AUTOMOBILE

2022 Mercedes EQS First Drive Review: This Is the Electric S-Class

For comparison, that’s a good amount less than the Long Range Tesla Model S’s 405-mile rating as well as the Lucid Air’s record-setting 520 miles but longer than the Porsche Taycan Turbo’s official 212-mile EPA or the 295 miles observed by Alex Roy.

Just looking at the EQS, you can tell something’s different between it and other Mercedes cars. Besides the A- and C-pillars that have been scooted forward and back, respectively, to create more cabin space, the profile is distinctly rounded in shape. Much of the front facia is closed off and can reportedly achieve a very slippery drag coefficient of 0.20 when equipped with the relevant wheel and tire package. The wheels, flush with the body, can be had in either 20-, 21-, or 22-inch configurations. 

The S-Class of EVs

This being a relatively short initial drive, a rigorous electric range test will have to wait until another day, but what I can tell you now is that the EQS is a superbly driving car. EVs—even the cheap ones made by freakin’ Kia—are inherently smooth. And with this quite literally being “the Mercedes S-Class of EVs,” gliding down a road in the EQS may be one of the most peaceful, least taxing ways to get from A to B that money can buy. 

I got to drive the 450+ for as much as time as I did the 580 and, as far as my butt dyno is concerned, the claimed hp and 0-60 numbers feel accurate. Neither will necessarily disappoint when it comes to straight-line speed and highway passing abilities, with the 580 in particular able to throw you back in your seat fairly spiritedly, but the EQS (in its current available guises, at least) isn’t really capable of what some would call “Ludicrous” or “Unbridled” acceleration. 

The 580 may be the quicker of the two EQS models, but after sampling both, the dual-motor car’s increased straight-line performance may be the least significant reason to get it over the 450+. The EQS 580 offers all-wheel drive, for starters, and is heavier, both of which lend to a more planted and substantial feel. Pleasant, even when you’re not necessarily caning it. (And the 580 comes standard with that big Hyperscreen on the inside, which we’ll definitely talk about later.)

Speaking of standard equipment: The rear-wheel-steering system is bundled with every EQS sold here in the U.S. With up to 10 degrees of rear steering, it gives the big-bodied EQS a turning circle and low-speed maneuverability akin to a compact car. 

Inside both versions, the seats are sumptuous, feature adjustable bolsters and literal pillows on the headrests, while the standard air suspension, adjustable damping, and S-Class-related axles let the EQS float across bumps. Mind you, the EQS may float but never let it feel floaty. Despite the supreme comfort, this car can be admirably composed and even agile. In 580 guise, the EQS may approach 6,000 pounds (!) but you’d never really know it driving it on public roads. Everything feels breezy and easy and operateS with a creamily plush-yet-stately quality.

Adding to this silky and slightly otherworldly vibe is a choice of two soundscapes—Silver Waves and Vivid Flux—that get pumped in through the standard and stellar-sounding Burmester audio system. They’re basically sound profiles that sync to how the car is being driven, filling the void left by the absence of a gas engine but not mimicking one. Silver Flux, for example, provides a low, sci-fi hum upon hard acceleration and lets out harp-like noises when the throttle is released. The more aggressive Vivid Flux, meanwhile, makes the EQS sound like a star car from an action movie, 100 years in the future and sponsored by Mercedes-AMG. A third soundscape, Roaring Pulse, could not be sampled but will be available to download via an over-the-air update.

I know, as Car People, we are not supposed to like pumped-in car noises like this but the EQS’ soundscapes are actually pretty cool in practice and, unless you drive hard, quite subtly implemented. Of course, they can be turned off entirely if you’re really not a fan.


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