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HomeautosThe new Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is unapologetically extra

The new Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is unapologetically extra

Nearly every part of the 2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV is extra, from the rose gold pins in the headlights to 22-inch wheels to the 253 individually controllable LEDs that make up the model’s ambient lighting system. Those and other Maybach features make the car a triumph while its more pedestrian EQS features that hold it back.

The exterior, interior and powertrain of the newest Maybach entry maintains the foundational roots of EQS. It has the Mercedes three-point star emblem on the hood directly above “Maybach” wording that is part of the larger grille housing.

Two-tone paint in a variety of eye-catching colors is available. The Cirrus Silver/Nautical Blue and Obsidian Black/Manufaktur Kalahari Gold combination are simply stunning.

Maybach EQS SUV rides on the buyer’s choice of 21- or 22-inch wheel sizes in the U.S. Other markets just get the 21s. The wheels are decorated with tiny Maybach logos in elegant clusters, just like on the lower air intakes and animated puddle lamps. The logo infusion is like a Louis Vuitton bag on steroids, in the best way possible.

Opting for a Night Series model gets buyers their car’s exterior chrome elements finished in Dark Chrome. It also adds Garnet Glow ambient lighting, door sills with “Night Series” lettering, and the aforementioned rose gold pins within the headlights. The dark look is sure to be a hit with American audiences who traditionally favor the look, and extends the company’s Night Series range, which was unveiled in New York City earlier this year.

The Mercedes-Maybach SUV’s dual-motor battery-electric powertrain setup delivers up to 649 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque. Because this is a Maybach, the car squats and rides out the rapid acceleration afforded by the electric motors rather than provide a spine-tingling blast off.

Driving from one side of Vancouver Island to the other from Nanaimo to Tofino along British Columbia Highway 4 showed the real advantages and disadvantages of the EQS SUV’s architecture and battery power. Around corners and over bumps, the sheer heft of the 6,000-pound vehicle, was evident. There’s only so hard you can push a vehicle of that weight into corners without feeling seasick in the cabin despite the included air suspension.

Setting weight aside, even with its four-wheel drive capability, the SUV isn’t meant to be pushed into the corners. It’s not a BMW M Series. It’s a Maybach, elegantly sophisticated and ready to take on the road with ease but not precision. Its braking is strong and confidence-inspiring, especially when using the paddle shifters to adjust regeneration levels. But, it’s not a sports car by any stretch of the imagination, nor should it be.

Traditionally kept in Maybach drive mode, switching the car to Sport mode doesn’t much make the electric SUV sporty, but rather a sportier Maybach. It’s a line finer in print than when behind the wheel.

Climbing and descending the route’s noted steep grades was a breeze, with the battery getting the benefit of added power on the way down thanks to energy-capturing technology.

Where this Maybach wins is on interior design, with details that elevate the car in ways that Rolls-Royce has not yet mastered. The SUV’s cocoon-like cabin keeps noise at bay and is swathed in high-end materials and finishes. From the leather choices to the console finish options the SUV rivals that from Bentley. Fit and finish is sublime, in true German manufacturer style.

Where the SUV wavers in its execution is in the seats. While the rear seats are up to snuff, albeit with their legroom constrained by the vehicle’s architecture, the front seats are a miss for anyone of mid-height or smaller. For those riders, the safety and comfort balance between getting the seat where you need it to be to reach the wheel, while also being able to reach the pedals, is precarious. The bottom of the seat also protrudes into the back of the knees throughout the drive experience.

Aside from that, interior has everything a buyer could want for an elegant trip to most anywhere, fully charged and connected. There’s six USB-C charging ports, quad-zone automatic climate control with pre-entry functionality, power tilt and slide panoramic roof, fingerprint scanner for profile authentication, heated and ventilated front and rear seat seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM and electronically operated doors. It’s a Maybach so of course there are folding tables, a champagne chiller, specially designed champagne flutes and fluffy headrest pillows.

There’s no skimping on technology either. The MBUX Hyperscreen takes up most of the dashboard with its 17.7-inch OLED central display, 12.3-inch OLED passenger display and 12.3-inch instrument cluster. The Burmester 4D Sound System with Dolby Atmos washes the electric SUV’s riders in a bath of pure sound.

Two 11.6-inch rear entertainment displays sit on front seat backs. Their operating functionality is not as straightforward and easy to use as it could be, even confusing the Mercedes engineer who was in the car with us with its nuance, especially when engaging in media sharing between seats and the entire vehicle.

This Maybach also comes with most of the Mercedes-Benz safety and driver assistance bells and whistles of its EQS Sedan counterpart. However, it does not have the new Drive Pilot hands-free, eyes-off technology. Mercedes has already said that the tech isn’t coming to the EQS SUV anytime soon, and that feels like a miss, especially considering the sanctuary that the company has created with this new Maybach and the features it has. What better way to sit in traffic in Los Angeles or San Francisco than while getting a voice-activated massage with your head comfortably pressed into the fluffy pillow attached to the headrest?

At it’s core, the Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV is a master class in traditional elegance meeting new technology and avant-garde style. There it sits, staring at Bentley with worlds better power and ride capabilities, and Rolls-Royce with exquisite materials choices.

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