With an overabundance of power and near-silent operation, electric propulsion seems perfectly suited to ultraluxury vehicles. We’ve just had the opportunity to drive the latest demonstration: the 2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV. It joins the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre coupe as we await the debut of Bentley’s first EV in a year or two.
As the name implies, the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is based on the existing Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV and embellished heavily with every luxury touch the engineers and designers could muster. As with previous Maybach vehicles dating to the 2002 revival, one can see the Mercedes-Benz on which it is based, but there are also plenty of distinctive Maybach styling touches to set it apart.
The closed-off grille features thin vertical chrome strakes that cascade down to the actual air inlet below. A Mercedes three-pointed star stands proudly on the fixed hood, with a subtle Maybach badge just underneath. Other Maybach logos are scattered about the exterior. A two-tone paint scheme adds some old-school presence, and there are also monotone choices for the less extroverted. Wheels play a major role in the visual impact. The substantial monoblock-type wheels will certainly be popular with some traditionalists, while a lacelike option made up of small Maybach logos could be a hit with new-money clients.
The Maybach EQS SUV’s appearance is heavily dependent on how the client specs it. With more conservative colors and wheels, the Maybach easily plays the part of a chauffeur-driven conveyance for a wealthy industrialist. Get wilder with the choices, and it would be right at home in the latest hip-hop video.
Inside, the Maybach continues its theme of embellished familiarity. The massive glass Hyperscreen dashboard is standard, with some Maybach-specific elements in the display. Elsewhere, the enhancements come by way of features and materials. Nearly every surface is covered in premium leather that is “sustainably processed,” with coffee-bean shells used as tanning agents. We actually had to hunt for exposed plastic and found it underneath the door armrest. Rich open-pore wood trim elements are a joy to the eyes, and even the pedals are finished in knurled metal.
The rear compartment shows the greatest differentiation from the Mercedes version. The third rows of seats is jettisoned, and the luggage compartment walled off. Order the individual rear seats (a bench-seat configuration is also available), and they’re separated by sweeping center console that extends forward. The seats are generously cushioned to cradle riders. Our loaded Maybach with the available Executive Rear Seat Package Plus enhanced the experience with massaging calf rests, folding tray tables, and heated and cooled cupholders. There’s also a refrigerated compartment and optional silver champagne flutes that have their own special holders in the console.
Each rear passenger has their own 11.6-inch entertainment screen mounted on the front seatback. The screens can be operated by touch, which can be a bit of a reach during reclining. A detachable mini tablet controller in the console solves that issue. Reclining the right rear seat is a one-touch affair: Just tap a button to set in motion a complex series of power actuators. The front seat slides and tilts all the way forward while the headrest tucks down; meanwhile, the rear seat is gracefully easing back as the footrests move into place.
In full recline, you can bask in a bubble of calm, watching through the expansive panoramic sunroof as trees or skyscrapers file past. The cabin remains peacefully quiet, with no boominess or road noise thanks to the sound isolation the sealed-off cargo area provides.
This allows the standard 15-speaker Burmester audio system to demonstrate its full potential. With Dolby Atmos processing, the audio quality is noticeably clear and powerful, lending a new dimension to familiar songs. Built into the seats are two exciters that produce a thump with the subwoofer, allowing you to feel the music with intensity adjustable from subtle to strong.
All of this points to the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV being a truly great limousine, but how is it from the driver’s seat? With 649 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque, you certainly won’t be wanting for power. Mercedes says the SUV flashes to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, but given that Benz’s 536-hp EQS580 SUV model can hit that mark in 4.0 seconds, we reckon the Maybach will prove to be several tenths of a second quicker when we get it to the test track.
That’s impressive for a big SUV that weighs more than 6000 pounds, and you definitely feel that mass. On a hard launch, the rear end squats, and the front lifts as if to exclaim “Giddyap!” With moderate to heavy braking, the nose dips significantly, but the vehicle remains very planted and stable.
There’s also plenty of body roll in the curves, and you’ll occasionally feel some residual rebounds from larger bumps. This softness doesn’t encourage sporty driving, and selecting a stiffer suspension setting has only a minor effect. Granted, the Maybach EQS SUV isn’t intended to be sporty, and this pillowy ride seems appropriate for comfort-minded clients. The vehicle is thoroughly enjoyable to drive, and performing silky-smooth limo stops is easy. And like the standard EQS, it’s also unusually maneuverable thanks to rear-wheel steering with up to 10 degrees of deflection.
Of course, for an EV, charging and range are vitally important. With its 107.8-kWh battery pack, the Maybach EQS SUV has a range estimated at 372 miles using the optimistic European WLTP standard. But using EPA methodology, that estimate should fall closer to the 285 miles that lesser EQS SUV 4Matic models are rated for. When you need replenishment midtrip, the Maybach is capable of DC fast-charging at up to 200 kW, which should get the from 10 to 80 percent capacity in 31 minutes.
Altogether, the Maybach EQS SUV is one of the most luxurious EVs available. Like the Rolls-Royce Spectre, it demonstrates that electricity greatly enhances the luxury experience with silence and smoothness, but the Maybach offers much more interior space. And we estimate that the Maybach will start at around $200,000, making it about half the cost of the Rolls. The Maybach EQS SUV demonstrates that electric propulsion meshes perfectly with this brand’s ethos.