Mercedes-Benz is preparing for an electric future with its EQ models, a line of EVs with futuristic aerodynamic styling and all of the latest infotainment tech. With several EQ models already in production, Mercedes is shifting focus to more traditional luxury.
The Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is the first all-electric vehicle from Maybach, the ultra-luxury subbrand of Mercedes. It takes the EQS SUV launched in 2022 and bathes it in opulence, adding more chrome on the outside and more creature comforts on the inside.
Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. this fall, the Maybach is an unusual EV proposition, taking what is supposed be a forward-thinking design and wrapping it in old-school luxury. Ahead of its launch, Digital Trends got an up-close look at the Maybach EQS SUV to see how Mercedes is trying to balance those two aspects.
Germany’s Rolls-Royce goes electric
The Maybach name has great historical significance for Mercedes. Wilhelm Maybach was one of the earliest automotive engineers. He designed the first Mercedes-branded car for the Daimler company (now Daimler-Benz), but struck out on his own after a falling out with company management. His eponymous company built Zeppelin engines, luxury cars, and, during World War II, engines for German military vehicles.
Daimler-Benz took control of Maybach in the 1960s, but left the passenger-car business dormant. Mercedes then revived the Maybach name in the early 2000s as a competitor to the likes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, both of which are owned by rival German automakers. Given Wilhelm Maybach’s history with Mercedes, it essentially brought things full circle.
The 21st-century Maybach brand started out with standalone models in the form of the Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 sedans (as well as the stunning Exelero prototype), but production ended in 2012 amid dwindling sales. Mercedes then switched to making Maybach-branded versions of existing models like the S-Class sedan and GLS-Class SUV, a pattern that continues with the Maybach EQS SUV.
Dialing up luxury
Mercedes took the EQS SUV and gave it similar exterior styling changes to other Maybach models. The Maybach EQS SUV has the brand’s chrome grille, a hood ornament (it’s the only Mercedes EQ model to get one), chrome window trim, Maybach-specific 21-inch or 22-inch wheels, and two-tone paint. Mercedes also plastered the front air vents with Maybach logos, bringing to mind Louis Vuitton handbags.
The interior is where the real upgrades are, however. Where the standard EQS SUV is available in a three-row, seven-seat configuration, the Maybach version is only available with two rows. A five-seat layout with a rear bench is standard, but buyers can also specify a four-seat version with individual reclining captain’s chairs and a full center console complete with a champagne cooler and glasses. The cooler extends back into the cargo area, eating into space, but this makes reloading your champagne easier, Mercedes reps pointed out.
The front seats are also exclusive to the Maybach model, and both rows feature standard Nappa leather upholstery made with what Mercedes claims is a more sustainable process that uses coffee bean shells for tanning and a closed-circuit water supply to reduce water use. There’s also real wood and aluminum interior trim, as well as the same infotainment hardware as the standard EQS SUV. Mercedes’ 56-inch Hyperscreen display once again makes an appearance, along with a 15-speaker Burmester 4D audio system.
More power, more comfort
The Maybach model gets a standard dual-motor, all-wheel drive powertrain rated at 649 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque — 113 hp and 67 lb.-ft. more than the most powerful non-Maybach EQS SUV. This gets the Maybach from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, according to the spec sheet, while the top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph.
Maybach engineers borrowed some tricks from the Mercedes-AMG performance division to get that extra power and acceleration, but plan to deploy it in a different way. A Maybach is a luxury car first, so the powertrain and standard adaptive-damping suspension are tuned for comfort. That includes a Maybach-specific drive mode, although engineers also kept the base EQS SUV’s off-road mode.
No official range figures have been released yet, but Mercedes is targeting 372 miles on the European Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles testing cycle, with the equivalent U.S. range rating likely a bit lower. All-wheel drive versions of the standard EQS SUV currently top out at 285 miles on the U.S. testing cycle, and the Maybach is a bit heavier and a bit less aerodynamic.
Using the 9.6-kilowatt AC onboard charger, a full recharge takes an estimated 12.75 hours. The Maybach can also DC fast charge at 200 kilowatts, a higher power rate than the standard model, and enough for a 10% to 80% charge in 31 minutes. Mercedes also plans to offer special perks to Maybach owners at its planned network of charging stations.
On top … for now
The Maybach will likely command a significant premium over the standard EQS SUV, which starts at $105,550 before options, but we won’t know how much until closer to when it goes on sale this fall.
The Maybach EQS SUV will be the first electric SUV from an ultra-luxury brand. The Rolls-Royce Spectre is a more traditional coupe, and Bentley doesn’t plan to launch its first EV until 2025. Expect Rolls and Bentley to launch their own electric SUVs at some point; it’s an inevitability given the success of the gasoline Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga. High-end buyers may also cross-shop with the electric Range Rover that’s rumored to be in the works. So while Maybach gets credit for being first, it won’t have the field to itself for long.
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