Wednesday, March 15, 2023




After diving full scale into the electric vehicle segment with the 2022 EQS sedan, Mercedes takes its first all-electric crossover utility to the U.S. up to a new level of luxury with the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV.

It comes in three spectacular versions with the EQS 450+ followed by the EQS 450 4MATIC and the top-of-the-line EQS 580 4MATIC, which this review is based on.

The EQS 450+ comes with a single electric motor rated at 355 horsepower and 419 pound of torque delivering a zero-to-60 mph clocking of 6.5 seconds. Range is pegged at 305 miles with a full charge.

The all-wheel-drive EQS 450 4MATIC gets the same horsepower from its dual electric motors while upping torque to 590 pound-feet and cutting zero-to-60 time to 5.5 seconds. Range is 285 miles.

The 2023 Mercedes EQS 580 SUV packs the biggest punch with its dual motors rated at 536 hp and 633 lb.-ft, moving its 3-ton plus bulk from zero-to-60 mph in an estimated 4.5 seconds, according to the company. Like the 450 4MATIC, range for the EQS 580 SUV is 285 miles.

The EQS 580 rides on 21-inch wheels, the others on standard 20-inchers.

It is on the inside that the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC blows away rivals.

Dominated by the 56-inch glass Hyperscreen that stretches across the front panels and features displays for the instrument cluster, touchscreen for infotainment functions, and a portrait display for the front-seat passenger, the cabin is filled with premium materials with lots of soft surfacds. Stitched white leather and wood trim complete the package.

Among standard features are heated and ventilated leather seats with “comfort” front headrests, a Burmeister premium sound system, dual panoramic sunroof, wireless Smartphone charging, keyless start and active parking assist.

A Driver’s Assist Package includes active distance assist, lane-keeping and blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control and Mercedes’ Pre-Safe Plus and Pre-Safe Impulse Side systems that prepare the vehicle for potential collision situations not only in front and behind you but also to the sides.

I can’t think of any reason why you would want to allow anyone else behind the wheel, but if say your spouse is a regular driver, a fingerprint scanner allows someone to scan their fingerprint and all their personal preferences will be set.

Optional features include an Executive Package for rear-seat riders with Comfort head rests, MBUX tablet, wireless charging, heated seats, and rear-side airbags.

Also available are 4- or 5-zone climate control, an MBUX rear-seat entertainment system, front multicontour seats with massage and rapid heating, and a third row of seats to increase capacity to seven occupants.

An optional Winter Package for those in colder climes adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and a heated windshield and windshield washer system that heats up the washer fluid bottle and lines to prevent freezing.

As the top model in the EQS SUV portfolio, the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC SUV carries a price tag to match its status. Starting MSRP is $125,590 not including the $1150 destination and delivery charge.

That puts it right at the high end of the luxury electric SUV segment with the Tesla Model X and well above its next direct competitor the BMW iX xDrive50i.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ has a starting price of $104,400 while the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 4MATIC starts at $107,400.

What I liked about the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC SUV:
While the exterior has the typical Mercedes distinctive looks, the interior is particularly stunning. The comfortable and quiet cabin as a futuristic look without being funky. Range is excellent, and acceleration is brisk. Caro space is generous behind the second row.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC SUV: The learning curve to all the tech features is on the steep side. Some hard-wired knobs would be welcome, but I guess Mercedes engineers go for appearance over convenience. Fortunately, many functions can be activated by using the “Hey, Mercedes” voice system. The headrest pillows can be a bit distracting as the one on driver’s side would unintentionally and frequently just brush the back of my head.

Would I buy the 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC SUV? Frankly, all this luxury is a bit overwhelming and so is the six-figure price tag. But if it is in your budget, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t check it out.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio



With its distinctive Italian styling and lively performance, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio offers an attractive alternative for those shopping in the compact luxury SUV market.

It is especially appealing to those who want to get away from the “cookie-cutter” design that prevails in the very competitive segment dominated in 2022 by Tesla’s Model Y and imports from Germany.

Introduced as a 2018 model, Alfa Romeo has added a couple of new trims for 2023 in limited edition Estrema and Lusso models, but we are dealing here with the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio that is offered in Sprint, Ti, Veloce, and Quadrifoglio versions. Veloce replaces the discontinued Stelvio Ti Sport that was part of the lineup for the first four years.

The 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio, which this review is based on, ups the ante in performance with a twin-turbo 2.6-liter V6 replacing the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the other trims, boosting horsepower and torque to 505 hp and 443 pound-feet. Numbers for the 4-banger are a respectable 280/305, respectively.

Zero-to-60 mph times for the V6 are in the sub-4.0 second range, or about twice as quick as those for 4-cylinder models.

All models get an 8-speed automatic transmission with available oversize paddle shifters mounted on the steering column. All-wheel drive is standard on all but the base Sprint trim, which has it as an option to standard rear-wheel drive.

The V6 in the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is a bit thirstier than the 4-cylinder Stelvio models with EPA figures of 17 miles-per-gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined compared to 22/28/24 for AWD 4-cylinder engine. Premium grade fuel is recommended for both engines.

Exterior features on the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio include unique front and rear fascias, Brembo performance brakes, dual quad exhaust stems, and a 4-leaf clover logo on the side panel that pays homage to Alfa Romeo’s racing heritage. “Quadrifoglio” is Italian for 4-leave clover. A hands-free liftgate also is included.

Standard interior features include heated front and rear seats, 8-way power adjustable front passenger and driver’s seats with 4-way power lumbar support, a carbon fiber steering wheel and carbon fiber trim, and a 14-speaker, Harmon Kardon audio system.

Front-seat passengers get a generous 40.1 inches of legroom, but riders in the second row must make do with almost 10 inches less. Cargo space is only 18.5 cubic feet unless the second-row seats are lowered, then it’s tripled to 56.5 cubic feet.

Among standard tech features are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a wireless charging system. An 8.8-inch display screen includes navigation.

Safety systems include full-speed frontal collision warning, blind-spot and cross-path detection, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with full stop.

My test 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio also included as options Driver’s Assist Package, dual-panel sunroof, and dynamic dual exhaust. The spectacular green exterior paint came with a price tag of $2200, which if memory serves as the most I’ve ever seen for a special paint in over 20 years of reviews.

All that and the $1,595 destination and delivery fee ran the final price up to $92,790 from the starting MSRP of $84,650.

Other Stelvio trims run from the mid-$40K range to just over $50,000.

What I liked about the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD: Exterior styling is appealing and distinctive. Performance is top notch. This is an SUV that definitely stands out like Sophia Loren in a room full of Rosie O’Donnell look-alikes. The Verdi (green) Montreal exterior on my test vehicle drew lots of positive attention in my stint.

What I didn’t like about the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD:
Infotainment features have a steep learning curve. The screen itself is on the small side, especially when compared to some of those on competitors. Rear-seat legroom is tight (31.9 inches). Cargo capacity is more in line with full-size sedan instead of typical SUV.

Would I buy the 2022 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio AWD? Love the look, but the Quadrifoglio’s MSRP is at the highest end of a segment filled with lots of quality choices. The Ti trim may be a more dollar-wise choice. It also offers all-wheel drive as standard and at a considerably more competitive price, but the Quadrifoglio packs a bigger punch.