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In-depth reviews

Mercedes EQS review: performance, motor & drive

It packs a punch, and despite its length the EQS still feels agile thanks to rear-wheel steering; it can’t match the S-Class when it comes to ride comfort, however

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
EQS 450+6.2s130mphRear324bhp
AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+3.8s137mphFour651bhp

While more variants are expected to arrive in future, so far only two versions of the EQS are available in the UK: the basic 450+ gets a single 324bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels, then there's the EQS 53 4MATIC+ high-performance model, which we’ve reviewed separately here. Some other markets get the EQS 580 4MATIC, which features two motors (one on each axle) and produces 516bhp.

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Much like Mercedes' other electric offerings, 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 foolproof, 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.

Mercedes EQS 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

The rear-drive Mercedes’ luxury electric limousine weighs in at over 2.4 tonnes, but can still reach 62mph from a standstill in 6.2 seconds. That's not quite Tesla Model S Plaid quick, but the considerable torque of even the 450+ model is enough to surprise you. Top speed is 130mph.

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If that isn’t fast enough for you, then Mercedes is kind enough to offer the AMG EQS 53, which adds another motor to the front axle and boosts power to 651bhp. That’s good for 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, though it’s the torque that makes the biggest difference here; 1,020Nm ensures the flagship EQS is ready to go in any situation – just plant your right foot and the AMG launches itself towards the horizon.

Unfortunately for UK buyers, there’s no middle ground, despite other markets being offered the 516bhp dual-motor EQS 580 4MATIC.

Handling

To help with manoeuvring the 5.21-metre-long executive limousine, Mercedes has fitted the EQS with rear-axle steering as standard. A 4.5-degree setup features on ‘basic’ cars, but our test model came with the optional 10-degree setup – the result of which is a turning circle of 10.9 metres, which is only 40cm larger than that of the far smaller Renault ZOE and on par with something like a petrol-powered Volkswagen Golf. It takes some time to get used to, but it does make the EQS feel incredibly agile and surprisingly nimble, further emphasised by the light steering.

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But given that the EQS is a zero-emissions alternative to Mercedes’ own benchmark-setting S-Class, its imperfect ride comfort can’t be overlooked. It’s very good 90% of the time and overall the EQS is a very comfortable car; the only things capable of upsetting its composure are deep potholes. But it also doesn’t provide the cloud-like softness some may be after.

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 – it’s just not the most engaging.

If this sort of thing matters to you, then the AMG EQS 53 should satisfy – at least partly. It feels more agile than the standard car, and despite weighing almost as much as a small planet, it feels lighter on its feet. We’ve reviewed the AMG model separately here.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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