The Mercedes-Benz EQS is priced at $146,500 in Canada and $102,310 in the US.
The new EQS is Benz’s S-Class EV.
Mercedes-Benz has an envious reputation and status in the automotive industry. It is one of the most storied and successful automakers in history but as they transition to electrifying its fleet, they are taking risks. The new 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is a snapshot of the consequences of these risks.
EVs call for compromises
The global EV race has all car companies with their backs to the wall. Faced with all kinds of constraints, they need to develop and build new electric vehicles en masse in order to reach various planned ICE bans and to meet ever-more stringent emission restrictions. At the same time, they need to keep their existing line-ups competitive and desirable, but something has to give. For example, the Stuttgart-based company’s reliability has recently been ranked 24th out of 24 brands in North America. This is, in my opinion, a sign of give…
Like most, I’m a fan of Mercedes-Benz and I’ve driven more than 50 of their vehicles (from a first-generation smart fortwo to an AMG GT R Pro) over the last 24 years, both new and old, and this is the first time that I find myself thoroughly disappointed with the product. There are two main issues, one being the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS’ general quality.
Quality relates to a number of elements but for most, it’s the touchy-feely stuff that first comes to mind. Overall, points are awarded for the leather and wood appliques, and most of the switchgear is genuinely luxurious. Having said that, the center console, in a $146,000 car, nay, a $75,000 car, scratch that, a $35,000 car, is unacceptable. The plastics are hard and cheap, and the console itself is flimsy. The same materials are used for the lower portions of the dashboard – the issue is that occupants are in contact with all these surfaces.
As we close in on 2023, dual screens are no longer special. As this is the case, automakers like Stellantis, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz have gone display-crazy and transformed useful dashboards into highly-distracting screens – this is the second issue. When it comes to going too far, Benz’ has done just that with 56 inches of glossy plasticky surfaces that reflect light, are difficult to focus on, and, from the driver’s seat, will be partially obstructed by the steering wheel – a complete disaster. Do we want to know why new cars are loaded with active safety features to save us from ourselves? There you go.
And if you ask me, such a display is not premium and is less expensive to design than an actual dashboard with different trims and surfaces, meaning that this is a cheap way to pretend luxury. Accessing the various on-screen menus is for the most part intuitive however the positioning of what little controls there are falls under the elbow which, because of the control’s sensitivity, can accidentally change the sub-menu with even the slightest brushing.
While entirely subjective, I find the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS’ styling to lack the prestige and presence we’ve come to expect from its luxury cars for more than a century and a quarter. Longer than an S-Class though it may be, the EQS is not stately. In fact, I think it looks like a snail. I understand that for efficiency’s sake and aerodynamics, this is an ideal shape but, well, it’s not S-Class-regal. As well, the washer-fluid filler receptacle is a tragic joke.
About styling, the reviewed car included the Night Package which features AMG body styling, gloss black exterior accents and 21-inch AMG multispoke wheels. Grand total, by the way, was over $162,000 as tested.
Not affected by compromises
I note that some onboard elements are nice, and this applies to the seats. Specifically, my tester featured the Exclusive Nappa Leather Package with Neva grey and Biscaya blue for a truly upscale presentation. Sadly, light-coloured seats get dirty fast but at least, they are extremely comfortable in both rows.
Performance is not affected by compromises. Actually, I’m of the opinion that Benz opted to cut on opulence in favour of power, range, and the driving experience, and to keep the price down. In fact, only $1,500 separate the S 580 4MATIC LWB sedan from the EQS 580 4MATIC sedan.
For $146,500, the EQS is delivered with a pair of permanently excited synchronous motors that produce a combined 516hp and 631 lb.-ft. of torque. Despite tipping the scale at over 5,700 lbs, the EQS launches to 100km/h from a standstill in only 4.3 seconds. The power is made possible by a 107.8 kWh battery which is capable of 200 kW DC charging speeds. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to experience anything faster than 91 kW – whether this is the car’s or charger’s fault is difficult to pinpoint.
Total range is estimated at 547km and based on my week-long test and indicated range after driving in various conditions (ambient temperatures above 0 degrees C), I have no reason to doubt it.
No matter the drive mode, the EQS 580 is quick and responsive. Driving bugs are limited to an odd brake-regen-braking thing where the pedal moves on its own as the car slows down. This entails adapting to a brake pedal that moves on its own which can be done over a brief period of time.
The highlight of the driving experience comes down to the 4-wheel steering. As standard, the EQS gets a 4.5-degree rear-axle steering capacity. It can be increased to 10 degrees with the optional Premium package. The big Benz quickly becomes incredibly nimble and agile. The other good element is the included adaptive, self-leveling 4-wheel multilink suspension with AIRMATIC dampening. While nowhere near as plush, as it should be, ride quality is decent. Road irregularities are not handled with a white glove as they should be. Thankfully, the cabin is extremely quiet even at highway speeds
The EQS is not the S-Class of EVs
That’s the bottom line. Mercedes-Benz wants you to believe that it is, but the EQS is not as opulent or posh as what is considered by many as the global flagship luxury sedan. In contrast, the Porsche Taycan is more Porsche, in my opinion, than the Panamera.
Even so, the EQS is a compelling luxury EV sedan. If interior materials and presentation are of little importance, the Mercedes is an impressive performer. There is the issue of reliability which will haunt EQS owners