2021 Mercedes EQS electric luxury saloon: details, specs and on-sale date

The new Mercedes S-Class-sized luxury electric saloon has been revealed in full

Mercedes EQS

Mercedes is looking to raise the bar once again with its first electric saloon car, the EQS. The Mercedes S-Class has long been the benchmark for executive limousines and set precedents for technology and innovation in the car world as a whole. With the EQS, Mercedes is hoping to do the same for electric cars.

The range will initially launch with the two variants: the rear-wheel-drive EQS 450+ and the all-wheel drive EQS 580 4MATIC. Both will use a whopping 107.8kWh battery, which Mercedes claims will make the EQS capable of up to 478 miles of driving on a single charge. For comparison, the Tesla Model S Long Range, which at the moment is the most likely rival to the EQS, uses a 95kWh battery and has a maximum range of 412 miles.

Mercedes EQS design

The EQS features a very rounded nose, similar to that of the EQC and EQA electric SUVs we’ve already driven. At the nose, the EQS features wide vents like the latest S-Class, as opposed to a grille, which Mercedes has replaced with a panel to improve aerodynamics. 

This commitment to improving airflow continues throughout the EQS’ design, with a more sweeping roofline and shorter bootlid and spoiler – all of which has more in common with the couple-like CLS than the S-Class. It’s a far more futuristic approach than the more conventional styling of the electric BMW 7 Series we recently spied testing. But it seems this new design language has proved beneficial, as Mercedes claims the EQS is now the most aerodynamic production car in the world.

However, like all large electric cars, the EQS is heavy. This 5.21-metre long executive limousine weighs 2,585kg in its dual-motor form. To help with maneuverability, the EQS is fitted with four-wheel steering, so it can turn tighter at low speeds – but the system also aids stability on the motorway. 

There'll be 4.5 degrees of rear steering as standard but, as with Teslas and Polestars, the EQS will receive continual over-the-air (OTA) updates, which can be used to unlock 10 degrees of rear-axle steering. This will reduce the turning circle of the EQS to 10.9 metres – only 40cm more than the Renault ZOE electric city car. Plus, Mercedes has programmed the adaptive air suspension to lower the EQS’ ride height at speeds above 74mph, thus reducing aerodynamic drag and increasing range.

Interior

Undeniably one of the biggest talking points of the EQS is the 55.5-inch 'Hyperscreen' infotainment system. The company sees this as the ultimate iteration of its 'MBUX' in-car infotainment system, which was first introduced on the latest version of the A-Class hatchback in 2018. As mentioned above, the EQS' infotainment system will also be continually improved with over-the-air (OTA) updates.

Underneath the single 141cm piece of scratch-resistant glass are three individual screens: a 12.3-inch drivers display for essential information, a 17.7-inch central infotainment touchscreen and finally another 12.3-inch display for the front passenger. However, Hyperscreen is an optional extra that we’ll have to test out before we can say whether or not it'll be worth the extra.

The EQS is the first car to be built on Mercedes' 'EVA' modular platform for large electric cars. As in the smaller EQA, Mercedes has mounted the batteries between the axles and given the EQS an extremely long wheelbase without elongating the car itself. That means passengers should have plenty of legroom all round. Plus, the EQS’ boot has a capacity of 610 litres, which can be expanded to 1,770 litres when the seats are folded down.

Range and charging

The EQS will be available with either a 90 or 107.8kWh battery. At launch, the 107.8kWh size will be the only option in the EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4MATIC. Mercedes claims the car's aerodynamic design and 107.8kWh battery should allow for a driving range of 478 miles, but official range figures from testing for the first two EQS models have yet to be announced. We expect the longest range will come from the slightly lighter, rear-wheel-drive EQS 450+.

The EQS will also feature Mercedes’ Navigation with Electric Intelligence, which will plan routes including charging stops. And juicing up the EQS shouldn’t take long, as it's compatible with 200kW DC rapid charging. The 107.8kWh models should take just 31 minutes to charge from 10-80% at that speed. Or if you’re pressed for time, you can add 173 miles of range to the EQS 580 4MATIC in 15 minutes and 186 miles of range to an EQS 450+ in the same time. However, there are very few of the 350kW chargers capable of those speeds operational in the UK right now.

As standard, the EQS is fitted with an 11kW on-board charger, but an upgraded 20kW on-board charger is also available. Charging at home from a wallbox should take around 10.5 hours for either model.

Performance

Thanks to its dual-motor setup, the EQS 580 4MATIC offers four-wheel drive with a total output of 509bhp and 855Nm of torque: enough for a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds. The EQS 450+ uses a single motor to drive the rear wheels, producing 328bhp and 568Nm of torque. The EQS 450+ will be capable of 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds. 

Both models are limited to a 130mph top speed. We expect more variants to follow, with Mercedes confirming plans for a 740bhp version that would stand as an electric equivalent to the Mercedes-AMG S63 and S65 variants of the combustion-engined S-Class.

Price, equipment and on-sale date

The Mercedes S-Class often sets world firsts for its use of technology and innovative safety features, and the EQS is no different. The 'Hey Mercedes' voice assistant has evolved in the EQS; it can now work with rear-seat passengers as well as those in the front – an important consideration for a primarily chauffeur-driven car such as this. The optional 'Rear Seat Entertainment Plus Package' adds two 11.6-inch displays, which can share content with the other screens in the car.

Among the several intelligent safety systems the EQS comes with are active steering assistance, attention assistance, active lane-changing assistance and a host of parking-assistance systems – all aided by the up to 350 sensors built into the EQS. There's also adaptive cruise control that'll accelerate at a different rate depending on the amount of charge left in the car.

But Mercedes says the biggest technological advancement is the car's Drive Pilot system, which makes the EQS capable of Level 3 'eyes-off' self-driving at up to 37mph. The system is only legal in Germany for the time being, but should allow you to carry out small secondary activities while driving where legal – for example, adjusting a setting on the car in slow motorway traffic.

Mercedes has yet to reveal pricing for the EQS, but we expect the 107.8kWh battery size and level of technology mean the EQS will start in the region of £100,000 when it goes on sale in the UK. That's close to the £93,000 price of the latest Tesla Model S Long Range with optional 'Full Self-Driving' capabilities, as well as many of the EQS’ other rivals – which you can read about on our list of the best luxury electric cars.

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