Mercedes EQS review
Mercedes' electric flagship doesn't disappoint when it comes to interior quality or on-board technology, although ride comfort can't quite match that of the traditional S-Class
- Massive range
- Interior quality
- Hugely impressive on-board tech
- Slight firmness to the ride
- £100,000 starting price
- Styling may be too futuristic for some
|Model||Official range||Home wallbox charging||Rapid charging|
|EQS 450+||453 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 11kW)||32mins (10-80%, 200kW)|
|EQS 580 4MATIC||420 miles||11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 11kW)||32mins (10-80%, 200kW)|
Mercedes hasn’t shied away from declaring its electrification plans: it intends to offer an electric vehicle in every segment from 2025 and transition to an electric-only brand by the end of the decade. To usher in its zero-emissions era, Mercedes has launched what it believes is the ultimate luxury electric car: the completely new, designed-from-the-ground-up EQS.
While more variants are expected to arrive in the near future, so far only three versions are available: the ‘entry-level’ EQS 450+ gets a single 324bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels only, while the EQS 580 4MATIC features two electric motors (one on each axle) and produces 516bhp combined. Then, there's the EQS 53 4MATIC+, cooked up by Mercedes' AMG performance division, with up to 751bhp and 1,020Nm on tap.
None of them are quite Tesla Model S Plaid quick, as the over 2.4-tonne luxury electric limousine takes 6.2 seconds to reach 62mph from a standstill – or 4.3 seconds if you go for the 2.6-tonne all-wheel-drive version – but the considerable torque of even the 450+ model is enough to surprise you. But if you still don’t think the EQS is fast enough, the AMG-tuned version will do the same sprint to 62mph in under four seconds. You can read our verdict on the Mercedes' first electric supersaloon here.
What’s also undeniably impressive is the EQS’ range, which is thanks to both an incredibly aerodynamic body and a gigantic 107.8kWh battery. The result is a Tesla-troubling 453-mile range for the rear-drive 450+ model and around 420 miles for the 580 4MATIC. For reference, the latest Tesla Model S Long Range is capable of just over 400 miles, while only top-spec Porsche Taycan variants can crack 300 miles.
But it’s not just about headline-grabbing figures – what helps the EQS stand out from the rest, including all other modern Mercedes, is its interior. The centrepiece is the 1.41-metre-wide 'Hyperscreen', which is standard on the 580 4MATIC and 53 4MATIC+, but it's a near-£8,000 option on the 450+. 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 operate everything from media and phone connectivity, to seating configurations and driver assistance systems.
While somewhat overwhelming at first, the system is surprisingly intuitive. The home button brings you back to the main map interface, with an easy-to-access favourites bar bringing up your most-used features. And there's no need to worry about getting distracted by the 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.
As you’d expect from Mercedes' electric flagship – and the zero-emissions alternative to the S-Class – the interior features the finest materials money can buy covering every surface you see and touch, and even some you don’t. The cabin is solidly built, and while there's a familiarity to the switchgear, even minute details like those have been upgraded to some degree from what's in Mercedes’ petrol-powered flagship.
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 have a whopping 610 litres of boot space and a hatchback tailgate that makes loading the Mercedes far easier than its rivals. Plus, if you lower the rear seats, the space expands to 1,770 litres.
Overall, the space 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 is also 5.22 metres long and 1.93 metres wide. The EQS doesn’t offer S-Class levels of rear seat room, though – this is a result of the car’s sleek shape and low roofline. But there's just enough headroom for a six-foot-tall adult to sit comfortably, and legroom is no problem whatsoever. There’s loads of space for your feet, too, thanks to the almost completely flat floor.
To help with manoeuvring the EQS, rear-axle steering is standard. A 4.5-degree setup is standard, but our car came with the optional 10-degree setup – the result of which is a turning circle only 40cm larger than that of the far smaller Renault ZOE electric city car. After taking the time to get used to it, the rear-axle steering did make the car feel incredibly agile and surprisingly nimble, with the EQS’ light steering further emphasising its sense of agility.
The EQS’ air suspension on the other hand, isn’t perfect. Ride comfort is very good 90% of the time and overall this is a very comfortable car, with only deep potholes capable of upsetting its composure. But it also doesn’t provide the cloud-like softness some may want.
Still, the EQS offers unrivalled refinement, and is near-silent at lower speeds, with only a tiny amount of wind noise around the A-pillars manifesting itself once you approach motorway speeds. All of which makes for an incredibly pleasant driving experience, just not the most engaging.
Much like Mercedes' other electric offerings, such as the EQA and EQC, there are various levels of regenerative braking to choose from. As well as what are effectively ‘on’ and ‘off’ settings, the EQS also features ‘intelligent recuperation’, which uses the car's various cameras and computers to decide when to feed power back into the battery. While not fool-proof, it works well in everyday driving situations, with the car slowing for roundabouts and matching the speed of the vehicle in front. The system can even bring the car to a complete stop.
We remained in this setting for almost the entirety of our time with the EQS, and barely touched the conventional brakes in normal use. Given that Mercedes still hasn’t mastered natural brake-pedal feel in its big EVs, this is something of a blessing in disguise.
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-a-half hours for either model (provided you have three-phase power and powerful enough home charger 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 ultra-rapid charger. At that speed, it'll take just 31 minutes to replenish from 10 to 80% capacity.
On the safety front, the EQS was awarded the maximum five-star score after going through Euro NCAP testing. Adult and child occupant scores were 96% and 91% respectively and the car's active collision-avoidance technology earned it an 80% score in the safety assist category. Protection of vulnerable road users (i.e. pedestrians and cyclists) was rated at 76%.
The EQS 450+ is on sale now in the UK, with five trim levels to choose from: AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Plus, Luxury and Exclusive Luxury. Prices start from £99,995, but that's hardly a surprise given the amount of technology on board, the battery size and the level of engineering that has gone into Mercedes' electric flagship. The EQS' price tag is also very close to the high-spec versions of rivals from Tesla, Porsche and Audi – with kit like matrix lights, 20-inch wheels and a panoramic roof included on even the entry-level AMG Line model.
Meanwhile, the far more potent, range-topping EQS 53 is also available to order now in two specifications called Night Edition and Touring. Both get the 1.41-metre-wide Hyperscreen infotainment setup, augmented reality head-up display, Nappa leather upholstery and Burmester surround sound system as standard, as well as a starting price of over £150,000.
Overall, the Mercedes EQS is ideal for those who value comfort, luxury and refinement above all else, with its huge range and wealth of technology placing it well above its rivals in certain respects. The Porsche Taycan may be a better car to drive, and a Tesla Model S boasts better charging capability, but neither can match the EQS’ sublime cabin and spacious rear seats.