500km real-world range isn’t as generous as the rest of the package.

How do I buy a Mercedes-Benz EQS450 SUV? The next steps.

Mercedes-Benz tells us that dealers have some stock on the ground, so if you don’t plan on stocking a lot of options, the wait times could be short. But, if you’re all about individualising your EQS, expect to wait three to six months for the factory to build and ship your dream EQS SUV.

The next step on the purchase journey is to check the Mercedes-Benz website for stock. You can also find Mercedes-Benzes for sale at Drive Cars for Sale.

If you want to stay updated with everything that’s happened to this car since our review, you’ll find all the latest news here.

Ratings Breakdown

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS EQS450 Wagon

7.7/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

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Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known motoring journalists having spent the last 25 years reporting on cars on radio, TV, web and print. He’s a former editor of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was deputy editor of Drive.com.au before that. Glenn’s also worked at an executive level for two of Australia’s most prominent car companies, so he understands how much care and consideration goes into designing and developing new cars. As a journalist, he’s driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats on all continents except Antarctica (which he one day hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car’s unique personality and strengths. Glenn knows a car’s price isn’t indicative of its competence, and even the cheapest car can enhance your life and expand your horizons. 

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