EQ is Mercedes-Benz's label for electric cars. Until now these have been electric versions of existing models. The EQS is the first EQ model for which a unique platform has been developed. The EQS is roughly the same size as the S-Class, but under the skin everything is geared towards electric propulsion.
This allowed the engineers to focus on things that are important for an electric car: aerodynamics and space for batteries. Because electric motors are much smaller than combustion engines, the EQS has a short, low nose for low drag. Under the bonnet, there is no second luggage compartment, but a large air filter to keep out the foul smells of old-fashioned cars.
Because panel gaps in the bodywork have a negative effect on aerodynamics, a one-piece nose was chosen; the bonnet can only be opened by removing it entirely. However, other brands also have a bonnet that goes around the headlights and down to the side of the car and that does hinge. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz did not choose to use cameras instead of wing mirrors, which would have been much more profitable.
Underneath the streamlined bodywork the EQS offers the space of a top class touring limousine. The space in the back seat is sufficient to sit, relax or work in luxury. The EQS is not a traditional sedan, as the rear window hinges along with the tailgate. This gives access to a wide and very deep boot. With 610 litres, it is not only more spacious than average in this segment, but also more accessible.
Up front, the cabin is just as progressive as the rest of the car. This starts with the doors: they close automatically. A gentle tap on the door handle is enough to close the doors. Because of the low nose, it is not visible from the driver's seat and that can be tricky when manoeuvring (of course, cameras are available all around).
The dashboard curves around both front seats. The centre console fluently flows into a large, central screen that controls most functions. If required, the audio, communication and navigation system can also be controlled with freely formulated, spoken commands.
Because the EQS is the top model from Mercedes-Benz, all the luxury and safety features the brand has to offer are available on this car. Think semi-self-driving features and an mind blowing audio system from Burmester. Be aware that the sound is so clear that standard mp3-files are a real hindrance. Therefore, choose sources of extra high quality (FLAC files, Tidal or similar providers).
A car like the EQS is used to cover long distances and therefore a very large battery (108 kWh) has been chosen. Depending on the chosen version, the emphasis is on performance or range. For this test the "450+" was driven and at the time of writing it is the long distance champion among electric cars. According to Mercedes-Benz, this EQS can cover 731 km on a full battery. During this test, under unfavourable weather conditions and on extra wide tyres, it was over 650 km (energy consumption between 20 and 28 kWh / 100 km).
Charging can be done at a maximum of 200 kW and that is slightly slower than with other large electric cars. However, more important than this peak speed is the average charging speed. When using a 300 kW fast charger, the test vehicle almost immediately started charging at a maximum of 200 kW and this speed hardly decreased. This high average speed can be worth more than a high initial speed that then quickly decreases. During charging, the on-board computer provides good insight into the charging process, so that a different charger can be chosen if it turns out that it cannot deliver the required power.
The engine power of 333 PS / 568 Nm is transferred to the rear wheels. Although the EQS 450+ is a seriously fast car, the software ensures a certain delay in the response to the accelerator. Power is built up gradually to ensure the driver is not overwhelmed and to give the EQS a stately character. The thrill that some other big, powerful electric cars deliver is therefore absent.
The EQS performs with such ease and is so quiet, that the traditional feeling with the mechanics is lacking. Similar cars with petrol engines impress with their power. In fact, the EQS covers long distances with even more ease and tranquillity, but only the passengers notice that. The driver only notices that the power train and electronics take so much work out of his hands that driving the EQS is hardly interesting.
The ease of driving is also thanks to the advanced suspension. Based on data from the navigation system, the air suspension constantly adapts to what's coming up in order to offer even more comfort. Four-wheel steering ensures more stability at high speed and a shorter turning circle at low speed. As standard, the rear wheels steer a maximum of 3 degrees. When the optional 10 degree steering angle is chosen, driving the EQS takes some getting used to. It is then as if this long limousine "bends" in the corner and that feels unnatural.
Because of the large battery, the EQS is about 400 kg heavier than a comparable S-Class. However, because the battery is integrated in the floor, the centre of gravity is lower. On top of that the EQS reacts much more alert to commands from the driver, while a traditional S-Class reacts with a certain sluggishness to give a grand feeling. The EQS on the other hand is unprecedentedly light and agile for a car of this calibre.
Does Mercedes-Benz succeed in conquering the top segment for the electric car with the EQS? Yes, but only a specific part of it. After all, Mercedes-Benz is not the only brand that is active with electric cars in the top segment. Until now, however, the range has consisted of more sporty models that have distinguished themselves by performance that similar combustion engine models cannot match.
The EQS emphasises on luxury and ease of use and this Mercedes-Benz is now also reaching out to those being driven. Mercedes-Benz could have chosen to make the EQS a groundbreaking, innovative car. Instead the choice was made to present the best, finest and most sophisticated Mercedes-Benz has to offer in a way that is as accessible as possible. The EQS offers more space, more comfort and more convenience at a lower price with zero emissions, making it simply superior to its combustion engine competitors.
- Long-distance champion among electric cars
- Shallow door pockets, so stuff falls out easily