Dear reader, high-performance EVs are rarely a good value. Sure, they’re quicker and more agile than their run-of-the-mill siblings, but that doesn’t mean they’re worth the higher price.
The reason is twofold. First, all electric motors accelerate cars from all brands in the same way. And while that immediate torque is delightful, the intensity is all that changes – the overall experience, regardless of brand, is relentlessly linear and, therefore, one-dimensional. The second reason is that automakers haven’t figured out how to make more or more powerful electric motors impact a vehicle’s character the way a larger or more powerful combustion engine does.
Cars like the BMW iX M60, Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, Kia EV6 GT, and yes, this 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS provide only slightly more thrill but for a lot more money. Save your coins and rest easy. That AMG treatment is cool, but there are better values in the EQS range.
– Exterior Color: Graphite Gray Metallic
– Interior Color: AMG Neva Gray / Sable Brown
– Wheel Size: 22 Inches
The AMG treatment makes some subtle but welcome changes that spice up the EQS’ jelly bean shape, including a waterfall look for the non-functional grille, a sporty looking front fascia with large lateral intakes, and gloss-black surrounds at the bottom of the car. A cutesy spoiler adorns the rear deck, while the lower bumper sports a prominent diffuser. The standard wheel/tire pack features 21-inch five-spoke alloys on 40-series rubber, which improves the EQS’ stance considerably. My tester’s 22-inch multi-spoke wheels are the must-haves, though. They look fantastic.
The cabin follows the same AMG formula found elsewhere in the Mercedes family. There’s an AMG steering wheel with additional controls at the 7 and 5 o’clock positions for quickly adjusting drive modes and settings. AMG-spec seats replace the cushy things found in the standard EQS and are a marked upgrade. Beyond those functional changes, the AMG EQS changes little in the otherwise handsome interior.
– Seating Capacity: 5
– Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
– Cargo Capacity: 22.0 / 63.0 Cubic Feet
The EQS AMG comes standard with AMG Ride Control Plus, a high-performance version of Mercedes’ standard air suspension, which does a fantastic job of quashing road imperfections. MY EQS’ optional 22s swap in 35-series rubber, but the ride quality here is sublime. There is a touch of wind noise from the frameless windows, although I bet it’s only noticeable because there isn’t a gas engine to provide constant background noise.
I prefer the AMG seats to the EQS’ standard chairs, which are too soft and cushy for my liking (and I find the pillow headrest annoying after about an hour). The AMG pairs those thrones with standard heating, ventilation, massaging, and active multi-contouring to make an already comfy seat even better. The backseat is just as good as any other EQS, while the cargo volume in the AMG EQS is identical to the standard model.
– Center Display: 17.7-inch Touchscreen
– Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
– Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: Yes/Yes
The AMG EQS doesn’t reinvent what’s already a very sophisticated wheel. It includes the Hyperscreen setup, which pairs a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 17.7-inch central touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch passenger display in a single housing. The resolution is excellent and the colors are bright and attractive, while the all three screens are quick to respond to commands. The MBUX operating system, meanwhile, is old hat and one of my favorite setups on the market.
Beyond the infotainment system, my test car carried an augmented reality head-up display, a fantastic Burmester 3D audio system, 64-color ambient lighting, and an optional air freshening system. The AMG EQS has all the tech I expect in a flagship luxury product and it all works beautifully.
– Engine: Twin AMG Permanently Excited Synchronous Motors
– Output: 649 Horsepower / 700 Pound-Feet
– Transmission: Single-Speed Automatic
A standard dual-motor arrangement endows the AMG EQS with a 3.4-second sprint to 60 when using Race mode, which temporarily increases output to 751 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque. It leaps off the line with authority, but that’s true of cars that are both quicker and slower. A Porsche Taycan Turbo (3.0 seconds) or Tesla Model S Plaid (2.0 seconds) are ferocious performers and will take your breath away, but appreciably more than the AMG? Nah. But the same is true, in the inverse, of the standard EQS 450 and EQS 580 (5.3 and 4.0 seconds, respectively).
The initial burst of acceleration that comes from electric motors is stunning, but the only difference between a quick EV and a slow one is the ferocity of the launch. Acceleration is, for the most part, a one-dimensional experience, which isn’t the case with combustion power. Upgrade from an E450 or even an AMG E53 to an E63 and far more changes with the accelerative experience beyond what’s on the stopwatch. That’s not the case with the AMG EQS and other high-performance EVs.
The AMG EQS makes a stronger case for itself with its soundtrack, which is unique to the trim. With three different themes that increase or decrease in volume based on drive mode, there’s at least some tangible feeling to go with the feeling of gravity pushing you back in the seat.
Despite its size and weight, the AMG EQS is an entertaining handler, although it lacks the outright edginess or immediacy of a Porsche Taycan or Audi E-Tron GT. Rear-wheel steering is standard here and makes the 5,952-pound AMG EV feel more agile and responsive than its size/weight might indicate, but the EQS’ larger wheel/tire package limits the system to nine degrees of rear angle (the standard EQS will do 10 degrees).
– Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-On)
– NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
– IIHS Rating: Not Rated
Every AMG EQS comes standard with the latest and greatest from Mercedes’ active safety suite. Full-speed adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist with steering intervention keep things relaxed on the highway, while an automatic lane-change system complements the blind-spot monitoring system, making changes a bit safer. This is all set-and-forget tech, too, with the ACC functioning much like a standard car’s cruise control.
– Electric Range: 277 Miles
– Efficiency: 76 City / 78 Highway / 77 Combined MPGe
– Peak DC Charge Rate: 200 Kilowatts
– Base Price: $102,310 + $1,050 Destination
– Trim Base Price: $148,550 (including destination)
– As-Tested Price: $159,110
The AMG badge adds $45,190 to the price of a base, single-motor EQS 450, for a starting price of $148,550, including a $1,050 destination charge. That’s a pricey increase, especially when you consider the dual-motor EQS 580 is available starting at $126,950. The 580 is slightly slower and lacks the fun soundtrack and AMG-specific mechanicals, but I don’t really think those facts are worth $21,600.
My test model’s optioned-up price is $159,110 thanks to the $5,440 carbon-ceramic brakes, $1,810 22-inch wheels, $1,010 laminated glass, although none of those items feels necessary. No one in the history of ever will track a 6,000-pound electric luxury sedan – okay, fine, we did it once – so pass on the brakes and wheels, and the fancy glass, which couldn’t defeat the frameless design on my tester. Realistically, the EQS AMG is just fine out the door.
It undercuts the Porsche Taycan Turbo and has more range, which makes up for its slower pace. On paper, the Tesla Model S Plaid is tempting as hell with more range, a faster charging speed, and brisker performance starting at $116,380, but the build quality is questionable and the refinement can’t hold a candle to the EQS. The $139,650 Lucid Air Grand Touring might be the pick of the litter, with excellent range, charging, and performance for less than the EQS AMG, making it a hard one to ignore.