Business Plus

Armchair Traveller

It may cost north of €140k, but the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV is a stately way to get from A to B, writes

- Philip Nolan

When a designer in Mercedes-Benz first started thinking about a pumped-up SUV version of the electric EQS saloon, my strong guess is that he or she was sitting in a favourite armchair, and decided to build a car around it. Make no mistake, the emphasis here is very much on comfort, perhaps even more so if you have a Jeeves to chauffeur you everywhere while you stretch out in the second row. It certainly seems like a perfectly pleasant place to sip a G&T after a hectic day at the office.

Come the weekend, though, this is also the perfect family car. One of the options fitted on the test model was two more seats in a third row, for €2,714. When you’ve already spent €139,880, what’s another few grand to make sure you don’t have to pick your favourite children?

Of course, there’s a compromise involved. With only five seats in play, the cargo space is a substantia­l 645 litres. Pop up the third row and that reduces to 195 litres. Nor are those extra seats the only optional extras that were present here. My car also came with leather macchiato beige/ space grey upholstery, illuminate­d aluminium running boards, and the Mercedes-Benz pattern grille.

The reason for the rounded features is aerodynami­cs. Despite its size, the EQS SUV displaces less air than a puppy’s cough. Coupled with a battery with 108.5kWh useable capacity, that leads to a WLTP-certified range of 626km in mixed urban and extraurban driving.

Around town, you’ll get more; on the motorway, at 120kph, you’ll get less. At the maximum charging speed of 200kW (and best of luck finding anywhere in Ireland that actually delivers that), MB says you’ll get from 10-80% capacity in half an hour. On a 7kW wall-box at home, the same input will take almost 17 hours, though with the range on offer even 50% full is better than many EVs at 100%.

As for the drive, the car comes with air suspension, so your armchair feels like it is being wafted along on Aladdin’s carpet. At night, the Electric Art cabin comes alive. No one does ambient lighting like Mercedes, and you can toggle through more colour combinatio­ns that the dancefloor in Coppers.

The rear seats and tailgate, as well as the front seats, are electrical­ly operated, and there are six USB-C charge points dotted throughout. Not to labour the point, but the emphasis here is on convenienc­e and luxury, not performanc­e, though for a car of this size, not far off three tonnes, the 0-100kph sprint is tidy at 6.7 seconds.

This is not a cheap car, but you do get the feeling, our taxation system aside, that every cent is visible. Over 140 grand is a lot of money to fit wheels to your favourite armchair, but when you’re sitting in it there is no pain at all.

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