Mercedes EQS review
While short, our initial drive in Mercedes’ new fully electric S-Class alternative left us with high hopes for when it arrives in the UK
- Massive range
- Surprisingly engaging to drive
- Hugely impressive on-board tech
- Slight firmness to the ride
- Likely to be extremely expensive
- Styling may be too futuristic for some
|Model||Official range||Home wallbox charging||Rapid charging|
|EQS 450+||485 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 11kW)||32mins (10-80%, 200kW)|
|EQS 580 4MATIC||420 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 11kW)||32mins (10-80%, 200kW)|
Over many years and many generations, the Mercedes S-Class has come to define the luxury car class. But now, to create what it sees as the ultimate luxury electric car, Mercedes hasn't just produced an electric variant of the S-Class: it has created the completely new, designed-from-the-ground-up EQS. Our first drive was on the short side, so we won’t be passing definitive judgement just yet, but suffice to say our initial impressions of what should be a landmark electric car are very positive.
Under the striking bodywork of the currently top-of-the-range EQS 580 4MATIC that we drove are two electric motors (one on each axle), which produce 516bhp and 855Nm of torque combined. Despite this car’s 2.6-tonne heft, they can accelerate it from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds. That’s not quite Tesla Model S Plaid quick, but an even more powerful, faster version of the EQS is coming from Mercedes' AMG performance division in the near future.
What’s more impressive is Mercedes' commitment to range and aerodynamics with the EQS. The result of its endeavours is not only a maximum range of nearly 500 miles, but also incredibly low drag coefficient of just 0.20 – claimed to be the lowest of any production car to date.
But perhaps an even bigger difference between the EQS and the S-Class than the more sweeping styling is the incredible interior. The centrepiece is the new 1.41-metre-wide 'Hyperscreen' that’s debuting in the EQS – and standard on the 580 4MATIC model. Under a huge single piece of curved glass are three separate screens: a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display, another 12.3-inch unit for the front-seat passenger and a 17.7-inch central infotainment screen. It’s exceptional to use, allowing you to control all manner of the car's function using the extensive but logically designed menus.
And there's no need to worry about getting distracted by the glorious Hyperscreen while on the move, as versions of the EQS fitted with the three-screen system also feature a camera that monitors your attentiveness, so the car will display a warning if it thinks you’re not focused enough on the road or need to take a break.
There’s no 'frunk' compartment in the EQS like you get in a Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan or Audi e-tron GT, but you still get a whopping 610 litres of boot space. Or, if you lower the rear seats, that expands to 1,770 litres. Overall, the space available in the EQS is very generous, which is what you’d expect from a car that's not only trying to exceed the expectations of S-Class owners, but also one that's 5.22 metres long and 1.93 metres wide.
To help with manoeuvring the EQS, rear-axle steering is available, with the test car we drove capable of reaching a steering angle of 10 degrees. The result is a turning circle only 40cm larger than that of the far smaller Renault ZOE electric city car. The size of the EQS is also needed to fit the 107.8kWh battery you’ll find in both the 580 4MATIC variant we drove and the rear-drive 450+ variant that's also coming to the UK.
A 90kWh battery will be available later, but at launch in the UK the 107.8kWh unit is the only option. Charging at home from a wallbox should take around 10-and-half hours for either model (provided you have three-phase power to make the most of the 11kW on-board charging capability), but the EQS is also capable of recharging at up to 200kW from a fast enough public rapid charger. At that speed, it'll take just 31 minutes to replenish from 10 to 80% capacity. A degree of topping up on the move also takes place thanks to regenerative braking, and on first impressions the EQS' system seems particularly effective.
To drive, the EQS is incredibly stable and boasts impressively precise steering, with good feedback that makes it feel more like a driver’s car than is typically the case with luxury limousines. This is slightly supported by the suspension, which doesn’t provide the cloud-like softness some may want, but still responds well to the road surface. As mentioned above, the regenerative braking system is also excellent to use, while the acceleration from the dual-motor setup in the variant we drove is as strong, fast and quiet as you’d expect from a top-end electric car.
Exact prices for the EQS in the UK have yet to be revealed, but given the amount of technology on board, the battery size and the level of engineering that has gone into Mercedes' new electric flagship, we expect it'll have to start off at around the £100,000 mark – close to the high-spec versions of rivals from Tesla, Porsche and Audi.