2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV: Maybach Finally Goes Electric, and It’s Not a Sedan
The first-ever Maybach EV is an SUV, and it makes perfect sense from a design, comfort, and sales perspective.
Pop into the comments section of any automotive story and it won't take you long to find one or multiple people who just hate SUVs or electric cars with a passion—or both. I get it, things are changing, and sometimes change sucks. But also sometimes it doesn't. Ultra-luxury cars dropping combustion engines in favor of electric drivetrains makes perfect sense for quietness and comfort, just like choosing an SUV over a sedan makes sense from a sales perspective. And that's why Maybach's first EV isn't a sedan. Making its world debut at the 2023 Shanghai Auto Show is the brand's first-ever EV, the 2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV. It's big, it's fancy, and it's going to spend most of its life parked outside whichever Four Seasons its owner is vacationing in, so who really cares about range?
As you guessed, the Maybach EQS SUV builds upon the already-on-sale EQS SUV, which is sort of the electric counterpart of the gas-powered GLS SUV. Of course, the "S" here highlighting that it's Mercedes' finest offering, much like the S-Class and S-Class Maybach. That's Mercedes' maddening ICE/EV naming structure for ya.
I had the opportunity to explore a static Maybach EQS SUV while at the EQE SUV launch earlier this month, so I'll mention that the Maybach EQS SUV's best characteristic is that it looks nothing like the other Maybach SUV, the GLS, which even in its finer specs looks like something out of West Coast Customs.
This new electric model is all about marrying two concepts: Maybach's old-world luxury and Mercedes-EQ's latest technology. The vehicle has a presence that's equally as impressive as the sedan but with a way more modern vibe. The two-tone scheme of brown and black looks incredible in person, but not quite as incredible as a silver and blue combination that I wasn't allowed to photograph. Mono-tone schemes are also offered, but why would you?
The devil is in the details, and as the head of Mercedes-Maybach Daniel Lescow explained to me, the luxury arm of the German automaker worked overtime to not only improve on the EQS SUV, but deliver a truly bespoke Maybach experience. For starters, there were compromises to make everywhere. A true Maybach requires plenty of pomp, but pomp ruins aerodynamics and adds weight. So, an aero-unfriendly hood ornament was ultimately added, but several other tweaks had to be made throughout the body to make up for it. The monoblock wheels, for example, feature unique black-painted pockets to make them more slippery. Wind deflectors were added ahead of the rear wheels, and even the bottom other running boards were optimized for airflow. At the rear, a spoiler was added at the top of the windshield, and the diffuser was enhanced as well. Lescow explained that the aero team finagled a drag coefficient that's nearly identical to the non-Maybach model, but they're not finished tweaking just yet.
Like with a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, the real magic happens inside the cabin. Having previously spent time in the S580 Maybach I expected the interior to be the same, but I was wrong. While the overall design language translates, there is a completely new (and admittedly higher) level of craftsmanship and detail here. If this is Maybach's new standard, then I'd say they've finally caught up to the fancier Brits. The waterfall-effect console that runs all the way from the backseat, through the front seats, and culminates at the infotainment screen is a work of art. Finished in matte wood and embossed with strips of aluminum, it serves as the focal point of the cabin.
Of course, there's the 56-inch Hyperscreen, too, but this isn't a new product. Plus, call me old-school but I'm just not a big fan of it. I'd rather see more of that beautiful wood and metalwork adorning the dashboard. Maybach designed four new trim-specific characteristics for the EQS SUV's cabin: The pattern and colors for the mood lightning are unique and so are the multiple sounds like chimes, EV driving sound effects, etc. There's also a new fragrance that's dispensed into the cabin by the climate system called No. 12 Mood Ebony. I didn't get a chance to smell it, so I can't tell you much about it. Lastly, there's a Maybach driving mode, which I was told offers a relaxed and serene driving experience similar to Comfort, but packs a stronger punch.
Folks who employ a chauffeur will be happy to know that the famous Maybach champagne chiller lives on in the electric era, and so do the accompanying silver flutes. The newly designed passthrough between the rear seats features a projection of the Maybach logo on the carpet, which is actually pretty neat. A detachable 9-inch tablet allows rear occupants to control all media, climate, and blinds, as well as some aspects of the seats. The rear chairs offer massage, can recline, and also boast retractable footrests to get comfy on long trips. Two 11.6-inch screens perched behind the front seats can display a variety of content for the rear passengers, though I gotta say that they've always been too complicated to operate, so perhaps stick to your iPhone and Netflix.
Some of my favorite aspects of the cabin revolve around the smallest of details, such as the grab handles, headliner, speaker grilles, and carpeting. The handles and headliner are made completely from Nappa leather and feel like an expensive Italian suitcase. They also look beautiful. The 4D Burmester speaker grills are metal and have been placed strategically around the cabin to look nice but do not command too much attention despite there being 15 of them. The tweeters located near the back headrests are especially beautiful with leather surrounds and mood lighting inside the speaker. Also, the Maybach EQS SUV is the first Mercedes to feature sustainably-processed leather, which is then colored with vegetable dye.
Propelling all of that luxurious goodness you just read about are two electric motors that drive all four tires, though like in the new EQE SUV, the front axle can be decoupled under certain conditions to boost efficiency. The system produces a hefty 649 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque, which allow it to sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Many of the electric SUV's specifications aren't finalized yet or rated under Europe's WLTP system. Mercedes so far is claiming a provisional range of 600 km (WLTP), so about 372 miles.
Pricing has yet to be released, but I expect it to cost slightly more than the GLS model, so it'll likely hover around the $200,000 mark. Expected to land in the U.S. this fall.
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