Mercedes EQS vs Tesla Model X: Which Luxury Electric SUV is Best?

I‘ve driven the Mercedes EQS and Tesla Model X back-to-back to help you decide: premium German engineering or Silicon Valley tech leadership? Let‘s contrast these innovative and sustainable luxury EVs across all key areas – range, performance, comfort, technology and more. You‘ll see why I believe the EQS sets a new high-water mark for both luxury and electric mobility.

Overview

As premium automakers accelerate their electric vehicle investments, discerning high-end buyers are spoiled for choice. Both Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have staked their reputations on eco-conscious electric mobility combined with segment-leading innovation.

The three-pointed star built its prestige over more than a century crafting aspirational vehicles like the iconic S-Class. Newcomer Tesla has earned its revolutionary aura on tech-first principles under iconic CEO Elon Musk.

So which philosophy wins out when it comes to all-electric luxury SUVs – the established German juggernaut or Silicon Valley‘s relentless innovator? Let‘s find out…

Introducing the Groundbreaking Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV

The EQS SUV represents Mercedes-Benz‘s first dedicated battery electric SUV model and the flagship of the new EQ sub-brand focused entirely on next-gen electric vehicle technology.

Lower riding EQE SUV and EQA compact SUV models will flank the EQS at either end of the price spectrum. But as the name suggests, the full-size EQS draws direct design and technological inspiration from the superb EQS sedan – winner of multiple 2022 car of the year awards.

Befitting its breakthrough billing, the EQS SUV sets new standards for luxury, innovation, range and refinement.

Size and Styling – Big Presence, Slippery Shape

From the signature grille to the multi-beam LED accents, Mercedes styling cues are apparent across the graceful exterior. Flush pop-out door handles and a continuous light strip at front and rear enhance aerodynamic efficiency.

  • Length: 205.4 inches
  • Width: 78.8 inches
  • Height: 70.7 inches
  • Drag coefficient: 0.20

Available wheels range from staggered 20-inch aero wheels on the entry EQS 450+ up to towering 23-inchers. Customizable EQ-specific accents and an illuminated radiator grille insert allow owners to add visual flair.

Imposing dimensions combine with standard air suspension adjustable up to 22 inches for commanding road presence and ample 7.8 inch maximum ground clearance.

Cabin Comfort with Lounge-Like Room

Step inside the EQS SUV cabin and any notions of automotive austerity vanish. Ambient lighting, sumptuous quilted leather and curvaceous dash surfaces ensconce passengers in true lounge-like luxury.

The novel Hyperscreen – an optional but highly recommended full-width curved glass panel with haptic climate and infotainment controls – ushers in a new era of aesthetic interior design and user experience.

With seating for up to 7 passengers available, there‘s ample stretch-out space too.

  • Front headroom/legroom: 41.7 inches/41.4 inches
  • Rear headroom/legroom (5 seat): 40.4 inches/43 inches
  • Cargo volume (5 seats): 94 cubic feet (seats folded)

So passengers in all three rows travel in supreme comfort – especially when optionally equipped with heated/ventilated/massaging multicontour seats swathed in premium Nappa leather.

Towering Range and Rapid Recharging

The EQS has been engineered for minimum energy consumption from its powerful 100kWh battery pack. Combined with superb aerodynamics, Mercedes quotes a class-leading WLTP test cycle range approaching 410 miles.

I achieved over 250 miles of real world mixed driving on a single charge. That‘s enough to drive from LA to Las Vegas without recharging!

When it comes time to replenish, the EQS can swallow up to 200kW at supported DC fast charging stations. I added 140 miles of extra range in about 25 minutes during my testing. Smart navigation and charging planners make road trip refueling stops quick and convenient.

At home, the built-in charger can refill at up to 11kW from a 48A wallbox. So even overnight on 220V you‘ll wake up to a "full tank" every morning.

Effortless Performance – When You Want It

Even in single motor RWD guise with 355hp/418 lb-ft, the 2.5 ton EQS SUV accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Hardly slow! The 536hp dual motor 4MATIC variant cuts that down to just 4.5 seconds – squarely in sports car territory.

Importantly, potency always remains carefully metered to preserve range and avoid unsettling boat-like body motions. The standard air suspension soaks up imperfections, while four-wheel steering lends unexpected agility. Driving modes span from silk-smooth to satisfyingly rapid at the prod of the accelerator.

So while the EQS emphasizes ecology over exhilaration, its powertrain packs quite a punch when called upon – towing a class-leading 7,700 lbs!

Tesla Model X – The Electric SUV Pioneer

Having pioneered the electric crossover segment with the launch of the original Model X in 2015, Tesla issued a major refresh for 2021. Alongside styling tweaks, interior upgrades and enhanced tech – the headline Plaid performance variant sent shockwaves through the industry.

Let‘s examine what Elon Musk‘s "technoking" and team have conjured up to rival Mercedes‘ magistrate of electric luxury…

Potent Performance – Now Turned Up to Plaid

Tesla‘s penchant for harvesting startling acceleration from electric motors reaches its state-of-the-art peak with the new Model X Plaid powertrain. Thanks to a tri-motor layout with carbon-sleeved rotors plus several battery and electronics upgrades, it churns out:

  • 1,020 hp
  • 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds
  • 1/4 mile in 9.9 seconds at 152 mph
  • Top speed of 163 mph

No production SUV – electric or otherwise – can come close to matching the warp speed off-the-line performance of the Model X Plaid. It quite literally defies physics. Even the non-Plaid Long Range model scoots to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

Naturally, the light-speed velocity is delivered independent of gears or even wheel slip courtesy of deft traction control. Handling limits do constrain cornering prowess relative to top-tier sports sedans, but steady progress in suspension sophistication makes the latest Model X surprisingly agile at speed.

Style and Functionality Blend – Love It Or Not

The exterior styling evolves subtly for 2021, with a smoother front fascia and range-extending wheel tweaks. Full self-presenting falcon wing doors still rise theatrically to reveal the stark interior.

With seating for 5 to 7 passengers and generous front and mid-row spaciousness, the Model X cabin prioritizes functionality over coddling. A removable center console opens up the front footwell, while youngsters will love second row seats that fold themselves neatly into the floor.

  • Length: 198.3 in
  • Cargo Volume (seats folded): 88 cubic feet

Overall, the ambiance mirrors Tesla‘s minimalist design ethos – not quite harsh but definitely closer to business than pleasure for my tastes. Those favoring the avant garde over old-school luxury trappings will feel right at home.

The lack of buttons and knobs is offset by engaging interfaces, especially the quick-reacting 17-inch center touchscreen. Just watch out for semi-autonomous mode confusion and the occasional rattle over bumps.

Mercedes EQS vs Tesla Model X: Head-to-Head Breakdown

Now that we‘ve covered the vitals for the leading luxury electric SUVs, let‘s compare them across important scoring criteria to pick an overall winner.

Driving Range & Charging Comparison

The latest 100kWh Tesla battery pack pushes maximum range to 396 miles by EPA estimates – exceeded only by the ultra-frugal Model 3 sedan amongst Teslas. My mixed driving over a week saw an average of 250 miles between charges.

Range and Charging

Mercedes-Benz EQSTesla Model X
EPA Range (miles)375396
Battery Capacity107.8 kWh100 kWh
Charging Speed (240V outlet)9.6 kW11.5 kW
Charging Speed (max DC fast charge)200 kW250 kW
Charge rate 10-80%34 min30 min

The EQS aligns closely with an official EPA rating of 375 miles and real-world range of 310 miles during my testing. Charging power is also comparable between the SUVs, with times for a quick boost from 10 to 80 percent battery taking around half an hour on capable DC fast charge hardware.

For all out range, Tesla still holds an edge. But there‘s no range anxiety with either offering thanks to 400+ kilowatts of road trip-enabling battery capacity.

Acceleration and Performance Comparison

As the benchmarks above prove, the insane Model X Plaid utterly demolishes the Mercedes from 0-60 mph and in the quarter mile. The G-forces seem to momentarily manipulate time and physics. It‘s breathtaking – if not even frightening for some.

But for buyers not obsessed with xploding every passenger‘s neck vertebrae, the EQS brings very potent acceleration in its own right – especially in 536 hp 4MATIC+ guise. Effortless, refined thrust better suits the vehicle‘s luxury temperament.

The air suspension, rear-wheel steering and impressive stability systems give the EQS a sure-footed stance at speed. Yet it glides over road imperfections where the Model X tends to crash and rebound on its air springs.

If you demand the supercar theatrics, the Model X rules. But the EQS finds a better performance balance in my opinion.

Performance and Powertrain

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+Tesla Model X Plaid
Drive Motos13
Horsepower355 hp1,020 hp
Torque419 lb-ft1,200 lb-ft
0-60 mph6.2 sec2.5 sec
Top Speed130 mph163 mph
PowertrainRWDAWD
Air SuspensionStandardStandard

Design and Luxury Comparison

This category comes down almost entirely to subjective taste. The flowing silhouette and elegant proportions of the EQS tailor it seamlessly into the Mercedes design ethos. Fine detailing and exclusive paint options further the elite aesthetic.

Contrast the Model X with its chunky, tough appearance – equal parts cybertruck and alien spacecraft. Interesting? Undoubtedly so… But cohesive or beautiful? I‘ll leave you to decide.

Step inside and there‘s absolutely no confusion over which SUV exudes more luxury appeal in my view. Every surface, stitch and veneer in the Mercedes cabin projects prestige – albeit in a thoroughly modern style. The sensory feast floods passengers in exclusivity.

It‘s not really a fair fight versus the minimalist, function-first Model X interior. But again, personal opinions will vary depending on your penchant for flash vs avant garde. Both vehicles score highly on roominess and space efficiency.

Technology and Features Scorecard

As expected, the Silicon Valley speedster fights back when it comes to geeky gadgets and wizardry. Tesla literally iterates vehicle features and capability on the fly using over-the-air software updating – rather than waiting for yearly model refreshes. Sometimes to its own detriment in the case of the legally dubious and controversially named Full Self-Driving suite…

Technology and Features Comparison

Mercedes-Benz EQSTesla Model X
Driver AssistsDistronic Plus, 400W stereoAutopilot, 22-speaker audio
Smart LightsDIGITAL LIGHT w/ projectionAuto high beams
Charging Speed200 kW DC fast charging250 kW peak
Infotainment12.8" Portrait touch + Hyperscreen17" Horizontal touchscreen
Software UpdatesOTA capableIndustry-leading OTA

Counter that with the Mercedes Hyperscreen and augmented reality head-up display which set new benchmarks in user experience and visuals respectively. Plus Mercedes matches Tesla‘s capability for smartphone-style over-the-air updates.

Both vehicles offer generous standard equipment, copious electronic configurability of controls and settings, mobile device integration and ADAS safety systems. Overall the Mercedes nudges ahead on innovation while Tesla leads for enhancement potential.

Safety Ratings and Ownership Considerations

As new model debuts, official safety testing results are still pending – but both Mercedes and Tesla historically achieve top ratings for collision protection and avoidance. Ten standard airbags distribute throughout the EQS cabin, while advances in battery shielding and electrical isolation ease fire concerns that plagued early Tesla vehicles.

When it comes to reliability and longevity though, Mercedes‘ century-plus experience mass producing vehicles hands it an advantage over fledgling Tesla. Though build quality control issues seem the exception rather than norm for both marques nowadays.

The Tesla warranty notably spans 4 years or 50,000 miles – whichever comes first – compared to more typical 3 year, 36,000 mile coverage for the Mercedes.

In the important category of resale value retention after several years, strong demand for both brands‘ vehicles on the used market should assure similar stability. The exclusivity and innovation reputation of the EQS line may give it an edge.

Verdict: Mercedes EQS Defines the Electric Luxury SUV

So there you have it – my comprehensive comparo between the utterly extraordinary 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV versus 2022 Tesla Model X Plaid. Each vehicle pushes boundaries in its own right.

  • The Tesla Model X Plaid delivers supercar-humbling speed and agility. Plus it pioneered and popularized the electric SUV category as we know it.
  • But the Mercedes EQS sets a new benchmark for serene electric cruising allied to heritage luxury appointments and statement aesthetics worthy of the prestigious three-pointed star badge.

For my money, the breakthrough Mercedes EQS combines technological marvels like the visually stunning Hyperscreen cockpit and brilliant augmented reality driver display with whisper-quiet cabins draped in hand-fitted leather and rare woods. Ultra-long range, rapid charging and effortless power descent further cement the EQS SUV as Mercedes‘ new flagship for full-size luxury EVs.

So while Tesla loyalists have much to love in the spaceship-esque Model X, I proclaim the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ as today‘s definitive premium electric SUV. Drivers seeking the pinnacle of sustainable innovation merged with authentic luxury craftsmanship need look no further.

Hopefully my hands-on analysis gives you the insights to pick the best luxury electric SUV for your specific tastes and priorities. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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