With up to 350 miles of range and a huge Hyperscreen inside, the Mercedes EQS is a plush rival to Porsche, Tesla, and Lucid.
The EQS is one of the most important new cars for Mercedes-Benz. It’s the first fully realized EV from the brand, and a vehicle dedicated entirely to providing a luxurious driving experience with zero emissions. On top of that, it’s one of many EQ products scheduled to make their way from Stuttgart and will help set the framework for all future EVs. No pressure, right?
The top-end EQS 580 tested here, more so than any other, delivers on those lofty expectations of all-electric, all-encompassing luxury. It has a high-end cabin with one of the largest screens available in any car on the road today, a four-corner air suspension that makes the ride exceptionally plush, and a driving range that rivals some of the best.
Of all the categories on this list, design is the most subjective. So don’t get too angry in the comments when I say the Mercedes-Benz EQS looks like a runny egg. The front fascia is fine – good, even. The sharp gloss black grille angles upward to integrate with the headlights, and there are numerous illuminated star logos within the “grille” that further help the EQS stand out, especially at night.
But the EV’s frumpy rear haunch makes it look hunchbacked, the full-width light bar is a love-it-or-hate-it element, and there are some questionable wheel choices depending on trim. The optional 21-inch AMGs shoes on this car are inoffensive, with simple silvery spokes, but there are certainly better wheel options out there. Admittedly, the EQS is the slipperiest car on sale today with a drag coefficient of just 0.20, which plays a big role in the overall look. But amidst all the other gorgeous gas-powered Benzes, the EQS stands out for the wrong reasons.
Inarguably, though, the EQS does have one of the best interiors of any car today. The massive Hyperscreen is the focal point, which houses three individual displays under a single, continuous piece of glass that extends the width of the dash – some might say it’s overkill, but I think it’s beautiful.
Swaths of aluminum and wood envelop the driver and passenger, with some piano black pieces scattered throughout, but they mesh well with the rest of the interior design. The options on this car include a $1,600 black microfiber headliner, which does feel fantastic, if not a bit overpriced, as well as a $1,515 Yacht-Design Brown Walnut trim with pinstripes that graces the center console.
Set off in the evening and adjustable ambient lighting flows throughout the cabin, emanating from underneath the Hyperscreen and between the door panels. With 64 different colors to choose from, you can basically cover the cabin in any hue imaginable; my personal favorite is purple, which gives off a futuristic vibe.
The EQS doesn’t quite match the extraordinary levels of ride comfort that its sibling, the S-Class, delivers – but it comes close. The four-corner air suspension soaks up imperfections in the pavement like a sponge and the cabin is whisper quiet (apart from some futuristic “engine” noise) thanks to the ultra-sleek, air-cutting bodywork.
The seats in this car are sublime. High-quality, ultra-soft leather covers the front buckets, which contour perfectly to the body and offer ample back support and perfect levels of bolstering. As part of the Exclusive trim tested here, those seats even have multiple massage options, heating and cooling, as well as a memory function that helps maintain your perfect position.
The EQS is ultra roomy, with impressive levels of headroom and legroom in the front compartment, and a second row that feels spacious. The sloping roofline does impede slightly on second-row headroom, but it’s nothing offensive for your six-foot-tall author. And there are some visibility problems due to that narrow windshield.
With up to 22.0 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row and another 63.0 cubes with that rear bench folded, the EQS also has generous to above-average cargo figures for the class. And the automatic rear hatch creates a cavernous rear opening thanks to the EQS’s hatchback-like design.
But for having such a large hood, there’s no frunk. Unlike the Lucid Air, which has 9.9 cubes of carrying capacity ahead of the driver, or the Tesla Model S, which has 3.1 cubes, the EQS has no extra space up front. That’s a minor drawback, but certainly something EV buyers are interested in.
The gorgeous Hyperscreen inside hides a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster in front of the driver, a 17.7-inch OLED touchscreen display as the main interface of the infotainment system, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen that passengers can use to play games or control audio. For now, Mercedes won’t let you watch videos while on the move, but we know the EQS SUV will debut with that feature, so we expect it to trickle down to the EQS sedan, as well.
The latest MBUX software manages all of it, and as per usual, it’s clean, clear, and exceptionally easy to use. All of the options live neatly on the home screen and are placed well within reach of the driver. There are new quick-access tabs at the base of the display that make jumping into an often-used setting much easier, an optional head-up display with augmented-reality navigation ($2,000), and the fixed climate control menu even lower down is an easy-to-reach, easy-to-operate feature. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard here, and CarPlay looks extra pretty atop that 17.7-inch screen.
It’s hard to lob any arguments at the EQS and its massive Hyperscreen interface… but I found one or two things to complain about. The touch capacitive controls on the steering wheel are maddening. Without a tactile volume knob, the capacitive rocker on the right side of the wheel makes it difficult to find the perfect volume. The cruise control “buttons” on the left side of the steering wheel require a learning curve because they’re so clustered together, and Mercedes updated the seat controls on the door panels, too, making them needlessly complicated touch-capacitive.
To be fair, Mercedes never said the EQS was a performance sedan – for that, get the AMG model. But the 516 horsepower and 631 pound-feet available on this 580 trim, courtesy of a 107.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack and two permanent-synchronous electric motors, does deliver decent grunt. It’s enough to propel the EQS to 60 in just 4.1 seconds, which is quick for a 5,888-pound vehicle. But it’s almost crazy to say, for a car with 631 lb-ft, that the EQS still doesn’t feel as fast as a comparable Taycan, Air, or Model S.
The jolt of energy off the line helps hustle the EQS to 60 before quickly plateauing. There isn’t a ton of acceleration available at higher speeds, but still more than enough for easy highway passes and quick jaunts around town. This certainly isn’t a slow vehicle, but it doesn’t offer the same powerful performance as some of the alternatives do.
The EQS also doesn’t corner with the grace of a Porsche or Audi, either. The steering is low effort and relatively vague, leading to some obvious understeer and making for a dull experience when flinging this hefty EV headlong into tight turns. As the S-Class of EVs, this car was built for comfort above all else, and for better or worse, the handling reflects that.
Mercedes offers three levels of regenerative braking in the EQS, accessible via the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The most aggressive setting offers true one-pedal driving in the city – and it is aggressive – while the middle setting finds a true perfect medium between too much regeneration and not enough. I kept the middle setting on almost entirely during my week with the EQS.
We know that Drive Pilot, Mercedes-Benz’s new hands-off Level 2 safety system, will make its way to the EQS in the US eventually. For now, you’ll have to keep your hands on the wheel to enjoy one of the best active safety systems on the market
Every EQS comes with Benz’s Driver Assistance package at no extra cost. That setup includes adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assist, blind-spot monitoring, Active Parking Assist with a 360-degree overhead camera, and adaptive headlights with high beam assist. And all of its works flawlessly.
Activate the active safety system via the rocker on the left-hand side of the steering wheel, and the EQS takes over throttle, braking, and moderate steering inputs. The head-up display projects an image of the car ahead of you with distance markers, while also noting the lane markers on either side with green stripes.
This isn’t a hands-off system (yet), as mentioned, but the EQS delivers precise steering inputs that keep the car centered in the lane, while maintaining a healthy distance to the vehicle in front of it with throttle and braking. And with Active Lane Change assist, the EQS will also move over a single lane automatically if you flick the indicator stalk. It’s a bit finicky but works fine with little traffic.
Although the Lucid Air (520 miles) and Tesla Model S (375 miles) are the range kings of this class, the Mercedes-Benz EQS is a solid bronze medalist. With up to 350 miles of range in the base 450 model and 340 miles offered in the 580 trim tested here, the EQS bests the Taycan and E-Tron GT by around 100 miles, respectively.
|Competitor||Max range||Max charge range|
|Mercedes-Benz EQS||350 Miles – 563 Km||200 Kilowatts|
|Audi E-Tron GT||278 Miles – 447 Km||270 Kilowatts|
|Lucid Air||520 Miles – 837 Km||300 Kilowatts|
|Porsche Taycan||227 Miles – 365 Km||270 Kilowatts|
|Tesla Model S||375 Miles – 604 Km||250 Kilowatts|
Unfortunately, though, the EQS does have the worst charge rate in the class. At 200 kilowatts on a DC fast charging station, that’s down on every alternative, including the Tesla, which recharges at a rate of 250 kilowatts. But there is good news: According to our colleagues at InsideEVs, the EQS will actually recharge faster than a Model S Plaid thanks to its exceptionally flat charging curve.