Los Angeles is full of great roads so it’s no surprise automakers bring prototypes to test out here. Our latest catch is the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, which is scheduled to make its world debut later this year. It was accompanied by the next-generation GLC-Class, which is reportedly getting a plug-in hybrid option once again. However, this particular GLC prototype appears to only have the 48-volt EQ Boost mild-hybrid setup since it never ran exclusively in all-electric mode and there wasn’t a charging port peeking out of the swirly camouflage.
Back to the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS. Getting to see this prototype next to a GLC-Class puts into perspective how massive this vehicle is. It’s clearly a three-row crossover but one that’s unconventional. We didn’t get a close look at the front end but from afar, it’s obvious that it’s nearly identical to the EQS sedan’s look. The short nose and upright greenhouse give it a blob-like shape, especially when you consider the fact that it has virtually zero angles. Even with the camouflage on it, you can see little design details, many of which appeared to have carried over from the Maybach EQS Concept unchanged. Ditching the wedgelike shape should also pay off in interior space and visibility. The car’s glass area is expansive, minimizing blind spots.
One thing that stands out after seeing the EQS SUV prototype in the wild is the ground clearance. It’s low. As in it’s essentially the same as the EQS sedan’s low. Heck, the GLC-Class prototype two parking spots over has more ground clearance. In some angles, the EQS SUV looks like a wagon with a high roof because of how low it is and it doesn’t help that this prototype is equipped with running boards. To put it into perspective, that same GLC-Class’s roofline is lower than the EQS SUV’s. An adaptive air suspension will likely be standard and should give the crossover a little more clearance. However, don’t think of this as a true off-roader. Wait for the all-electric G-Class if that’s what you want.
The EQS SUV will be one of two battery-electric vehicles built at Mercedes-Benz’s manufacturing facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It will be followed by the smaller EQE SUV, which will round out the Mercedes-EQ family. Both vehicles will be on the BEV-specific EVA architecture that also underpins the sedan variants of the EQS and EQE. Both crossovers should also get a dual-motor configuration as standard but expect multiple variants including Maybach and AMG iterations for the EQS SUV. The latter should get up to 750 hp just like the AMG EQS 53 4Matic+.
Alongside the four EQS and EQE variants, Mercedes will also introduce the EQT, an all-electric van previewed last year, the EQA and EQB. The latter two are entry-level crossovers underpinned by a convergence platform that also accommodates standard internal combustion and hybrid powertrains. Mercedes-Benz already sells both vehicles in Europe and the EQB is scheduled to debut in North America this year. It will be unique because it’s a compact electric crossover with three rows and be offered in two configurations: EQB 300 and EQB 350.
Expect the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV to debut in production form later this year. Following it will be the EQE SUV, which is scheduled to make its first appearance before the end of 2022. The EQS SUV should go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.