According to industry analysts, battery-electric vehicles now comprise about 2.5 percent of the U.S. vehicle market. While that percentage seems miniscule, experts predict exponential growth for electric vehicles globally, and there’s no denying that new EVs continue to appear in every segment of the U.S. automotive market. Now Mercedes-Benz joins the fray with its first all-electric model and — as one might expect from the German automaker — the all-new 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS sets the bar for full-size luxury EVs.
The all-new Mercedes-EQ EQS brings S-Class levels of luxury with thrilling performance, more than 340 miles of range and futuristic tech in an all-electric sedan. ”The EQS is designed to exceed the expectations of even our most discerning customers. That’s exactly what a Mercedes has to do to earn the letter ’S’ in its name. Because we don’t award that letter lightly,” noted Ola Kallenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.
We’ll say it up front: We’re not enamored with the look of the new EQS — it has a shape akin to a jelly bean — although there’s method to this madness. Without the need to build around an internal combustion engine and powertrain, EQS designers were able to concentrate on aerodynamics, and the result is the lowest coefficient of friction in the world for a production car — a mere 0.20. Not only do the excellent aerodynamics make this large sedan more efficient, they also dramatically reduce wind noise at high speeds — an important function in an EV with no audible exhaust note to mask exterior sounds.
Contributing to the aerodynamic aesthetics of the EQS is a black panel “grille” that flows smoothly into the sleek, flowing headlights. The headlights have signature LED running lights as well as a light bar that connects the right and left lights. The black grille features a pattern made up of tiny Mercedes-Benz three-pointed stars, giving the IQS a futuristic look within the Mercedes lineup. A large Mercedes-Benz star logo sits in the center.
At the rear of the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS, LED taillights wrap around the corners and — like the headlights — are connected by a single LED light bar. The EQS’s formidable rear fenders provide strong shoulders to the design, almost giving EQS the look of an SUV when viewed from the rear. The roofline flows to the lip spoiler, and the rearview camera gets hidden behind the Mercedes star to keep the design — and the camera — clean.
The EQS resides at the same level as the S-Class in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, except this new model gets built on a new all-electric platform. Thanks to its modular design, the platform will underpin a variety of future models in a range of sizes, styles and performance levels.
The 2022 Mercedes EQS is initially available at two performance levels: EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4MATIC. Expect an EQS 450 4MATIC as well as a more powerful EQS AMG 53 to join the lineup in the future. Each powertrain can be obtained in Premium, Exclusive or Pinnacle trim levels.
At a starting MSRP of $102,310, the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS Premium comes well equipped with a long list of standard features. Highlights include leather trim, heated and cooled front seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.8-inch OLED center display, GPS navigation with EQS-optimized routing, a Burmester 3D sound system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 64-color ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof, 10-degree rear axle steering, AIRMATIC air suspension with an adaptive damping system, and 20-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.
Priced at $119,110, the EQS 580 Premium upgrades the EQS 450+ with a dual-motor powertrain, AMG line exterior styling, EV sound experiences, a 56-inch MBUX Hyperscreen (more on this later) and 21-inch AMG multispoke alloy wheels.
For an additional $3,400, the EQS can be upgraded to the Exclusive trim level. The EQS Exclusive adds to the Premium with multi-contour front seats with multiple massage functions, a head-up display, rapid-heating front seats and four-zone climate control.
At the peak of the EQS range is the Pinnacle, priced $2,800 above the EQS Exclusive. The Pinnacle adds power rear seats, a comfort rear center armrest with a wireless charging pad, heated and ventilated rear seats and comfort rear head restraints.
The aptly named MBUX Hyperscreen is the centerpiece of the EQS interior. The Hyperscreen system consists of a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, a 17.7-inch OLED center display and a 12.3-inch OLED passenger display — all housed under a 56-inch curved glass surface. This display spans from door to door and adds an amazing level of high-tech design. With artificial intelligence and software that can learn the driver’s habits, the MBUX system adapts to the user and can automatically present the systems accessed most — from infotainment to climate control to other vehicle functions.
With almost all functions activated via the touchscreen or by voice via the prompt “Hey Mercedes,” the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS has little in the way of physical buttons, which translates to a simple yet elegant interior. The ambient lighting is bright enough to be enjoyed in the daylight, and at night the interior looks even more futuristic.
Front seats can be trimmed in soft Nappa leather and offer 10 massage programs — including a hot stone option — so occupants get pampered in pure comfort. With pillowlike head restraints and multiple seating adjustments, the EQS takes proper care of its driver and passengers.
Although slightly less luxurious than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the rear seats in the Mercedes-EQ EQS are still wonderful for long road trips. The cabin provides plenty of legroom even for occupants of towering height, and seats feature soft leather and enveloping comfort. In the top-level Exclusive trim, the rear seats can be reclined as well as heated and cooled, and vehicle functions are accessed via a removable video tablet.
Mercedes will offer the EQS with a seamless entry system. As the driver approaches the vehicle, the driver’s door handle extends and the door automatically opens. Once the driver gets seated and presses the brake, the door automatically closes. With this system the driver also has the ability to open any of the other doors with voice commands to the MBUX system.
Given its hatchback design, the cargo area of the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS is expansive with plenty of room for luggage and long items. Rear seats can even be folded flat, further adding to this luxury EV’s utility. The large hatch requires significant space to open, so caution must be exercised when operating the hatch in a location that has a low ceiling.
The 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS will be available initially with a choice of two powertrains. The EQS 450+ features a single electric motor producing 329 horsepower and 419 lb-ft of torque to drive the rear wheels. The top-level EQS 580 4MATIC gets dual electric motors — one at the front, one at the rear — producing a total of 516 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque.
The electric powertrain of the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS provides thrilling acceleration with plenty of low-end torque — the EQS 450+ will sprint from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the more powerful 580 completes the same task in 4.1 seconds. Both variants are limited to a top speed of 130 mph. These figures are even more impressive considering this car weighs close to three tons.
According to the U.S. EPA, the new Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ has a range of 350 miles, while the EQS 580 will travel 340 miles between charges. Based on our experience in the car, it appears these numbers are quite conservative.
Both variants of the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS will use a new-generation 107.8 kWh lithium-ion battery. The EQS is equipped with a 200 kW DC fast-charging system that adds as much as 180 miles of range in only 15 minutes, or charges from 10 percent to 80 percent in a mere 31 minutes. Full charge on a Level 2 charger (often installed at a residence) takes about 11 hours — good for an overnight charge. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz has teamed with Electrify America to provide two years of no-cost charging for EQS owners.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class delivers commanding performance, yet the luxurious sedan possesses a calm, quiet cabin, and the EQS takes both these qualities to the next level. As a purely electric conveyance, the EQS has no internal combustion engine or exhaust to mute, and with road noise virtually eliminated, this amazing sedan glides along in silence. And the sleek, jetlike slipstream of the EQS means that even at high speeds there’s almost zero detectable wind noise.
We spent a few days with the EQS 450+ and EQS 580 in the California Bay Area and came away wanting more time behind the wheel of these incredible machines. Both cars feel quick off the line — the more powerful EQS 580 accelerates much more rapidly than one would expect for a vehicle of its size, surprising drivers in other vehicles as well as its own occupants. Even when already traveling at highway speeds, a stab at the 580’s throttle makes this big car take off like a shot.
Weighing in at almost 6,000 pounds, the EQS would never be called sporty; however, this formidable car certainly holds its own on a windy road. Steering provides decent feedback, and the car grips road surfaces surprisingly well, exiting corners with instant torque every time. Rear-seat occupants might feel tossed around a bit, although the driver will certainly be having fun.
Using the paddle shifters on the steering column, the EQS driver can choose maximum brake regeneration — which means that letting off the throttle aggressively gathers the most braking energy to recharge the batteries, so speed drops quickly. With a little practice, it’s possible to drive the EQS via the throttle alone — easing off the right pedal at the correct time brings the car to a complete stop. This system can also be especially useful and enjoyable on a winding back road; rather than moving from throttle to brake, simply easing up on the throttle in a calculated manner slows the EQS enough for corners.
During our time in the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS, we also enjoyed riding in the front passenger seat. With a personal display screen, front passengers have the ability to access all vehicle controls, navigation and even seat massage. The front passenger can also connect Bluetooth headphones for listening to personal music selections. Activating the massage function and reclining the seat also creates an inviting environment for a quick nap — not that this ever happened during our press drive, of course.
The new Hyperscreen of the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS looks amazing, although at times it can be a bit overwhelming. We appreciate that the nav map remains the screen background at all times, and the display has enough real estate to operate multiple features simultaneously; however, it can be difficult to dig through all levels. Voice activation helps manage many aspects of the EQS system, and it works well most of the time, but for older drivers who will likely be primary purchasers of the EQS, the expansive display could be a bit intimidating.
In certain conditions, maneuvering a vehicle as large as the EQS could become a chore, so Mercedes makes that task much easier via the EQS’s standard rear-axle steering. Rear wheels automatically turn opposite the fronts up to 10 degrees, making it possible for this big sedan to practically pivot en pointe with a turning radius on par with much smaller vehicles. At higher speeds the rear wheels turn the same direction as the fronts for improved agility and stability.
Navigating unfamiliar roads can sometimes be a challenge, even with a nav system. The augmented reality system in the EQS makes it almost impossible to miss a turn. When approaching a turn or freeway exit, the system not only provides verbal prompts, it also projects the intended path into the head-up display and in the center OLED display, overlayed with video from the front-facing camera.
Consumers in the U.S. already have multiple choices when they’re ready to make the leap to a zero-emission vehicle, although none offers luxury at the level of the 2022 Mercedes-EQ EQS. With the latest high-tech features presented in an elegant, roomy cabin, the futuristic EQS tempts luxury car shoppers with an appropriate EV option. With its seamless, high-performance powertrain and impressive driving range, the EQS could be the perfect choice as a luxury car of the future. And according to Mercedes, that future arrives this fall.
Pros: Impeccable performance; Mercedes luxury; futuristic cabin.
Cons: Polarizing design; Hyperscreen can be overwhelming.
Bottom Line: The EQS is everything one might expect from a Mercedes flagship electric car — amazing performance, impressive driving range, and stellar levels of luxury and technology.