A day spent driving a pre-production 2022 Mercedes Benz EQS offered an up-close have a look at what the German automaker has been doing with the billions of dollars it has devoted to electrification.
The EQS is a meticulously designed flagship sedan that brings collectively the automaker’s MBUX infotainment system, a brand new electrical platform and developments in efficiency. It’s an unapologetic pursuit to set a brand new benchmark for a full-size luxurious sedan that occurs to be electrical.
The luxurious electrical sedan is supposed to point out American customers what Mercedes can ship (and can) sooner or later with EVs. And the stakes are excessive. The German automaker is banking on a profitable rollout of the EQS in North America.
“It’s the start of a whole new period, as a result of up to now we had a very versatile platform in place with hybrids, ICE, and BEVs,” mentioned Christophe Starzynski, head of the EQ model, who added that Mercedes will add three further electrical automobiles to its U.S. portfolio by 2025, together with the EQE and two further SUVs. “That is the primary time that we actually designed and developed and put all of the know-how in a battery electrical automobile.”
The EQS is the 17-foot lengthy flagship by-product of the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s top-of-the-line luxurious sedan that has a base worth of $110,000. (To this point, pricing on EQS hasn’t been revealed.) It’s stocked with its finest tech thus far. Whereas most clients received’t admire all of the doodads optioned on this automobile, they could get pleasure from understanding it’s all saved in that in depth infotainment cloud, or solely a software program replace away.
The primary drive
A completely loaded EQS is such a leap ahead that it makes the brand new S Class already really feel of one other period.
The EQS 580 4Matic mannequin I examined got here spec’d out with the 56-inch Hyperscreen, head up show, acoustic glass, rear seat leisure and an air filtration system, which Starzynski mentioned pre-dates the pandemic, however naturally feels very of the second.
At writing, the automobile’s exterior particulars are beneath wraps till its reveal April 15. The model I examined was partially cloaked, so I can’t inform you a lot concerning the sculpted nuances of its A pillar.
My five-year-old daughter accompanied me on the take a look at drive. We began on the Mercedes Manhattan dealership, the place EQS was displayed within the retailer window. As I approached the automobile, the driving force door robotically swung open with nice fanfare. From the vantage level of her booster seat, my daughter performed with the rear display that hovered in entrance of her. She chosen ambient lighting in pink and purple hues for the cabin. Her high takeaway: “It’s a shiny rainbow experience.”
The backseat expertise truly issues fairly a bit, as a result of EQS is chauffeur pleasant, a prereq for luxurious automobiles in China, the hub for EV gross sales for the subsequent decade.
In the meantime, up entrance, for a tall individual like myself, the spacious driver seat — accented by the pillow that cradled the bottom of my neck — was one essentially the most comfy rides I’ve had. As soon as belted in, the automobile is all temper. Cue the lighting and sound design bells and whistles.
As a lot as I might admire the feeling of sonic silver waves to compensate for that faint EV whir, we quickly opted to blast the 5 12 months outdated’s present favourite Barbie soundtrack from the billowing set of 15 Burmester audio system. (There are unlucky compromises concerned in bringing a 5 12 months outdated alongside for the experience.)
The whole lot within the EQS emanates from the 56-inch Hyperscreen OLED, which is split into three separate shows spanning door-to-door. In individual, it’s not as intrusive because it seems in pictures. Its elliptical contour has a gamer-like cockpit sensibility.
The MBUX features are housed on the primary 17.7-inch OLED display, to the appropriate of the steering wheel. The passenger can choose to personalize their very own touchscreen, too. Contained in the highly effective computation system is 24-gigabytes of RAM and 46.four GB per second RAM reminiscence, and eight CPU cores.
The consumer expertise
Simplicity is a trademark of excellent design, embodied in the very best of Apple merchandise. In distinction, Mercedes has at all times been huge on delivering a dizzying set of consumer expertise choices and offering a number of approaches to entry info. That inclination carries over within the EQS, utilizing controls on the steering wheel, arm relaxation, and principal display. On take a look at drives, I discover a number of choices for controls distracting. I’m by no means positive if it’s as a result of I haven’t had the time to totally adapt, in the identical manner new function on a smartphone takes a pair weeks to get used to, or if it’s plain overkill. I famous the heads up show, nevertheless it was one place too many to look throughout the time I spent within the automobile.
What intrigued me is that the MBUX system research driver habits over time. By the top of my experience, the display module jogged my memory that maybe I want to tee up my lively seat therapeutic massage as soon as extra. Briefly, I might bypass the opposite controls and deal with what I wished to make use of most. Voice instructions had been first rate, although my excessive pitch tenor managed to stump the system. I’ve but to fulfill an automotive voice system that understands me on a regular basis.
There’s no room for analog within the EQS expertise. The graphics are crisp, multidimensional-dimensional, and clear. One draw back was that my fingerprints smudged on the touchscreens. Professional tip: carry alongside a superb display spritzer and material earlier than taking pictures pictures. One other small grip was that the steering wheel gave the impression to be designed for an individual with a lot bigger fingers than mine, and it was just a little awkward to entry all of the features saved on the wheel, which compelled me to look down to seek out the appropriate spots. I ended up counting on the MBUX heart display to regulate settings.
My favourite a part of the EQS consumer expertise is the way it dealt with messaging about vary. Always, the varied screens on the sprint displayed what number of miles I had left, if my calculations for my vacation spot had been real looking, and mapped the place I might go to cost.
About that battery. The mannequin I drove had a 107.eight kWh battery pack powering two electrical motors used within the all-wheel-drive system. The vary in response to European testing is 470 miles, however might drop down in response to U.S. EPA testing requirements. I drove about 125 miles roundtrip from Manhattan to just a little city known as Beacon and again with out even worrying about recharging.
I pulled up the display to plot out ChargePoint choices offered one click on away. It additionally distinguishes which stations have 200 kW DC fast-chargers out there, which Mercedes says take about 15 minutes to recharge. To assuage customers on battery life, Mercedes has added a guaranty that covers lack of capability of the battery, legitimate for a decade after buy, or up 150,000 miles.
The drive itself delivered highly effective efficiency, as one would anticipate with 517 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque at work. The EQS beats out rivals drag coefficient at .20, which is a enjoyable automobile fanatic reality, however not important data for normal drivers.
It at all times takes a second to get comfy driving an extended saloon, however just like the S Class, the EQS handles its proportions with grace, and it turns with ease on account of customary rear-wheel steering. It mirrors the S-Class security options and ADAS methods. The drive settings embody basic and sport, achievable by way of steering wheel controls or by way of the armrest. I’m usually a sporty driver, and I favored the peppy suggestions that this mode delivered.
“After all we will likely be creating it additional,” Starzysnki mentioned, including that the ADAS options will enhance by way of software program updates. Customizable updates resembling gentle settings are additionally out there for obtain.
The largest differentiator of the EQS drive is its battery recuperation system. Clever recuperation mode optimizes the battery and controls driver actions. Regular recuperation dialed down the interference. I performed round with one-pedal driving on the freeway. Drivers may also select no assist in any respect.
Mainstream EV adoption in the US appears like its proper across the nook — and it might come even sooner than anticipated if President Biden’s infrastructure plan passes. However automakers might want to do way more than edge out Tesla in the event that they hope to seize the eye and dollars of U.S. customers. EVs accounted for simply 1.eight% of U.S. automobile gross sales in 2020, in response to Experian and reported in Automotive Information.
Sweeping change takes time, cash and a long-term dedication. The following stage Mercedes-Benz EQS edges the taking part in area one step nearer to the tipping level when the EV a part of the structure is now not newsworthy, however the expectation for a luxurious automobile.
(Disclosure: In 2018, I used to be a Mercedes-Benz EQ fellow for the Summit Series program, which was sponsored by the automaker, and I used to be featured on the EQ homepage.)
Tech specialist. Social media guru. Evil problem solver. Total writer. Web enthusiast. Internet nerd. Passionate gamer. Twitter buff.