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Car Review

Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV review

Published: 31 Jul 2023


What is it like on the inside?

The EQS SUV is Mercedes’ manifesto for hi-tech, and the Hyperscreen really steals the show. It’s a £7,995 option, but a bobby-dazzler. That vast , three-dimensionally curved screen is made of scratch-resistant aluminium silicate and features eight CPU cores, 24-gigabyte RAM and 46.4 GB per second RAM memory, making it, says Mercedes, "the brain and nervous system of the car".

There are actually three screens: one for the driver, a huge central display, and a third one for the passenger, who can watch a film without disturbing the poor sap behind the wheel. The guiding philosophy is called ‘zero layer’, the system’s machine learning adapting to the driver’s behaviour so that it can proactively display the right functions at the right time. Mercedes claims that its voice activation is also fully sorted now, too. But in our experience, it’s still patchy.

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AI helps the navigation system plan the optimum route ahead, monitoring variables such as topography, ambient temperature, speed, and heating and cooling demand, as well as charging station availability and payment functions. So, in theory you can forget about range anxiety. It’ll even advise whether two short charging stops are better than one longer one. Honestly, it all seems a bit much, until you get back into a lesser-equipped car.

In contrast the ‘regular’ display is a little disappointing. There’s still plenty of screen action of course, and they ‘float’ above a dashboard which flows into the door trims. The EQS gets a substantial centre console with huge storage space beneath, and the option of a panel with the Mercedes star lasered into open-pore wood and back-lit.

Ahead of the driver is a 12.3-inch instrument display, complete with 3D functionality, while the central portrait display may require a PHD to fully understand. The absence of a rotary controller or touchpad might sound risky, but you simply swipe across the main modes – including media, navigation, radio and so on – your touch eliciting a gentle haptic buzz on the crystal clear 12.8-inch OLED screen. The climate control is straightforward (on which note, the UK isn’t getting the fancy HEPA air filtration system).

Less successful is the sliding control for the audio, neither the one on the base of the screen or the smaller one on the wheel moving totally smoothly. The mind-blowing Burmester audio system delivers a 360° surround sound. It’s phenomenal, and works wonders if there’s a film on. Standard fit in the UK too. 

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As in the S-Class, you can bathe the car in all sorts of ambient light, and the front seats are sensational, with or without massage functionality. The rears are a little firm, though. There’s also a variety of ‘energising’ comfort modes, which draw on nature to elevate the occupants’ mood. There’s even a stationary ‘power nap’ setting which reclines the seats and closes the roller blind if the car is fitted with the panoramic roof.

Yep, this is a car that can actively lull you to sleep – it also ionises the air and depicts a starry sky on the screen – and then wakes you up again without jolting you into hard, unpleasant reality. The SUV even gets its own fragrance, No.6 Mood, the bottle hidden in the glovebox. This is all either wonderful stuff or absurd overkill. Probably the latter.

Needless to say, this is a hugely roomy vehicle. And versatile. The second row of seats can be electrically adjusted as standard, fore and aft, by 130mm for extra knee room, while the backrests are also adjustable. And there’s up to 2,020 litres of luggage space with the second and third row of seats down. That’s four golf bags, to use a vehicle-appropriate metric, or 24 crates of mineral water to use one that isn’t.

There’s a cargo position which keeps the seats more steeply angled to accommodate larger objects without folding them flat. Third row occupants are not marooned in a wasteland; even these seats can be heated.

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