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The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS Is a True Flagship Luxury Sedan That Just Happens to Be an EV

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS Is a True Flagship Luxury Sedan That Just Happens to Be an EV

  • New sedan promises to be the most luxurious of Mercedes' EV offerings
  • Designed to go head-to-head with Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan
  • Debuts Mercedes' new Hyperscreen display
  • Introduces the first EQS generation for 2022

What is the EQS?

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is the first model from the all-electric Mercedes-EQ sub-brand. The EQS is equivalent to the gas-powered S-Class sedan, which has set the luxury standard for decades. That means you can expect exotic technology features and unparalleled ride comfort at a price level to match.

While the EQS will be the first long-range electric Mercedes on the market, eco-friendly Mercs won't be the sole realm of the Ossetra-and-Dom crowd. In the coming years, we'll also see the more reasonably priced EQE — which will be analogous to the GLE midsize SUV — as well as the EQA, a subcompact crossover akin to the GLA, which sits as the entry-level model in the automaker's SUV lineup.

What's under the EQS' hood?

When the EQS goes on sale this fall, it will be offered in two trim levels. The EQS 450+ is the standard rear-wheel-drive model, with its single electric motor producing 329 horsepower and 419 lb-ft of torque. If you need the extra traction — or, let's face it, you want a seriously quick EV — the EQS 580 4Matic adds a front motor to provide all-wheel drive. Output increases to a robust 516 hp and 631 lb-ft. Both models utilize a 107.8-kWh battery pack located beneath the floor.

According to the European WLTP standards, the EQS 450+ is estimated to return up to 484 miles on a full charge. The EQS 580 4Matic is expected to return between 410 and 420 miles, depending on tires and wheels. WLTP figures are usually more optimistic than EPA range estimates, so expect these numbers to fall when the EQS arrives stateside. Even so, the EQS' range should remain impressively high enough to challenge the Tesla Model S and handily beat the Porsche Taycan.

The EQS is capable of DC fast charging, and Mercedes says you can charge from 10% capacity to 80% in 31 minutes. On the more common Level 2 units — like the wall charger you'd install at home — you can expect it to take just over 11 hours to fill from 10% to full. 

How does the EQS drive?

The short answer? Like a really quiet Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is already nearly silent.

In our time with the EQS 450+, we were duly impressed by every aspect of its on-road manners. Mercedes-Benz estimates it will accelerate to 60 mph in 5. 9 seconds and we're inclined to believe it. As in most EVs, acceleration is instant, and thanks to the standard Airmatic suspension — which replaces conventional springs with air chambers — the EQS' rear end doesn't squat or send the nose skyward when you plant your right foot to the floor. The sedan launches with a level attitude, eerie silence and an authoritative shove.

With increased power and traction, the EQS 580 4Matic is estimated to reach 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds. Those acceleration figures are slower than either the Tesla Model S or Porsche Taycan, but the EQS is in no way slow. If maximum performance is a necessity, Mercedes has not so subtly hinted that we should see a high-performance AMG model soon.

With a curb weight of 5,597 pounds, the EQS 450+ is a heavy sedan, but on some very challenging switchbacks in the Swiss Alps, it sliced through hairpin turns like a much smaller and lighter vehicle. Placing the batteries under the floor certainly helps since it lowers the center of gravity to reduce body roll. Standard all-wheel steering also contributes. At lower speeds, the rear wheels can turn up to 10 degrees in the opposite direction as the front wheels, allowing the EQS to make a U-turn in a surprisingly small space. At higher speeds, the rear wheels turn in concert with the fronts, making for more graceful lane changes.

The brake pedal is rather soft, which is appropriate for a big luxury sedan, yet it manages to instill confidence. Drivers can adjust the intensity of brake regeneration (the amount of deceleration that results from lifting off the accelerator) by tapping on the steering wheel paddles. Many EV drivers enjoy maximum regeneration for so-called one-pedal driving, which can bring the vehicle to a stop without ever touching the brakes. You can easily switch to max regen by holding the + paddle on the steering wheel for a few seconds.

How comfortable is the EQS?

The short answer? Like a really comfortable Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is already incredibly comfortable.

The EQS' front seats are similar, if not identical, to those in the standard S-Class. That means you'd have a tough time finding thrones that are more comfortable. The cushioning is decadently plush without being too soft, and there's plenty of support and adjustments to ensure you find your optimal setting. After several non-stop hours behind the wheel, we felt no fatigue whatsoever. Yes, they're that good, and get even better with built-in massage, heating and cooling functions.

Helping matters is a buttery smooth ride quality. In most cases, bumps in the road are heard rather than felt, and even then, produce just a muffled thud. Over smooth pavement, you get the oddly pleasurable sensation of gliding over the road, yet the EQS never feels floaty or disconnected. It may very well be the most comfortable ride quality we've ever experienced.

Likewise, the cabin remains nearly silent. Wind noise is barely perceptible thanks to the EQS' improbably low drag coefficient of 0.2 (the lowest figure for any production vehicle, ever). Road noise is also silenced. Even in the midst of a torrential downpour outside, it felt like we were driving a leather-lined bank vault.

How's the EQS' interior?

The short answer? Like a really futuristic Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is already cool and modern.

The EQS interior is dominated by a massive single glass dash panel that runs from door to door. Dubbed the Hyperscreen, it houses the instrument panel, central infotainment touchscreen and an optional third touchscreen for the front passenger. The Hyperscreen is simply gorgeous, though it can cause some very minor distractions from the shifting reflections. After a short time, it's easy to ignore them.

Up front, passengers are treated to an abundance of space, which is further exaggerated by the massive panoramic sunroof and large windows. Unfortunately, outward visibility is limited by considerably wide roof pillars. At an intersection, the front driver's side pillar was thick enough to hide two pedestrians in the crosswalk. The rear view is narrowed down to a small oval.

Despite the graceful roofline, rear seat headroom doesn't suffer. A 6-foot-tall passenger should fit with room to spare, but the sensation of space is reduced by those roof pillars. An Executive Seat option adds more adjustments, heating, cooling and massage functions. A four-seat option with a huge center console will not be offered, but we wouldn't be surprised to see that in a future Maybach variant.

How's the EQS' tech?

The short answer? Like a cutting-edge Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which is already high-tech.

We're usually not fans of having all of the controls placed in the central touchscreen, as this tends to complicate even the simplest of commands, but that's not the case with the EQS. This latest iteration of Mercedes' praiseworthy MBUX infotainment system features large virtual buttons and logical menus for easy operation. We're also no fans of capacitive touch buttons, but Mercedes managed to eliminate unintended inputs by requiring the same type of fingertip pressure as needed for a traditional button. Also included is a fingerprint scanner that can store and restore a driver's preferred seating, climate and infotainment settings.

As expected, the EQS comes with all of the typical safety features and driver assistants found in any apex luxury sedan, but we received a sneak peek at what's coming down the pike. The Mercedes Drive Pilot is a Level 3 automated driving system that can relieve the driver of almost all duties. In a demonstration at the new Mercedes test facility in Immendingen, Germany, the EQS Drive Pilot allowed the driver to have his hands off the wheel and feet off the pedals at speeds up to 37 mph. The driver does still need to remain somewhat alert, though, with eyes on the road or at least on the instruments or infotainment screen.

The system is likely to be introduced on German roads this year, and Mercedes hopes to bring it to the U.S. in a year or two. Like Cadillac's Super Cruise system, it will only be available for use on specific roads, with more added as time goes by. Also available with Drive Pilot will be an advanced automated parking system that can navigate up complicated driveways and between obstructions.

How's the EQS' storage?

Unlike the S-Class, the EQS has a large hatch instead of a traditional trunk. Cargo space is a generous 22 cubic feet, which is smaller than the Tesla Model S and larger than the Porsche Taycan. Sadly, there is no frunk (front trunk), but the main cargo area should easily suffice.

As far as interior storage goes, the EQS has plenty of places for your personal items. A large bin under the central infotainment screen hides two cupholders, a wireless charging pad and additional pockets. There's also a bin under the armrest, and large door pockets should easily handle any overflow.

Edmunds says

The short answer? Like an S-Class but better.

Mercedes has been noticeably absent from the push for electric vehicles, but this 2022 EQS proves that the wait was worth it. With impressive performance, long-distance range, unassailable interior quality and cosseting comfort, there are few cars that can match this level of excellence, electric or otherwise.