Two minute review
Did you know that Mercedes-Benz makes two flagship sedans? In addition to the familiar internal combustion S Class, the company now offers a new-from-the-ground-up battery EV, the EQS.
Both deliver gobs of luxury, but these two cars target different audiences. While the S Class is aimed at the traditional Mercedes customer, the EQS showcases the company’s future with radical design and technology.
The EQS is the flagship vehicle for Mercedes-Benz’ all-electric EQ brand, and is built on the new EVA battery-electric platform that will soon also underpin the mid-size EQE sedan and the EQS and EQE SUVs.
We recently spent a week driving the RWD EQS 450+ and a day behind the wheel of both the AWD EQS 580 4Matic and the AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ – all in US-spec.
The EQS models range from 329hp (0-60mph in 5.9s) for the EQS 450+, to 649hp (0-60mph in just 3.4s) for the AMG version, with a minimum EPA range of 340 miles (671 km WLTP).
During our week with the EQS 450+, we found the real-life range seemed to be closer to 385 miles, which is a nice bonus.
We hope you like eggs, because that’s pretty much what the EQS looks like. While the exterior design is extremely aerodynamic (0.20 Cd), it’s also quite ungainly – especially when compared to the lovely EQS Concept from 2019 or today’s elegant S Class.
Basically, the front proportions are all wrong and reminds us of a FWD economy car instead of a flagship sedan. The rear is a lot more sorted however.
Things are a lot more exciting inside. The EQS exudes luxury, with premium materials, superb build quality, and best-in-class amenities – from quilted, heated, cooled, and massaging front seats to 4-zone climate control with aromatherapy. The interior design is Mercedes at its best – opulent and sophisticated, yet spacious and welcoming.
But it’s the futuristic 56-inch Hyperscreen ($7,000) that really steals the show.
The EQS’ party trick is rear-wheel steering, which reduces the turning circle of this large sedan to that of a small car, and improves agility at higher speeds.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal until you experience it, but it makes a huge difference. And the standard air suspension makes the EQS supremely comfortable no matter the road conditions.
Regardless which EQS you pick, there’s plenty of power on tap. The AMG version stands out here, both in terms of performance and dynamics. While it’s definitely sportier than the other models, it doesn’t sacrifice comfort.
The EQS is quite enjoyable to drive, and ideal for long-distance travel. Mercedes’ Level 2 ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) further adds to this experience.
The EQS comes with all the tech you’d expect to find in a modern EV, including self-parking, a 360-degree view, LTE connectivity, WiFi hotspot support, OTA (over-the-air) software updates, phone-as-a-key functionality, phone remote control via the “me Connect” app, wired and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Qi wireless phone charging, internet audio streaming, and the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant.
The Hyperscreen (a $7000 option that’s standard on the AWD models) covers almost the entire dashboard and incorporates three separate displays behind a massive curved glass panel. It looks incredibly futuristic and provides haptic feedback when touched.
But wait, there’s more. The EQS also offers a large color HUD (heads-up-display) with AR (augmented reality). It’s surprisingly accurate and extremely helpful. Other standout tech features include V2X (vehicle to everything) – which displays traffic light information – an integrated toll payment system, and remote parking using the phone app.
No infotainment system is complete without quality audio, and Mercedes’ 15-speaker Burmester sound system is simply fantastic. Adding to the sensory experience is an array of 190 color LEDs that provide customizable and interactive interior ambient lighting.
Impressive tech aside, though, the EQS is an extremely well rounded flagship. While it represents Mercedes’ future, it also delivers effortless comfort, a luxurious interior, superb craftsmanship, and – thanks to competitive range and performance – a delightful EV experience for driver and passengers alike.
In other words, the EQS is the ultimate electric luxo-barge – and we mean this in the most endearing of ways.
Ultimately, the only real problem with the EQS is its exterior. We’re not fans of the direction Mercedes is taking here, especially when the Porsche Taycan, Lucid Air, and Tesla Model S – while not perfect designs – are all better looking cars.
It’s even worse when you compare the EQS with the internal combustion S Class, which is significantly more appealing. If you can get past this, the EQS is absolutely one of the best EVs available today.
Mercedes EQS price and availability
- EQS price from $102,310 (before incentives) / £99,995
- Hyperscreen display a $7,000 extra on base model
- Three models and three trims
In the US, Mercedes currently offers two EQS models – the RWD (single motor) EQS 450+ ($102,310 before incentives), and the AWD (dual motor) EQS 580 4Matic ($119,110 before incentives).
A third model, the AWD (dual motor) AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ will be available early 2022 (pricing TBD). The Hyperscreen is standard on the EQS 580 4Matic and AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ and optional ($7,000) on the EQS 450+.
In addition, US EQS models are available in three trims – Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle. Premium includes almost all the comfort features described in our 2-minute review above.
Exclusive adds massaging front seats, 4-zone climate control, ionizing air purification, and aromatherapy. Pinnacle adds power heated and cooled rear seats, rear Qi wireless phone charging, and rear side-impact airbags – think executive limousine.
In the UK, there are two models to choose from. The RWD (single motor) EQS 450+ model comes in five trims – AMG Line (£99,995), Luxury or AMG Line Premium (£106,995), and Exclusive Luxury or AMG Line Premium Plus (£113,995).
Additionally, the AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ model is available in two trims – Night Edition or Touring (both £154,995). The AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ will be coming to Australia mid-2022 (pricing TBD).
The EQS 450+ we reviewed came with the Hyperscreen ($7,000), the Exclusive trim (+$3,400), and a few extras – including the gorgeous Neva Grey / Biscaya Blue Nappa leather ($4,450) and Natural Grain Yacht-design Brown Walnut wood interior ($1,515) – about $121,000 in all.
Mercedes EQS design
- Ungainly egg-like exterior
- Luxurious and spacious interior
- Best-in-class amenities
Design-wise, the EQS is a mixed bag. While the exterior is sleek and futuristic, the car looks awkward – a far cry from the attractive Vision EQS Concept that wowed us at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show.
It’s oddly proportioned, especially in front. The forward-leaning A pillars, short hood, high cowl, and front quarter windows give the EQS a FWD economy car-like appearance which isn’t befitting of a big luxury sedan.
At least the egg-like design is excellent for aerodynamics, with a coefficient of drag (Cd) of just 0.20 for the EQS 450+ and 580 4Matic, and 0.23 for the AMG EQS 53 4Matic+.
Interestingly, the EQS comes with a power retractable panoramic moonroof (and power sunshade) – something that Tesla offered on the Model S for several years before dropping the option in 2018, and something that’s simply not available on most electric cars.
In some areas, the EQS has more in common with the Tesla Model S than the S Class – like the flush, motorized, slide-out door handles and frameless windows. And while it’s also a hatchback it doesn’t have a frunk.
In fact, the hood doesn’t even open. Instead, there’s a small rectangular panel in the front left fender that pops open to accept windshield wiper fluid. Frankly, this is not very elegant for a $100k+ vehicle.
The interior design is a lot more appealing. Besides being supremely luxurious and spacious inside, the EQS is also extremely high-tech. The 56-inch Hyperscreen is standard on AWD models and optional ($7,000) on the EQS 450+.
It covers most of the dashboard and is the centerpiece of this futuristic interior. But instead of blending luxury with minimalism like the Lucid Air, the EQS puts a modern twist on Mercedes’ S Class cabin.
For example, the Exclusive trim we reviewed is packed with premium amenities – from quilted, heated, cooled, and massaging front seats with headrest pillows, to 4-zone climate control, air quality monitoring, ionizing air purification, and aromatherapy.
The EQS delivers impeccable build quality and craftsmanship, with first rate materials such as Nappa leather, open-pore wood, and machined aluminum. The window switches alone are exquisite.
While there’s (sadly) no frunk, the trunk provides ample room for storage – up to 63 cubic feet (1770 liters) with the 40/60 split rear seats folded down and 22 cubic feet (610 liters) with the seats up.
There are multiple storage cubbies available in the center console, plus a small glove box. Soft-close doors are available on some models (like the AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ we drove), and even auto open / close doors on some trims.
Mercedes EQS drive, range and charging
- Comfort meets performance
- Generous range
- Sporty AMG version
With an EPA range of 350 miles (768km WLTP) and 329hp, the EQS 450+ accelerates from 0-60mph in 5.9s (0-100km/h in 6.2s) thanks to a single motor in the rear.
The 516hp dual-motor EQS 580 4Matic does the 0-60mph sprint in 4.1s (0-100km/h in 4.3s), and achieves an EPA range of 340 miles (671km WLTP).
No official EPA range exists for the 649hp AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ yet, but it reaches 0-60mph in just 3.4s (0-100km/h in 3.8s).
All three models pack a massive 107.8kWh battery and support DC fast charging at up to 200kW (10-80% in 31 minutes), and Level 2 AC charging at up to 9.6kW (for a full charge in about 10 hours at 240V 40A).
We DC fast charged the EQS for about 25 minutes (37-80%) using a 150kW Electrify America station in San Francisco’s Mission district, and the charging rate peaked at 138kW.
We only drove the EQS 580 4Matic and AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ for half a day, so we can’t comment on their range, but the EQS 450+’s range exceeded the EPA’s 350-mile rating by about 10% during our week with it – even after spirited driving.
If anything, Mercedes appears to be conservative with the EQS’ indicated range. This is extremely welcome, and further cements the EQS as an ideal long-distance cruiser.
In the US, the EQS includes up to 30-minutes of free charging per session for two years on Electrify America’s charging network – with seamless plug-and-charge support.
The car also comes with a Mercedes-branded NFC tag to use with ChargePoint’s charging network. Mercedes calls this charging network aggregation “me Charge”. In Europe, it integrates with Ionity’s charging network.
Since the EQS is a big car with a long wheelbase, it features standard rear-wheel steering – up to 10 degrees on US models (9 degrees on the AMG version). This drastically improves maneuverability at both low and high speeds.
The standard air suspension makes the EQS feel immensely comfortable and further decreases the already impressive drag coefficient by automatically lowering the ride height at higher speeds.
On the performance front, the EQS is no slouch. While acceleration is brisk on the RWD EQS 450+, the AWD 580 4Matic and AMG version feel like rocket ships – easily matching the punch we experienced with the Tesla Model 3 Long Range (AWD) with Acceleration Boost.
And while the EQS is clearly tuned more for comfort, it handles surprisingly well for a 5,600lbs (2450kg) vehicle. Obviously, the ride quality is outstanding.
Like most cars today, the EQS’ steering doesn’t provide much feedback and is rather light, but it firms up a little in Sport mode – and so do the dampers.
The EQS takes a similar approach to the Porsche Taycan by blending regen and hydraulic braking, and it’s pretty seamless. It even offers four levels of regen, selectable via steering wheel paddles – low, medium, high, and automatic (which enables one-pedal driving).
The AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ certainly feels more sporty than the other two models, with better steering feel, and a slightly firmer, more communicative suspension in Sport and Sport+ modes.
It’s also available with optional carbon-ceramic brakes for maximum stopping power, plus AMG-specific motor and battery design tweaks. These improvements make the AMG version an even more enjoyable and capable EV.
If we have one niggle driving the EQS, it’s with the high cowl, which somewhat restricts forward visibility, but that’s easily fixed by adjusting the seats and steering wheel – as long as you don’t mind a slightly higher seating position with a bit less headroom.
Rear visibility is fine, though, and those quilted, heated, cooled, and massaging front seats are absolutely fantastic in terms of both comfort and adjustability (lumbar and side bolsters).
Overall, the EQS is always pleasant to drive, particularly on longer trips. We were also impressed with the competence of Mercedes’ Level 2 ADAS (advanced driver assistance system), which felt just as robust as Tesla’s Autopilot – and certainly more polished than what most of the competition has to offer.
Obviously, the EQS also includes a comprehensive set of driver assistance and safety features.
Mercedes EQS specs and tech
- Futuristic 56-inch Hyperscreen
- Infotainment on steroids
- Forward-looking tech
Tech is omnipresent in the EQS. Beyond self-parking and the usual 360-degree view, there’s a large color HUD (heads-up display) that uses AR (augmented reality) to draw arrows and other navigation directions directly on top of the world in front of you, making it much easier to know if you’re taking the right exit or getting in the right lane.
It’s genius, but it’s only available when using the built-in navigation – not Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
But honestly, while the EQS offers both wired and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Mercedes’ Hyperscreen-based infotainment and navigation system is good enough that we actually preferred using it most of the time.
It packs a ton of features, from LTE connectivity and WiFi hotspot support, to V2X (vehicle to everything) integration, a built-in dashcam, and even an integrated toll payment system.
V2X is particularly interesting as it allows the car to communicate with various other things, including road infrastructure using WiFi and cellular (LTE and 5G) technologies.
For example, here in San Francisco, the EQS automatically receives traffic light information (TLI) at most intersections and displays a countdown timer in the instrument cluster. But this tech can also be used to warn drivers of upcoming construction zones, for example.
Biometrics also play a role in the EQS’ tech arsenal. Face recognition is supported, along with voice and fingerprint identification. This enables switching driver profiles, and – in the future – in-car payments.
Unfortunately, the fingerprint sensor is located in the center console and is easy to accidentally brush with your arm or hand. This results in a warning message on the Hyperscreen, which you have to dismiss.
Speaking of the Hyperscreen, it looks incredibly sci-fi, especially at night. It’s actually made of three separate displays bonded to a single huge curved glass panel – a 12.3-inch instrument panel for the driver, a 17.7-inch touchscreen in the middle, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the passenger.
Both touchscreens include haptic feedback and each run a separate instance of the infotainment system, which enables some interesting use cases.
For example, the front passenger can browse the web on their screen and listen to SiriusXM satellite radio over Bluetooth headphones while navigation is running on the center display and music is playing from the driver’s phone over the EQS’ superb 15-speaker Burmester sound system.
The front passenger can adjust the 4-zone climate control on their screen while the driver selects a different seat massage program on the center display.
Oh, and that Burmester sound system is a gem. It sounds amazing, and obviously supports the usual audio sources – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, USB, AM / FM terrestrial radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, plus internet radio.
But the best feature is the Equalizer Matrix, which lets you pick a favorite EQ setting from an array of 121 presets arranged in square with “bass”, “intensive”, “speech”, and “brilliant” at the four corners.
But unlike Tesla vehicles, it doesn’t include video streaming, so you can’t watch Netflix on the Hyperscreen while charging. Bummer. On the plus side, the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant can tell the driver and front passenger apart and lets you control everything from the cabin temperature to the ambient light color.
Lighting is another area where the EQS shines (pun intended). In addition to adaptive matrix headlights, the tail lights incorporate a unique 3D helix design.
The interior lighting is spectacular, with over 190 sequenced LEDs that display 64 colors, and wrap around the entire cabin. Besides ambient lighting, these LEDs provide visual feedback for the various safety features, the voice assistant, and more.
The EQS also includes auditory feedback in case you miss the growl of internal combustion. It’s well done, but we quickly turned it off – fake sounds are really pointless, particularly with EVs. Just enjoy the peace and quiet as you glide in comfort and leave everyone in the dust over and over again.
And with the EQS, you’ll be doing this a lot. Unfortunately, you can’t completely disable the fake sounds on the AMG version.
Mercedes’ smartphone app is called “me Connect” and enables the usual vehicle remote control features – including remote parking – plus phone-as-a-key functionality.
And obviously, the EQS also supports OTA (over-the-air) software updates. Oh, and speaking of electric cars and charging, did I mention the six USB Type-C ports and the Qi wireless charging pad yet? Phew – that’s a lot of tech in one car.
Should I buy a Mercedes-Benz EQS?
Buy it if…
You want the ultimate long-distance cruiser
No other EV matches the EQS’ combination of supreme comfort and excellent range.
You want effortless luxury and performance
The EQS provides a well-rounded, and delightful EV experience for driver and passengers alike.
You want forward-looking tech
From the futuristic Hyperscreen to the augmented reality HUD, the EQS is packed with state-of-the art tech.
Don’t buy it if…
You want a good looking car
The EQS’ egg-like proportions are awkward and the exterior design is simply not worthy of a big luxury sedan.
You want an understated cabin
While the EQS’ opulent and sophisticated interior might be welcoming and spacious, it’s also a little ostentatious.
You want minimal tech
While everything’s pretty intuitive, the EQS is a tech-heavy vehicle meant to showcase Mercedes’ future.