Mercedes EQS review
The EQS is Mercedes first attempt at a proper, high-end, luxury car with electric power and it’s brilliant. It’s pretty hefty on the road, though, and is very expensive.
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What's not so good
Mercedes EQS: what would you like to read next?
We’ve seen plenty of sporty, expensive electric cars already — the likes of Tesla’s Model S, the Porsche Taycan, and the Audi e-tron GT to name a few — but the Mercedes-Benz EQS is the first properly luxurious electric car we’ve experienced. It combines exceptional cabin quality and comfort with the sort of utterly silent running you expect from an electric car.
If looks matter to you, then the EQS is pretty striking in its appearance. Unlike the new S-Class — which has a traditional three-box saloon shape — the EQS is almost arch-shaped, the roof running in one continuous line from the front wheels to the rears, and there’s almost no bonnet.
It’s also a hatchback, which makes it a little more versatile than the saloon-only S-Class, and it’s packed to the brim with impressive, cutting-edge technology. In many ways, it’s almost like a science experiment on wheels – albeit an incredibly luxurious one.
Not only do you get a massive battery, which gives the EQS a potential range of 453 miles, you also get the ‘Hyperscreen.’ This is the idea of a touchscreen pushed to its limits; a full-width screen (actually three screens under one continuous sheet of glass) that stretches from one side of the dashboard to the other. The rest of the interior is super plush, too – it’s all soft upholstery and swish metallic surfaces in here.
That’s not all, as you also get rear wheel steering, and a suspension system that not only watches the road ahead for bumps, but actually remembers where they are for later.
What the EQS is not, at least in EQS 450+ form, is especially sporty. It’s certainly not slow, but it’s not as quick as a Tesla Model S in a straight line. It’s definitely been set up more for comfort and quietness than it has for handling. The fact that it’s really heavy — 2,400kg — doesn’t help with that either.
The EQS 450+ offers all the range you could ever need, but the twin-motor 580 model sounds properly intriguing. It should be very quick, too.
It is quick at charging though and that’s arguably more important than how quick it goes in a straight line. In fact, if you can find a charging point that’s powerful enough, the EQS can inhale enough battery power for an extra 186 miles of driving in just 15 minutes at its maximum 200kW charging speed.
There’s also an optional 22kW on-board charging system which speeds things up when you’re charging at home, although it’ll still take a staggering 17 hours to top the 108kW battery up when plugged into a 7kW home wallbox.
The downside to all this tech? It’s not cheap. Like, letting Kim Kardashian run riot with your credit card in Selfridges not cheap. Prices start from £99,995 for the entry-spec AMG-Line version, and run on to £113,995 for the top AMG-Line Premium Plus model, or the alternative EQS Exclusive Luxury version.
That’s for the single-motor, 450+ EQS. Things will get even pricier when the EQS 580 four-wheel drive, twin-motor version arrives.
Still, if you like the idea of a silent, super luxurious electric limousine that’s jam-packed with impressive technology, then you’ll love the Mercedes EQS.
A big boot under a massive hatchback makes the EQS more practical than the S-Class.
Up front, the EQS majors on comfort. The front seats are massive and very comfortable. They even have little extra-squishy pillows built into the front headrests (ideal for catching up on your snoozing while charging up).
The seats adjust in every which way using the rather sensible buttons on the door panels, which are much easier to use than the ones that most rivals have mounted down out of sight on the sides of the seat.
You can choose between man-made leather and microfibre upholstery (which includes lots of recycled plastics if you’re feeling environmentally conscious) or full-on Nappa leather.
There is a prominent centre console that runs like a spine between the front seat and which reaches the bottom of the Hyperscreen dash. You can actually end up bumping your left leg against that a fair bit, which maybe takes away from the luxury a little. But at least Mercedes has padded it, so you won’t pick up any bruises.
The front and rear seats are heated, as standard, but you’ll have to upgrade to EQS Exclusive Luxury version to get the ‘multi-contour’ seats if you want the massaging function. Not sure we’d bother with that, actually — the massaging feels a bit odd, although it does help keep numb-bum away on long journeys.
Space in the rear seats is excellent. The EQS’ wheelbase — the distance between the front and rear wheels — is 3,210mm. That’s about the same as a long-wheelbase S-Class, but thanks to the EQS’s flat floor (the batteries are under there) it feels even roomier.
The rear seat, as standard, is hugely comfortable, but if you’re very tall, you might find the rear headroom isn’t quite as generous as you might think, as the panoramic sliding sunroof does rob a bit of space. Again, you can upgrade the rear seats to the optional multi-contour versions if you want to max-out the comfort. If you’re carrying small kids, there are Isofix anchor points in the outer rear seats.
Storage space around the cabin is very good. In that console between the front seats, once you’ve gently eased a wood-trimmed panel out of the way, there’s a massive storage bin with cupholders, and a wireless phone charger.
There’s another big storage bin under the front centre armrest (with another wireless charger) and an extra, shallow, storage tray under the console, down by your ankles. The door bins are a decent size, too.
In the back, rear seat passengers get door bins, seatback pockets, and a small storage area (with optional wireless phone charger) in the rear armrest. The front glovebox is on the small side though. Maybe it really is just for gloves?
The boot is where the EQS pulls out a big practical advantage over its more conventional S-Class brother.
Because the EQS is a hatchback, and the S-Class is a saloon, the electric car is more versatile, and can carry taller loads. It has a massive 610-litre boot with the seats up, and if you flip down the back seats (they don’t fold entirely flat, sitting up at a slight angle) then you’ve got an estate-like 1,770-litres on call. The boot lid is electric, of course.
The EQS is actually very good to drive, but it’s not especially sporty. It majors on comfort and refinement, but does feel big on small roads.
So far, there are two versions of the EQS, only one of which is actually on sale in the UK right now. That’s the EQS 450+, which uses a single 328hp electric motor to drive the rear wheels. That motor has a generous 568Nm of torque, so performance is pretty brisk.
It’ll hit 60mph in 6.2secs, and run on to a theoretical top speed of 130mph. That acceleration is not much slower than what you’d get from the six-cylinder, petrol-powered S500 S-Class.
Where the EQS really impresses though, is in its range. In theory, on a full charge of its 108kWh battery it’ll go for 483 miles before you have to charge it up again. Even in real-world conditions, with the air conditioning going and driving like a normal person, you should be able to squeeze at least 430 miles out of it.
If you can find a powerful-enough charger the EQS can recharge at up to 200kW, which means you can add 186 miles of extra range in just 15 minutes at a suitable DC rapid charger.
Charging to 100% from a normal 7kW home wallbox takes a massive 17 hours.
We’ll also be getting the twin-motor EQS 580 4MATIC four-wheel drive version. With two electric motors, that one boasts 516hp, 855Nm of torque, and a 0-60mph time of just 4.3 seconds. We’ve timed a 580 from the back seat, and it really is that quick. The maximum range for that one will be a little lower — 419 miles on a full charge.
Mercedes will introduce slightly more affordable versions of the EQS with a smaller, lighter battery pack in the future.
Where the EQS really gets to show off its silence and its exceptional ride quality. As standard, it comes with Mercedes’ Airmatic air suspension, so it’s incredibly good at soothing away the worst that bumpy city streets can throw at it.
Better yet, there’s a camera in the windscreen that monitors the road ahead, and can see when there’s a bump or a pothole coming up. Forewarned, the suspension can then brace itself to better deal with any issue, making the ride even smoother.
On the motorway, the EQS is arguably the best electric car of all, simply because you don’t have to stop and recharge it so much.
Even high-speed driving doesn’t seem to faze the battery too much, so you can just sit back in that wildly comfortable cabin and get on with your journey.
You will pick up a bit more wind noise and tyre roar as the speeds rise, of course, but Mercedes has absolutely stuffed the EQS with extra sound-deadening material, so it will never get too loud in there.
When the road gets more challenging, the EQS actually does a pretty good job of disguising its weight.
That air suspension system copes really well to stop the car from wallowing through corners, and the steering is quite sharp.
Because you can change the driving modes, you can set things up the way you want them, and you might find that the best way to do that is to have the Individual setting applied, with the suspension in Comfort mode and everything else turned up to Sport.
That allows the EQS to filter out the ripples and lumps of a British back-road, but means that it still feels pretty agile around the corners. Clearly, it’s a car that’s been set up much more for comfort than for agility, but it’s certainly no slouch.
One thing, though — it’s a very big car, the EQS. It’s 1.9-metres wide and you really, really feel that on narrow back roads, especially with oncoming traffic.
Striking design and incredible levels of comfort, but the tech can get distracting.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, deposit of £3000, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.