With more than a century of experience building the best-of-the-best in the premium automotive space, Maybach has been leading innovation for some time. And now the ultraluxe sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz is setting a new benchmark in the modern era following the release of the first all-electric production model: the EQS 680 SUV.
Conceived in Germany and built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the car had its global reveal some 4,300 kilometres northwest of the latter on beautiful Vancouver Island. Based on the standard Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 SUV, the upgraded Maybach version looked stunning against the backdrop of the sea and mountains and is immediately recognizable as something different.
The solid-black-panel grille, which completely hides various driver assistance radar sensors, deletes the usual oversized three-point badge and star background, instead opting for chrome-plated vertical filigree slats (a process normally used in fine jewellery making), creating a 3D appearance. Underneath, the side intake bezels are covered with small repeating Maybach logos reminiscent of a designer accessory. Finishing off the front fascia is a small but important detail hearkening back to an earlier time: the small upright star on the hood.
Other exterior highlights include the thick chrome side-window surrounds and B pillars, gloss-black wheel-arch trim, 21-inch forged alloy wheels, and illuminated running boards. At the back, there’s a full-length animated tail light strip, Maybach lettering on the tailgate, and more chrome on the window spoiler lip and bumper diffuser that incorporates a complementary vertical-line styling element. In addition, hand-applied two-tone paintwork, separated by an ornamental pinstripe, is available.
As drivers approach the crossover, another exclusive feature is literally unlocked. The recessed door handles extend, and then the driver door opens automatically. Once the driver has settled in and presses the brake pedal, the door self-closes. All the other doors are automated as well and controlled via the key fob or interior buttons.
Anchoring the cabin is the now-familiar, yet nevertheless impressive, MBUX infotainment system 56-inch Hyperscreen spanning the entire width of the dash. Serving as a command centre for virtually all vehicle functions, it has customizable display themes, here given a special Maybach treatment to differentiate from the regular EQS SUV.
Similar to other entries in the lineup, the seats are plush, and for the first time the nappa leather upholstery is tanned using plant-derived products. An Espresso Brown/Sable Brown Pearl combination is standard in all 680s, or buyers may choose Crystal White/Silver Grey Pearl or any number of bespoke colours and materials as part of the in-house Manufaktur program.
Those in the second row are pampered with luxurious appointments such as massage, shoulder and neck heating, wood trim, and a personal rear tablet. A number of optional add-ons further increase the comfort and convenience. For example, the chauffeur mode, part of the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus, not only allows the occupant to recline but also extends a leg rest and covers the sunroof for maximum relaxation at the flick of a switch.
Thanks to copious sound insulation, several NVH- (noise, vibration, and harshness) reduction measures, and the use of a fixed luggage compartment cover acting as a noise shield, the EV is whisper quiet while in operation, even when the cargo area is full of goods.
Like the non-Maybach EQS 580 SUV, the powertrain consists of dual electric motors providing 4Matic all-wheel drive, however the setup has been tuned to create a significantly higher output. Rated at 649 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque, that’s an improvement of 133 and 68, respectively. Sitting behind the wheel, navigating the twisty Pacific Rim Highway from one side of the island to the other, proved as enjoyable as being a passenger, partially because of the self-damping Airmatic Air Suspension keeping the ride composed at all times.
The 2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV is expected to arrive before the end of the year.