The verdict: Mercedes-Benz’s first dedicated EV flagship, the 2022 EQS, is intended to set the tone for all future electric Mercedes – and it mostly succeeds.
Against the competition: Against a Tesla Model S, the EQS looks like the next generation of luxury electric vehicles, but against Mercedes-Benz’s traditional S-Class flagship, it looks like buyers will have to make some compromises.
If it seems to you that there is a sudden flood of electric cars from established automakers, that’s understandable – you’re not wrong. Mercedes-Benz in particular seems to have gone from zero to hero overnight when it comes to electric vehicles. Nothing noticeable to say, then suddenly we see models like the Mercedes-EQ EQS 2022, a flagship S-Class style electric sedan destined to compete with the Tesla Model S. Mercedes president Ola Kallenius explains it as a “S-curve” effect – it seems like nothing is done, then suddenly new technology is everywhere and everyone has it. Work on the EQS began five years ago, according to Kallenius, with half a dozen other electric vehicles that Mercedes-Benz will put on sale in 2022 and the following year. Thank Tesla for sparking the change and proving that yes, there is is a pretty big market for premium electric vehicles – he’s convinced the world to start building theirs, and the world is about to become a much more interesting place because of it.
Related: 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS all-electric sedan starting at $ 103,360
This new flagship Mercedes sedan represents the future of the famous luxury brand. This is a clean design on a new platform called Electric Vehicle Architecture that the automaker will use to create a whole range of vehicles, including the AMG EQS sedan, EQS SUV, and mid-size sedan and EQE SUV. future. But the first outing is a pair of top-tier luxury sedans, the EQS450 Plus and EQS580 4Matic, which Mercedes is pitching as electric alternatives to the traditional S-Class sedan, which itself has been redesigned for the 2021 model year. But the mission of the EQS is different from that of the S-Class – the EQS embodies the automaker’s new ‘progressive luxury’ aesthetic, as opposed to the more traditional ‘sophisticated luxury’ idea of the S-Class. It means a lot more technology, a more adventurous design, and a new attitude to the look, feel and function of a Mercedes-Benz. I drove the new models through Northern California to get a feel for what it is heralding its future and came away impressed… above all.
Choose your powertrain
The biggest difference between the two EQS models available at launch is in the powertrain: the EQS450 Plus is a rear-wheel-drive single-engine model developing 329 horsepower and 419 lb-ft of torque. The EQS580 4Matic is a dual-engine, all-wheel-drive model producing 516 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque. They use the same battery: a 112 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit that sits in the floor of the vehicle. Mercedes-Benz says it can be recharged in about 11 hours on a 240-volt Level 2 charger (rated at 32 amps), or it can go from 10% to 80% charge on a 200-kilowatt DC fast charger in about 31 minutes. . Like almost all EVs, every EQS is quick and quick – Mercedes reports that the 450 Plus will do 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the more powerful 580 will do it in 4.1 seconds. These are exceptional numbers for such a heavy vehicle (around 5,600 pounds for the 450 Plus and just under 5,900 pounds for the 580).
On the street, both models feel like excellent heirs to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class ideal – they’re incredibly smooth, quiet, and deliver instant acceleration that comes on the throttle without any fury, drama or visceral landmarks. While maybe not as tightly coiled as a top Tesla Model S, it will likely only matter on a drag strip. The mission of an EQS is to be an electric S-Class, which is more about moving confidently between home and office than carving corners in your favorite canyon (and if that’s what you really want) do, maybe wait for the high-performance AMG EQS which comes a few months after the inferior EQS models). The steering of the EQS is only moderately communicative, but that of an S-Class is too. The real thing with the steering is the effect that the rear axle steering function has on the agility of the car – it’s amazing. The rear wheels can turn up to 10 degrees, helping the front wheels shorten the car’s turning radius in urban settings or improve its agility on narrow, winding roads. It works wonderfully, making the large EQS feel like a a lot smaller car to drive in any environment.
The ride is buttery smooth thanks to standard air suspension, and even in Sport mode, it’s just a firmer ticking. It’s not a sports car – it’s a grand touring sedan, and nothing from the outside should disturb your zen. The acceleration of the single-engine 450 Plus is quick, but hit the pedal in the 580 4Matic and it’s downright daredevil. The duality of their personalities makes me smile – this is a luxury sedan with smooth, floating manners until you hit the accelerator, then the best quality of electric vehicles becomes evident: immediate torque at zero rpm. min. That means you have to be sure you can take that off-ramp before that truck or get through the next traffic light before it turns yellow. Either EQS goes, turns and rolls beautifully… but it doesn’t stop so well.
The problem with how the EQS works are the brakes – they’re just terrible. They are a combination of electric regenerative braking and traditional hydraulic friction operation, and the mixture is poorly adjusted. There are four levels of “recovery”, as Mercedes-Benz calls it: none, which allows the car to run freely; Normal, which uses a minimum of engine braking to recover energy; Automatic, which alone determines the amount to be applied based on a number of factors; and maximum recovery, which is the one-pedal driving option that many EV owners love to use. In all conditions, the brake pedal has a very long stroke and a spongy feel, inspiring no confidence in the braking feel of the car. In maximum recovery mode, it even moves the brake pedal all alone when you stop, so when you step on the pedal, it isn’t actually where you thought it was; it makes you push faster and harder than you expected, creating a more brutal panic stop. Braking feel and performance are vastly different from a Mercedes, and that’s the only real flaw in an otherwise sublime driving experience. It wasn’t enough to be a deciding factor for the EQS, but it kept me from shifting the car into one-pedal drive mode most of the time.
This screen, good God …
Settle into the chic front seats and there is only one thing that will grab your attention: the precisely named Hyperscreen, a beautiful 56-inch piece of curved glass behind which sits three different digital screens. The 12.3-inch gauge cluster is located behind the steering wheel, while a 17.7-inch organic light-emitting diode display adorns the center console, while another A 12.3-inch OLED display sits in the passenger-side dashboard, allowing the co-pilot to use various functions. It’s a mind-boggling combination of gorgeous technological magic and an expanse of weirdly designed super reflective glass that will dazzle the outside sun in your eyes no matter what angle the car is facing. It’s also confusing, which means you have to set the steering wheel to an abnormally high position in order to see the gauge cluster, resulting in an uncomfortable “arms-up” riding position. You will likely end up holding the steering wheel in the 4 and 8 o’clock positions instead of the 10 and 2 positions to give your arms a break every now and then.