“The S Class Reimagined for the 21st Century”
For a major brand to change a perfect, tried and tested formula is extremely rare. It’s not everyday you see the likes of McDonalds changing the Big Mac or Kentucky Fried Chicken adding new ingredients to its 11 Secret herbs and spices recipe. However, certain societal, environmental and global trends have the ability to shake things up. Sticking with my food theme, we have the likes of Burger King introducing the Impossible Whopper™ (a plant based Whopper); faced with the ever advancing electrification of the automotive industry, Mercedes took a similar move out of the play book and introduced the EQS 580 (an electrified S-Class). The S-Class is a very hallowed model. It has long represented the Flagship of not only what Mercedes has to offer, but represents the measuring stick for other manufacturers (see my review here).
The EQS is a fully electrified luxury sedan aimed at the likes of Lucid Air and the Tesla Model S. Unlike those fledgling newcomers to the industry, the EQS has a very impressive DNA to draw upon. To start Mercedes EQS utilizes an all new platform that is Mercedes first offering from the EQ subbrand. Its body and lines effortlessly cut through the air. The appearance is curvaceous almost beetle like, you will either like it or hate it. It is definitely not like the S-Class luxury sedan lines we are all used to. However, it marks a change in design cues that require vehicle efficiency and drag co-efficient numbers to more often than not trump pure aesthetic pleasure. Regardless of your preference, the EQS is bold and sculpted with a prominent Tri-Star grill and air dams that draw up Mercedes family cues. The side of the EQS has a body crease that runs the length of the lower vehicle highlighting the wedge silhouette of the EQS. The rear sparks thoughts of the GLC rear, but, your eye line is dominated by the brake light that spans the full width of EQS and wraps around the side quarters encompassing the rear light housings.
To move all this elegant beauty down the roadway, the EQS comes in a multitude of variants. The model you see pictured here is the EQS 580 Premium in 4-matic trim. However, it can be had in three different trim levels and two different powertrains. The as tested 580 gives you heated-and-ventilated front and rear seats, massage for the front seat passengers, four-zone automatic climate control, a heads-up display, and much more. The EQS 450 features an electric motor mounted on its rear axle that generates 329 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The EQS 580 4Matic has an electric motor on each of the four corners, which translates to an all-wheel drive and a total system output of 516 horsepower and 611 pound-feet of torque. This translates to rear wheel models hitting 60 km/h in 5.5 seconds. The 580 will instead reach 60 km/h in 4.1 seconds. Adaptive air suspension 21 inches wheels make for a remarkably compliant ride and still assures you when put into corners. A Standard rear-axle-steering system can angle the rear wheels up to 4.5 degrees, and there’s an optional upgrade that can turn them 10 degrees, either system will ease slow speed maneuverability and high-speed handling.
Stepping inside and the move into 22nd century continues along with the flowing design cues. The most stark design feature is a 56 inch hyper screen dashboard and all new wheel design. The cockpit aggressively angles towards the driver and passenger making you feel like you’re at the helm of the Starship Enterprise Next Generation. The white leather interior creams opulence and combined with the LED ambient lighting system, your evening drive turns into a light show that would make your local planetarium envious. The latest MBUX system features a fingerprint scanner that activates individual driver profiles, the “Hey Mercedes” voice-command system, and augmented-reality navigation in the head-up display and not to mention six USB-C ports throughout the cabin. The Burmester audio system would make any audiophile envious.
The real question with any EV is range. All EQS models feature a lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of 107.8 kWh. The EQS 450 returns 560 km of range and the EQS 580 at 545 km. Charge times are equally impressive. The EQS can go from 10 to 100 percent in approximately 11 hours using a 220/240-volt (Level 2) charger and can even replenish 70 percent of its battery from 10 to 80 percent in about 35 minutes using a DC fast charger (believe me it works as tested on a BC Hydro DC charger).
With an as tested price of just under $170,000.00 the EQS 580 4-Matic is no bargain. However, it gives you access to a level of luxury not accessible in the EV market until recently. It also has a lineage that is unmatched by any other company. This goes a long way when deciding between the Tesla Model S and the Lucid Air. What these competitors offer is greater range and performance, but they just can’t execute luxury the way the Tristar house can.