Mercedes-Benz's rollout of its new electric cars in the US has been a mess. The EQC crossover was originally supposed to go on sale early last year before getting delayed indefinitely. The company instead decided to start with the flagship EQS, an S-Class-like equaling luxury sedan that it's been teasing since 2019. Mercedes fully unveiled the EQS on Thursday, finally releasing photos of the exterior and announcing full details on the car's features, tech and specs.
Right after Tim Stevens had the opportunity to drive a prototype EQS, I got to interview some of the car's designers and engineers and spend a few hours poking around a static EQS (the blue one you see in these pictures) at a studio in Hollywood last week. After experiencing the car myself and reading through all the details, I have to say, it's impressive.
The EQS' "one-bow" cab-forward design theme was originally previewed by the F015 concept in 2013, which was the first time Mercedes really envisioned what the luxury EV of the future could look like. Mercedes also showed off the Vision EQS concept in 2019, and as you might expect, the production car sticks close to that later concept. I think that's a good thing. Mercedes' goal was to create something progressive that had never been done before, and it's one of the first electric cars to really shake up the traditional sedan proportions.
At 205.4 inches long, the EQS splits the difference between the short- and long-wheelbase versions of the new S-Class, the latter of which is the only one we'll get in the US. Its 126.4-inch wheelbase is slightly shorter than the LWB S-Class', and the EQS is a little taller in height and about an inch narrower in width. It definitely has presence, especially thanks to the super-long greenhouse, and it looks distinct from the S-Class. The EQS also has a drag coefficient of 0.20, which makes it the most aerodynamic production car in the world.
The front end is dominated by the black panel "grille" that connects the triangular LED headlights, which have a three-line element that denotes the EQS as part of the S-Class family (the GLS SUV has this, too). This grille actually has a functional purpose, as the sensors for the driver-assist systems are housed behind it. On some versions of the EQS, the panel gets a pattern made up of dozens of three-pointed stars, an effect that's also found on some of the wheel designs and details in the headlights. Head designer Gorden Wagener likens the pattern to that of a luxury handbag, and it adds some visual interest to the front end. A light bar runs across the top of the panel, and you'll be able to option the EQS with a light-up star, too.
Like other modern Mercedes models, there's a near-complete absence of any sort of hard lines on the body side. "If we like it we take a line off; if we still like it we take another line off," Wagener said, and that's apparent here. There's a light-catcher character line and thin chrome strip at the base of the doors, and every EQS has a dark grey or gloss-black trim running along the bottom of the bumpers and side skirts.
A central light bar extends across the rear end to connect the taillights, which get a super-cool helix-shaped spiral motif (and amber turn signals). The back is smooth apart from the diffuser, and the license plate holder is in the lower bumper to declutter the trunk lid. Every EQS has a small lip spoiler at the base of the trunk lid, but you sadly can't get a rear wiper.
An AMG Line package brings more aggressive front and rear bumper designs, different 21-inch wheel designs, sportier seats with integrated headrests and unique floor mats. Mercedes says the AMG Line is the version of the EQS that achieves that 0.20 drag figure. What won't be offered is any sort of blacked out Night package like what other Benzes get.
The two EQS sedans you see in these photos are Edition One models, which will only be offered in the first year of production. Building off the EQS580 AMG Line, 250 of these will be painted in a special Twilight Blue shade while 50 will come in a two-tone Cirrus Silver and Obsidian Black scheme. The Edition One also gets a gorgeous Neva Grey and Stratos Blue leather, unique floor mats, rose gold interior accents, yacht-inspired walnut wood trim and some special badges, plus it comes pretty much fully loaded.
|Mercedes-Benz EQS450||Mercedes-Benz EQS580|
|Battery||107.8 kWh||107.8 kWh|
|Power||329 hp||516 hp|
|Torque||406 lb-ft||611 lb-ft|
|Driveline||Rear-wheel drive||All-wheel drive|
|0-60 mph||5.5 seconds||4.1 seconds|
|Top speed||130 mph||130 mph|
|Wheelbase||126.4 inches||126.4 inches|
|Length||205.4 inches||205.4 inches|
|Width||75.8 inches||75.8 inches|
|Height||59.5 inches||59.5 inches|
Mercedes already unveiled the EQS' interior a couple weeks ago, but getting to see it in person was something else. Optional on the base model and standard on the higher-spec EQS is Mercedes' insane Hyperscreen, a dashboard-spanning display consisting of three screens under one panel of glass. There's a 12.3-inch gauge cluster, a 17.7-inch central touchscreen and a 12.3-inch passenger touchscreen, adding up to 2.6 square feet of curved glass and 56 inches of digital real estate. It's really striking in person, and while I didn't get to experience it in motion I didn't find it overwhelming at a standstill, even when all lit up in a dark environment.
The Hyperscreen runs a new "zero-layer" version of Mercedes' MBUX operating system, meaning the user never has to scroll through lots of submenus to get anywhere. Always present at the base of the center display are the climate controls, audio track controls and home and back buttons. The system adapts to you, remembering functions you use the most and presenting them on the screen like pop-up suggestions. It all seems like a lot at first, but the system is actually a lot easier to use and get used to than the existing MBUX setup in other Benzes, and I love the force feedback on the displays.
The passenger display contains all the same functions as the main screen, but shotgun riders can also browse the web and watch media while the car is in motion. This screen can also display animated screensavers or be turned off entirely. The EQS includes the MBUX voice assistant, which can now recognize multiple voices, and a fingerprint reader can be tied to different driver profiles.
The navigation system has what Mercedes calls Electric Intelligence, which takes into account everything from driving style and speed to topography and outside temperature. When inputting a destination and while driving, the screen shows your current range and battery's level of charge, as well as the amounts you'll have when you arrive. Along with rerouting to a charging station, you can set the amount of charge you want to have when you arrive at your final destination. The car will determine where you'll need to charge and for how long once you get there. Routes are planned based on overall travel time, for instance making two stops at higher-powered fast chargers instead of one longer stop at a slower charger.
If you don't go for the Hyperscreen, the EQS' dashboard looks similar to that of the new S-Class, with a vertically oriented 12.8-inch touchscreen rising up from the center console, a separate 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a large trim panel made of wood, leather or other cool materials (the trim panel is more wing shaped and even bigger than the S-Class', though). This setup runs the same zero-layer MBUX system as the Hyperscreen and you get all the same features.
Setting every EQS apart from the S-Class are thin air vents inset into metal trim running across the top of the whole dash and through the door panels, super cool turbine-shaped air vents and an open space large enough for a backpack or briefcase under the tall center console. There are multiple covered storage compartments and the door pockets are pretty big, too.
The EQS won't be available with a four-seat setup, even in Europe, but an Executive Rear Seat package kicks things up a notch. The car I got to sit in had this pack, and it seems like a no-brainer to get. It gives the rear seatbacks a power recline function, as well as adding massage, shoulder and neck heating, ventilation, a seatbelt airbag and a removable MBUX tablet in the fold-down center armrest. The EQS will also be available with a pair of MBUX touchscreens on the front seatbacks, something the US-spec S-Class won't get.
Mercedes hasn't released any interior dimensions, but the rear seat has a ton of legroom and headroom, even with the panoramic roof. The nicely sculpted rear seats are super comfy and the whole cabin has a nice airiness to it thanks to the expansive glass and cocooning design. But the front seats are honestly even nicer, with even more massage functions and supportive bolsters. It'll be a great car to sleep in, too -- it even has a Power Nap mode.
Lots of different interior color schemes and trims will be offered. Hyperscreen-equipped cars kind of get the short end of the luxury stick, with only the center console and door cards getting wood, piano black or metal trim, while the base car has that expansive trim panel. But pretty much everything you touch in the EQS is covered in lovely leather, and there are still satisfying analog elements such as the air vents and seat controls.
My absolute favorite thing about the EQS' interior is the ambient lighting. Everything from the Hyperscreen's surround and the dash-spanning air vents to the seatbacks and door armrests has LED light strips, and each strip can now shift color in different sections. There are a bunch of new color schemes, including one specific to the EQS that lights up when in motion to symbolize the energy flow of the car, changing different colors when you accelerate or brake with regen. The lights are also integrated with the driver-assist systems and can flash red as a warning.
The EQS really has the S-Class beat in terms of space when it comes to cargo room. Unlike the S-Class, which has a traditional sedan trunk, the EQS has a glorious liftback rear. The hatch is powered and has an integrated retractable cargo cover. The EQS' rear seats fold almost flat -- even when equipped with the Executive rear-seat package -- and there's a deep covered storage compartment under the cargo floor. Actual dimensions haven't been released, but after seeing it in person the EQS will be able to handle Ikea runs no problem.
The EQS doesn't have a frunk, even if you get the base model without a front motor. The space under the EQS' clamshell hood is taken up by all sorts of electronics and, if equipped, the massive HEPA filter. That's where the strange port on the left front fender comes in. It's not a charge port or something related to the driver-assist systems -- pop it open, and that's where you fill up the windshield washer fluid.
The EQS is the first Mercedes to be built on the brand's new EV-exclusive MEA platform. Two models will be available, the EQS450 and the EQS580, but while Europe gets two battery pack sizes the US will just get the larger 107.8-kWh pack. The EQS450 is rear-wheel drive, with a single electric motor at the rear making 329 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes says the 450 will hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 130 mph.
The all-wheel-drive EQS580 adds a second motor at the front for a total of 516 hp and 611 lb-ft. Its top speed is also 130 mph, but it will hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, only about half a second slower than the outgoing AMG S63. The 580's 4Matic AWD system can variably distribute torque between the front and rear axles, and Mercedes says its responses are much faster than traditional, mechanical AWD systems.
Every EQS comes standard with an air suspension, which lowers at speed and has adaptive dampers and a front-lift feature with a memory function -- like that of the Chevy C8 Corvette or Porsche 911 Turbo. Rear-wheel steering up to 4.5 degrees is standard, and the crazy looking 10-degree rear steering also found on the S-Class is an option on some trims. The EQS has regenerative braking that's adjustable with paddles on the steering wheel and has a true one-pedal mode. It also has an intelligent mode that uses sensors to look at the surroundings and adjust the amount of needed regen as you lift off the throttle.
EPA range figures won't be announced until later this year, but Mercedes claims the EQS has a range of up to 478 miles on the optimistic European WLTP cycle. Expect the EPA figures to be closer to the 400-mile mark, which would still put the EQS at the top of the EV heap in terms of range. Tesla says the updated Model S will do 520 miles per charge in Plaid Plus form or 412 miles in base form, and while those figures haven't been certified by the EPA, nothing else aside from the Lucid Air comes close.
Mercedes says the EQS can charge from 10% to 80% in 35 minutes using a 110-kW DC fast charger, and it can also be charged using a 200-kW fast charger to add an impressive 186 miles of range in just 15 minutes. On a traditional 240-volt wall charger it'll take a little under 12 hours to go from 10% battery to fully charged. The EQS will be compatible with over 90% of the public charging stations in the US.
If the 516-hp EQS580 still doesn't seem quick enough for you -- I mean, the Model S is 2 seconds quicker to 60 mph -- don't worry. AMG is working on performance versions of Mercedes' electric cars, and Mercedes says a version of the EQS with 630 hp is in the works.
Given its positioning as Mercedes' new flagship, the EQS is absolutely packed with stuff. Every EQS gets a huge panoramic sunroof, a very fancy 360-degree camera system with automatic parking assist, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, a 15-speaker Burmester 3D sound system, heated seats, plush headrest pillows, six USB-C ports, wireless phone charging and keyless entry.
Also standard is Mercedes' suite of driver-assist features. This consists of adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and route-based adjustments, automatic lane changing, active steering assist and lane-keeping assist (that works at up to 130 mph), automated emergency braking and avoidance assist (that works with pedestrians and bicyclists), blind-spot monitoring with rear-seat exit warning, cross-traffic alert and traffic-sign recognition.
If that's not enough, you can add on a lot more stuff, too. Optional features include automatically opening and closing doors, a huge augmented reality head-up display, an integrated toll payment system, gesture controls, multicontour front seats with massage, a HEPA air filter that makes the interior as clean as an operating room, a winter package with heated windshield washers and glass that's insulated from heat, noise and infrared rays.
There are a couple things the S-Class gets that the EQS doesn't, though. Even if you get the base screen setup with the separate digital gauge cluster, the EQS does without the S-Class' sweet 3D gauges. Even more disappointing is that the EQS isn't available with the absurd 30-speaker 4D Burmester surround sound system.
Mercedes says the EQS will go on sale in the US this fall. While pricing hasn't been announced, a Mercedes spokesperson told me it will fall in line with the new S-Class. Expect the EQS450 to be a little more expensive than the new S500, which costs $110,850. The S580 costs $117,350, but I'd bet the EQS580 will start closer to the $130K mark. And as with all other Mercedes models, it should be very easy to load up the EQS with tens of thousands of dollars in options.
Closely following the EQS' debut will be the unveiling of the smaller EQE sedan later this year, the electric equivalent of the E-Class. These two sedans will be followed by two crossovers, the EQS SUV and the EQE SUV, which should hit the US at some point in 2022.