- More performance from an impressive all-electric luxury sedan
- That said, the "standard" versions of the EQS are already pretty desirable
- Diminishing returns for your ego
Mercedes-Benz came out swinging for the stands with its first purpose-built, long-range electric vehicle, the EQS. In essence, it's an electric equivalent of the iconic S-Class sedan that already has a decades-long history of defining premium luxury and introducing new technology. Now, just a few weeks after the EQS went on sale, there's a high-performance AMG EQS variant on the way. To no one's surprise, the AMG model fulfills the promise of improved acceleration and handling (and a higher price tag to match), but it also raises a few questions.
The standard EQS sedan is offered in two trim levels. The EQS 450+ has a single electric motor driving the rear wheels and boasts a power output of 329 horsepower and 419 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimates it can travel as far as 350 miles on a single charge, but our real-world range test resulted in an even more impressive 422 miles. Stepping up to the all-wheel-drive EQS 580 4Matic increases power to 516 hp and 631 lb-ft with the likely EPA range estimate dropping slightly to 340 miles.
The AMG EQS further increases output to a maximum of 751 hp and 752 lb-ft, and we expect the added weight of its additional standard features will drop the cruising range a bit. In keeping with every AMG-branded model, this EQS also gains a more performance-focused suspension and several standard features that are listed as options on the supporting non-AMG versions.
The entry-level EQS 450+ (if you can consider a $100,000 sedan "entry-level") is already an excellent electric vehicle. At the time of this writing, it's in second place on Edmunds' list of top-rated super luxury electric cars, trailing the Porsche Taycan 4S Cross Turismo by a fraction of a point. It's comfortable, quiet, and loaded with technology, and it delivers solid overall performance, reaching 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. Merc says the 580 4Matic decreases that sprint time to 4.1 seconds.
The AMG EQS is significantly quicker, with a touted 0-60 mph time of only 3.4 seconds. More impressive than the quicker launch is its sportier suspension tune and standard all-wheel drive, both of which enhance handling and traction, particularly on entertaining serpentine roads. At the same time, it has just as comfortable a ride quality as the more sedate EQS models.
There's no shortage of drivers who desire more performance, us included. We enjoy spirited driving on fun roads and are prone to taking trips for the sheer appreciation. We also realize that "driving for the thrill of it" likely isn't a mindset we share with a majority of shoppers, and in the case of large luxury vehicles, we're sure we make up an even smaller percentage.
It stands to reason that the AMG EQS exists to give shoppers a more exclusive option with the side benefit of added performance. Perhaps to entice wealthier clients with the lure of having a slightly more desirable EQS than their neighbor. In typical automotive fashion, there will likely be an ultra-premium Maybach variant to ensnare potential owners with even deeper pockets.
If you're one of the rare drivers with a hunger for performance from a large luxury sedan and are fortunate enough to be able to afford the premium — we'd expect it to start in the $140,000 range — the answer is a resounding yes. If you're simply looking to go green for your next luxury purchase, we suggest sticking with either of the non-AMG EQS models and optioning it to your heart's desire.
For the vast majority of wealthy shoppers, the EQS 450+ or EQS 580 4Matic will more than satisfy their performance appetites. We're happy the AMG EQS exists for the sporting few, but we recognize that it's largely a monetary flex that everyone else's ego can do without.
The AMG EQS fulfills every promise of added performance, but in the end it represents more of an unnecessary one-upmanship option over the already accomplished EQS. If you select one of the less potent versions, your accountant will thank you and your ego will survive.