Review: Mercedes-Benz EQ Series brings German electrification
Mercedes began introducing its EQ line of electric vehicles with the EQS sedan, which was followed quickly by the smaller EQE sedan and the EQB small crossover. All three share a common platform and Mercedes-Benz says there are more models to come. We’ve now driven all three and here's how they compare.
At a Glance
- The sedans are expensive, but uber-lux.
- The crossover is a close copy of the popular GLB.
- Quick acceleration and smooth driving in all three models.
- Range estimations are generally pessimistic.
- The start of an expected long list of EVs from Mercedes-Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS
The Mercedes-Benz EQS debuted as a 2022 model. The car is basically an S-Class sedan, in terms of size and fitment, but features Mercedes’ new battery-electric chassis and design. This is also the most expensive of the EQ lineup, with a starting price of over US$100,000.
There are four variations of the 2023 EQS: the 450+, the 450+ 4Matic, the 580 4Matic, and the AMG EQS. The 450+ is rear-wheel drive, the 4Matic models are all-wheel drive, and the AMG variant is the sport-tuned powerhouse of the group. Most of the changes between models is with motor output, with the 4Matic versions adding another motor to the front axle for AWD propulsion.
The standard Mercedes-Benz EQS model produces 329 hp (245 kW) and 419 lb-ft (568 Nm) of torque. Adding AWD upticks that to 355 hp (265 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm). The more powerful 580 4Matic has more powerful motors for a total output of 516 hp (385 kW) and 631 lb-ft (855.5 Nm). And the AMG EQS boosts those motors even further with 649 hp (484 kW) and 700 lb-ft (949 Nm). The AMG also has a “Race Start” mode that temporarily pushes output to 751 horses (560 kW) and 752 lb-ft (1,019.6 Nm) for launch or quick acceleration.
No matter the model chosen, however, the battery pack remains the same 108 kWh. This means range varies per model, thanks to those motor changes. The standard model has about 350 miles (563 km) of EPA-estimated range, the 4Matic models have 340 miles (547 km) of EPA range, and the AMG EQS has 277 miles (446 km) of range per the EPA. Our experience in the real world showed these to be very conservative estimates. Our Mercedes-AMG EQS model had accomplished 298 miles (479.5 km) of range (despite continuous lead-foot acceleration) with 9% of the battery still available.
Despite being a large, heavy sedan, the Mercedes-Benz EQS drives with an agile nature and feels confident thanks to its extremely quick acceleration (about four seconds to 60 mph/96 km/h with the AMG model, around six seconds with the others) and low center of gravity. Drive quality is engaging and maneuverability is good as well. Braking is interesting, as the regeneration balance can be changed by the driver to depend more or less on the electric motor for slowing. Interestingly, the brake pedal moves of its own accord when regenerative braking is happening, which can be disconcerting at first, but which becomes intuitive with time.
Like the S-Class from which it draws much of its inspiration, the EQS has a roomy interior with all of the luxury one would expect from Mercedes-Benz. Trunk space is very large and most every gadget, driver’s aid, or safety technology one can hope for is probably included with this car. That includes forward collision mitigation, surround-view cameras, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, semi-automated parking, and more. Added options are massaging front seats, four-zone climate, a head-up display, and so forth. Even a smartphone charging pad for the rear seat can be had. It’s amazing what triple digits can buy.
The Mercedes-Benz EQB
Debuting shortly after the EQS was the EQB crossover. Based largely on the Mercedes-Benz GLB compact SUV, the EQB uses the EV platform of the EQS for all-electric driving. There is a third row option, a lot of cargo space, and a good driving range.
Unlike the EQS, the EQB is more towards the affordable side of things, with a price tag starting around $US55,000 and an EPA-estimated range of 243 miles (391 km) per charge. The battery is a little smaller, at 70.5 kWh, helping with the price reduction. But the EQB comes standard with all-wheel drive via a two-motor propulsion system. With a rear bias to power output, though, the Mercedes-Benz EQB still drives with a predictable pattern and familiar feel.
Five-passenger seating is standard in the new EQB, but an additional third row to expand that to seven is available. That extra row is cramped, however, and really only suitable for kids. With that row stowed or not opted for, cargo space is a massive 62 cubic feet (1,755.6 liters) with the second row also folded down. That’s impressive for a crossover of this size.
There are two versions of the Mercedes-Benz EQB: the 300 4Matic and the 350 4Matic. The former has 225 horsepower (168 kW) of power output while the latter has 288 hp (215 kW). Like the EQS, the EQB is DC fast charge capable. There are three trim levels, with the base model being nicely equipped with most of the entry-level luxury items one would expect on a lower-priced luxury SUV. Things only go up from there, of course.
Our test model EQB was the 350 4Matic with the Pinnacle trim level,which meant all the fixin's. The EPA range estimation was realistic, though we got slightly better at 240 miles (386 km) of driving with 7% of the battery still remaining.
The Mercedes-Benz EQE
The latest of the unveilings in the EQ lineup is the EQE. Unlike the other two, the EQE has no equivalent in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, but is instead a smaller version of the EQS. With a price tag starting at about $85,000, the EQE holds a 90.6-kWh battery with an estimated range of about 400 miles (644 km) per charge.
The EQE comes in a 350 and 500 model, the latter of which adds 4Matic all-wheel drive. Like the EQS, the EQE is a rear-wheel-drive-based sedan, but it feels peppier thanks to its smaller size and weight. The standard EQE 350 outputs 288 hp (215 kW) while the EQE 500 4Matic adds another motor to the front axle for a total of 402 hp (300 kW). There is also an AMG option which takes the 500 and boosts power output to 617 horses (460 kW). That can be further enhanced to 677 hp (505 kW) with the AMG Dynamic Plus package. Top speed for that version is 149 mph (240 km/h), which is considerably higher than the standard EQE 350 model.
Our experience with the EQE found it to be our favorite of the bunch for sportier driving. We drove the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE 500 4Matic and greatly enjoyed its quick power delivery and planted feel while on the road. It’s quiet inside and offers head-to-seat pushing acceleration when asked. Most people should be able to get 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprints of six seconds or less out of this EQE, or etter if on a professional track with a rolling start. Our tests were from a flat stop and on public roads,, and the Mercedes-Benz EQE feels quickall the time,even at speed.
Summing Up the EQ Line
To summarize, the new Mercedes-Benz EQ lineup is a great start to what will likely be a long list of battery-electric offerings from Mercedes. Every one of these vehicles is top shelf in terms of accouterments, road appeal, and power delivery. Range estimates are very pessimistic, with our real world testing showing that they are readily capable of more.