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

New Mercedes S-Class-sized luxury electric saloon will have a 435-mile electric range, according to company boss

The Mercedes EQS fully electric luxury saloon has been confirmed for launch in 2021 as one of six new 'EQ' models to join the German brand's range in the coming years. There'll also be an SUV version of the car, offering a zero-emissions counterpart to the Mercedes GLS diesel SUV.

The EQS is currently in the final phase of a testing programme ahead of production commencing. This has led to it being photographed on several occasions taking to public roads, most recently right at the start of January 2021. In these images (above), it's wearing less camouflage than before, with what look like production-ready wheels and a better sense of how details like the headlights and door mirrors will look.

Testing has encompassed winter running in Scandinavia, chassis and drivetrain tests on proving grounds, public roads and on the high-speed test track at Nardo in Italy, in addition to further on-road testing in the US and China. High-temperature testing in southern Europe and South Africa has also taken place, and the car has been photographed testing in camouflage at the Nurburgring race circuit in Germany.

Mercedes is describing the EQS as "a fully electric member of the next S-Class family". It has been designed to allow customers to take full advantage of the space and design possibilities opened up by electric-car architecture. The car is is set to enter production in the first half of 2021, going on sale in the second half of the year. According to Mercedes R&D boss Markus Schafer, "you will see all the features [of the S-Class] plus something new, which we have prepared especially. It’s going to be completely different looking, probably addressing a different customer base."

The EQS will have a longer range than any electric car currently on sale, according to Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes parent company Daimler. At the 2020 Daimler Annual Meeting, he stated the electric S-Class will offer more than 435 miles' driving range on a single charge. The EQS will be built alongside the next-generation S-Class and is expected to be offered in numerous variants, including EQS 350 and EQS 600 models.

That news came almost six months after Mercedes released the very first official pictures of a camouflaged test car. The EQS was originally pencilled in for reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. The EQS was previewed in concept form (below) at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019 and was spied testing for the first time in December 2019. 

Mercedes has said that the EQS will introduce the concept of the car as "third space" between home and the workplace. In addition to its electric drive, innovations are being promised in the areas of in-car connectivity and the user interface – with the flagship feature being a new single-piece 'Hyperscreen' (see below) making up almost the entire dashboard surface. There'll be a focus on "strain-relieving comfort" alongside the traditional S-Class selling point of plentiful interior space.

Mercedes MBUX Hyperscreen

Mercedes MBUX 'Hyperscreen'

A key feature debuting on the EQS is Mercedes' new 'Hyperscreen' (pictured above). 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. In the EQS, a single, huge sculpted screen surface will stretch across almost the entire dashboard in front of the driver and front-seat passenger.

The system runs artificial intelligence (AI) software to function as a 'helper' for the car's occupants, learning their preferences and making suggestions tailored their tastes for many infotainment, comfort and car functions. According to Mercedes, a 'zero layer' approach means that "the user doesn't have to scroll through submenus or give voice commands. The most important applications are always offered in a situational and contextual way at the top level in view."

Examples given by Mercedes for how the system can work in the real-world include suggesting to raise the car's suspension at a location where you've frequently done it before (for example, at the steep entrance ramp to a garage), suggesting you call someone you regularly call at the same time every week or day, or defaulting to your preferred climate-control or seat-heating settings depending on the outside temperature.

Both the front-seat passenger and driver get their own dedicated displays and interfaces on the Hyperscreen. Elsewhere, analogue air vents are integrated into the digital surface, and the whole Hyperscreen is surrounded by a continuous plastic front frame. 

Mercedes Vision EQS concept

Earlier in 2019, Mercedes teased the arrival of the EQS with the Vision EQS concept car. Previewing the company’s outlook for the future of sustainable, luxury travel, the concept adopted a bold new design direction that represents a dramatic departure from the S-Class halo model.

The dramatic, sloping roofline is more akin to the CLS than the S-Class. At the front, the grille has been replaced with a light matrix that consists of 940 individual LEDs framing a single star and set into a black panel. New digital headlights, each with four holographic lenses and 500 LEDs per headlamp, project light that appears to ‘float’ in space.

The new headlights have an unlimited number of display possibilities and allow the car to be expressive and “interact with its environment’. At the rear, 229 individual LED stars create a new take on the Mercedes brand logo across the tailgate, while a continuous 360-degree light belt joins the front light display with the back.

The Vision EQS is made from a mix of steel, aluminium and carbon-fibre, sits on 24-inch alloy wheels and is underpinned by Mercedes new ‘Modular Electric Architecture’, which is scalable for a variety of future all-electric models. In the next few years, five new models could be underpinned by the Vision EQS platform.

Inside, inspiration comes from luxury yachts; according to Mercedes, the cabin is designed to “provide a new level of serenity”. The new ‘floating’ dashboard blends with the body to form a one-piece interior sculpture, with the cockpit wrapping around and enveloping its passengers. There’s even side displays on the driver and passenger seats.

A band of ambient light spans the circumference of the interior and communicates information to passengers. It can also be tuned to provide different moods of light. The centre display, incorporated into the expansive dashboard, allows digital content to be shown over the entire area and is touch activated.

The air vents, integrated into the trim, have haptic control, while the speaker covers are finished in rose gold. There’s also a ‘fragrance flask’ to ensure the Vision EQS stays smelling fresh.

The Vision EQS previews some of the sustainable materials you might see in Mercedes of the future: Microfibre seats made from recycled PET bottles, artificial leather, a headlining made from recycled ocean plastic and maple wood from ecologically managed German forests. With a flat floor and a lack of intrusion from drivetrain tunnels, the EQS is expected to offer even more interior space than the current S-Class.

Power comes from a 100kWh battery with electric motors in the front and rear axles providing all-wheel drive and 463bhp. So the Vision EQS will be quick: 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds and it should get to its 124mph top speed effortlessly. On a full charge, it should see 435 miles between charges and, via a 350kW DC charger, 80% of the battery capacity can be replenished in 20 minutes.

The vision EQS is also ready for autonomous driving with modular technology that at the moment offers Level 3 capability with the chance to upgrade to further autonomy as the technology and infrastructure develops.