Mercedes’ EQS asks more questions than it answers
Mercedes-EQ’s ongoing electric car onslaught has seen to it that every niche of its range now boasts a variety of EV options. Alongside its regular Benz and AMG combustion and hybrid offerings, of course. This EQS is the electric S-class, or perhaps better put, the S-class of EVs. But there’s far more to it.
See, the Mercedes-Benz S Class is somewhat of a pillar among cars. So, when an electric one of those comes along, it’s a very big deal. And we expected that fact to sway opinion. But does it?
Mercedes EQS 450+. Meet the electric S-class
While new electric vehicle registrations were romping toward 25% of the German new car market when EQS was first launched just over two years back, that all changed. The e-market all of a sudden no longer seems the silver bullet it seemed back then,
But if you really want to drive an electric luxury car, meet your battery S-class. But if you want a hybrid, or a straight petrol V8, even an AMG 63 there’s also one of all of those in your local Mercedes dealership. There’s even a biturbo V12 S 65 or a Maybach S Class. It’s called freedom and it seems in Merc’s case at least, that you will long have that luxury of choice.
So what about this electric S? Mercedes promises that EQS sets new standards in electric motoring luxury, electronics, aerodynamics, and updatable software update capability around an electric drivetrain. This one’s the $104,400 2.73-ton rear-wheel drive EQS 450+. It has a 329 HP 417 lb.-ft rear-mounted asynchronous electric motor good for 160 mph in 6.1 seconds.
EQS 450+ range is a 375 miles on a good day
Powered by a 107.8 kWh lithium-ion battery with 26% higher energy content than the one used in the EQC, it has a claimed 475 mile WTLP range. In real life it’s good for 375 miles on a good day, as we found. Priced in line with the standard S-Class, EQS was the first model to use Mercedes’ dedicated Electric Vehicle Architecture with rear-wheel steering and air suspension at each corner.
Designed to ‘exceed the expectations of even its most demanding customers’, the aluminum bodied EQS is 205.3 inches long, and 59.5 inches tall. It rides on a long 126.3-inch wheelbase and has short overhangs.
You’re greeted by a black grille panel with angular headlights joined by a horizontal light bar. A fixed clamshell bonnet and unique one-bow roofline lead back to a hatchback-style tailgate to deliver an exceptional 0.20 drag coefficient.
EQS 450+ has all the bells and whistles. Or does it?
A high Centre console and flat floor also brings greater rear seat room than the petrol S. EQS’ 610-liter boot space is a noticeable 60 liters bigger than the S-Class and extends to 1770 liters when the split rear seats fold down. Our EQS cabin lacked Mercedes’ new triple digital display Hyperscreen. But it still packs Merc’s latest generation MBUX ‘Hey Mercedes’ operating system.
Now that’s a problem. See, Mercedes likes to tell us he the C and E classes are ‘mini-S-classes’. But what about the S, and this EQS? This car’s entry siblings make the S and EQS a little less special.
Sure, there’s a bit more spec and some cool touches here and there. But there was always a something special about the S-class that stood it so far above the rest. Now all that’s been eroded by Merc’s mini-me policy, which makes its junior siblings so good. And the S and EQS a little less special than they once were.
Supremely quiet and smooth on the road
Another concern about this big Merc was how difficult it is for a big old guy to get into and out of it. That low, pillarless design may look slick, but it makes it a trick to climb aboard. EQS 450+ is also devoid of a bit too much spec.
We got used to cooled seats in the half-price Lexus we had before it, for instance. But the EQS only had heating. Which was one of several bits of kit alongside rear-wheel steering, surround camera that we noticed left off, that far more common cars have as standard. Probably to try keep this EV within budget.
But the rest of this electric limousine is pretty darn good. Supremely quiet and smooth, it gets on well enough and beats its claims of performance, if not so much range. Handling impressed in spite of that heft, and we were intrigued by its regenerative abilities, and real world range.
EQS 450+ adds to Mercedes’ freedom of choice
It charged 150 km overnight, which may be a moot point because you get a wall charger free in your garage with this car. But if you get caught away from home, or the charging network, then it’s an issue.
We asked ‘Hey Mercedes’ for the nearest public charging point in the town we were visiting. The car told us there were two. 15 miles away in the next city. Go figure. Such are the challenges of driving electric in South Africa, and many pther more remote areas around the world.
But the biggest trick here is that you can still get all the gas S-classes, which we somehow believe that this car fails to live fully up to. This groundbreaking electric EQS however now allows you a battery powered version if that’s so important to you. Because for Mercedes-Benz it’s all about the luxury of choice, and that’s a very good thing!
ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-EQS 450+ Sedan
Motor: 329 HP 417 lb.-ft synchronous electric
Battery: 107.8 kWh lithium ion
Drive: Direct, RWD
0-40 mph: 3.02 sec
0-60 mph: 5.95 sec
0-80 mph: 8.05 sec
0-100 mph: 13.58 sec
¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 114 mph
50-75 mph: 3.77 sec
75-100 mph: 5.53 sec
VMax: 125 mph
Energy: 17.9 kWh/100 km
Range: 475 miles
LIST PRICE: $104,400 MSRP