Mercedes-Benz is expanding its number of truly high-end models, and a glitzy electric SUV will top its Maybach range.

    The Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV will become the first electric model from the ultra-luxury spin-off brand, and has been spied testing after being revealed in concept guise last September.

    While this prototype lacks the lashings of chrome, gaudy 24-inch wheels and two-tone treatment of the concept, our spy photographers believe this is indeed the Maybach variant.

    The production version will differ from the regular Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV with a different design for the grille area, unique wheels and the two-tone paint that has become a Maybach hallmark.

    Given this example is so bereft of camouflage, a reveal of the production version could be months away.

    The highlight of the Maybach will likely be its interior.

    The concept featured genuine first-class accommodations, with two executive-style seats, along with ambient lighting, a vase insert, faux-fur floor covering and a large storage space.

    Owners of the production model, when released, will have the option to deck out the backseat space with folding tables, a box of champagne goblets or a refrigerated compartment.

    Based on the dedicated Electric Vehicle Architecture also underpinning the Mercedes-Benz EQE sedan and EQS fastback, the regular EQS SUV will be offered in 450+, 450 4Matic and 580 4Matic variants.

    It’s unclear which will be offered here when the EQS SUV touches down in the first half of 2023.

    Like the EQS liftback, the entire EQS SUV range feature a 107.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

    Although the SUV range has the same size battery as the EQS liftback, the claimed range for the EQS SUV is lower across the board with a maximum of 660km range on the tougher WLTP test cycle, instead of up to 784km.

    The single-motor rear-wheel drive EQS 450+ produces 265kW of power and 568Nm of torque, while the EQS 450 4Matic adds a second electric motor for total outputs of 265kW and 800Nm.

    The range-topping EQS 580 4Matic sees outputs increased to 400kW and 858Nm. A Maybach version could wear the EQS 600 nameplate, and potentially offer more power.

    All models feature Airmatic air suspension with adaptive dampers, with a four-link axle at the front and independent multi-link suspension at the rear.

    Also standard fitment is a rear-axle steering system with a steering angle of up to 4.5 degrees.

    A version that allows for a steering angle of 10 degrees can be added either at purchase or later via an over-the-air (OTA) update.

    All models are capable of accepting up to 200kW of power from an ultra-rapid DC charging station, and the entry-level EQS 450+ is capable of adding 250km of range in 15 minutes.

    An 11kW onboard AC charger is standard across the range, and a 22kW unit is optional.

    The new EQS SUV shares the same 3210mm wheelbase as the EQS liftback, but is over 20cm taller.

    It measures 5125mm long, 1959mm wide, and 1718mm tall, which makes it 91mm shorter than an EQS liftback but 33mm wider.

    For context, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS measures in at 5210mm long, 2030mm wide and 1823mm tall, with a 3135mm wheelbase.

    The EQS SUV can be optioned with the MBUX Hyperscreen curved dash that spans the width of the dashboard. We’d expect this to be standard on the Maybach.

    Measuring in at 141cm wide, it features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 17.7-inch central touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch passenger touchscreen.

    Other EQS SUV options include dual 11.6-inch displays in the front seatbacks, an augmented reality head-up display, an active fragrance system and an expanded suite of active safety technology including evasive steering assist and active blind-spot assist.

    The EQS SUV will be built alongside the GLS, GLE and EQE SUV at Mercedes-Benz’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant.

    Mercedes-Benz anticipates “disproportionate growth” in what it calls its Top-End vehicle segment, citing a 40 per cent increase in S-Class sales last year plus “record” Mercedes-Maybach sales.

    This internal segment comprises all Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach vehicles, as well as the G-Class and essentially everything with an S: GLS, EQS, EQS SUV and S-Class.

    The company has teased a Maybach version of the Mercedes-AMG SL, and has teased exclusive collector editions plus new, exclusive Mythos Series models.

    It’s allocating more than 75 per cent of its investments to develop products for the most profitable market segments, with the aim of increasing the sales share of its Top-End vehicles by 2026 by around 60 per cent compared to 2019.

    It wants to reach an operating margin target of around 14 per cent by the middle of the decade in favourable market conditions. It also still aims to go EV-only by 2030 “wherever market conditions allow”.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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