Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 review
Offering astonishing performance, handling and refinement, the 649bhp EQS 53 4MATIC+ is well deserving of the Mercedes-AMG badge it wears
- Refinement and range
- Straight-line performance
- Some rivals are faster
- Costs well over £150,000
- Takes over 15 hours to recharge
|Wallbox charge time
|Rapid charge time
|15hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7kW)
|31mins (10-80%, 200kW)
Mercedes' performance arm is stepping into the electric age: this EQS 53 4MATIC+ supersaloon is the first zero-emissions model to wear the revered AMG badge. But the tuned-up version of the company’s already impressive flagship electric limousine isn’t in a class of its own, with the likes of the Audi RS e-tron GT, Porsche Taycan Turbo and Tesla Model S Plaid offering some serious competition.
This being an AMG, though, the power on tap is immense. While the EQS 53 gets a dual-motor setup and four-wheel drive like the EQS 580 4MATIC, power jumps from 516 to 649bhp for the performance-orientated version. But you can turn the wick up even higher; adding the optional AMG Performance Package sees power and torque increased to 751bhp and 1,020Nm for short bursts when the special 'Race Start' mode.
The result of these enormous outputs is a 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds for the standard car and 3.4 when the Performance Package is fitted. Yet straight-line performance isn’t even the EQS 53’s standout feature. That’s because, up to about 125mph, the regular EQS will in most conditions deliver a similar thump when you put your foot down. The AMG version just offers a good chunk more of it. So there's less difference between the powertrains of non-AMG and AMG electric Mercedes than there is between the petrol-engined equivalents.
Instead, it’s the AMG’s upgraded chassis that’s more noticeably different. The EQS 53 features both air suspension and rear-wheel steering as standard, and it's as good as the setup you’ll find in the regular EQS is. However, as opposed to focusing on ride comfort, the tweaks for this AMG model help keep the car’s significant 2.5-tonne-plus weight in check during enthusiastic driving.
The alterations mean the EQS 53 feels lighter and more agile than the standard EQS, as if the car had shed a few hundred kilogrammes. It corners with more assurance – as you’d expect of an AMG – and holds its line through corners better. It actually feels like a regular E-Class-sized saloon in how it handles, not the 5.2-metre long electric S-Class equivalent it actually is.
The upside of that significant bulk is a 610-litre boot and a huge interior with lots of legroom in the back. As the new summit of the EQS range, the 53 comes with the dashboard-dominating Hyperscreen infotainment setup as standard – and it works as well as we’ve come to expect from Mercedes on-board technology of late.
There are plenty of bespoke AMG touches around the car as well, including subtle exterior styling flourishes like the black grille panel with vertical chrome struts. Inside, you get sports seats, a sports steering wheel and what’s called the ‘AMG Sound Experience'. The system uses loudspeakers, shakers and a sound generator to create a choice of different sound themes, making up for the lack of a genuine engine note.
The EQS 53 also features a rotary dial on the steering wheel to switch between five driving modes; each tweaks the throttle and steering response, among other features – including the accompanying soundtrack – while the infotainment displays performance data. In the default setting, the EQS 53 wafts along in near-silence, offering impressive refinement for a car boasting upwards of 649bhp – and it’s comfortable, too.
Switch to Sport or Sport+ and the soundtrack takes on a new personality, with a futuristic sound designed to reflect the performance on offer. However, as elaborate as the system may be, the noise the car generates just can't match the evocatively raucous exhaust note made by petrol-engined AMGs of old.
What is similar to AMG’s V8 and V12-powered flagships is the EQS 53’s starting price of just under £155,000, which applies to both the Night Edition and Touring trim levels. To be fair, you do get an astonishing amount of power for your money, plus a claimed range of up to 377 miles on a charge thanks to a whopping 107.8kWh battery, and 200kW rapid-charging capability, just like the regular EQS.
Find a fast enough rapid-charging point and you can top up the 53's battery from 10-80% in 31 minutes, but a standard 7kW home wallbox will take a lengthy 15 hours and 30 minutes to fully replenish the battery. An upgrade to three-phase domestic electricity may be worthwhile to boost that speed to 11kW for high-mileage drivers who mostly charge at home.
Overall, the EQS 53 is a strong first electric effort from AMG. Yes, it offers more straight-line shove than the standard EQS, but how it rides and handles is even more impressive, especially when you consider the car’s hefty weight. All of this bodes well for AMG’s future, and gets us excited for even more focused models (as well as some slightly more affordable offerings) beyond the EQS 53.