It should come as no surprise that the world’s first automaker would be the first to offer a full-luxe electrified platform in the 2022 EQS, a juiced S-Class. The first models sold in the United States are the EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4MATIC.
As the brand rapidly moves towards electrification, Mercedes-Benz will offer a carbon-neutral new car fleet within 20 years. As soon as 2030, Mercedes wants more than half the cars it sells to feature electric drive systems – this includes full electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
Sustainability is also important for the brand, as the new EQS is produced in a carbon-neutral manner, with resource-saving materials such as carpets made from recycled yarn used.
“Gehen groß oder nach Hause gehen,” (in German: go big or go home) was the obvious game plan inside the new EQS. Slide into the leather and metal trimmed interior, and the 56-inch “MBUX Hyperscreen” blows you away (standard on 580, optional on EQS 450+). The full-interior-width curved panel encloses three separate screens-a 12.3-inch OLED driver’s cluster that features augmented reality technology, a 17.7-inch center-mounted telematics/infotainment screen, and a 12.3-inch screen for the front passenger. MBUX stands for Mercedes-Benz User Experience, and allows control via voice (simply say “Hey Mercedes” and when recognized by the system, issue your command), or touchscreen inputs.
In a COVID-19 world, any technology that can help you defend against airborne viruses and pollutants is a positive. With that, the new EQS features what Mercedes calls ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL Plus.
The system keeps all fine dust, micro particles, pollen and other substances outside of the vehicle, thanks to the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that cleans incoming air at a very high level. In recirculation mode, air is filtered by the cabin air filter of the automatic climate control system.
The system is based on filtration, sensors, a display concept and air conditioning, in combination with the intelligent fresh air/recirculating air switching. Using pre-entry climate control, you can also clean interior air before getting into the vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz is the first car manufacturer to receive the “OFI Quality Seal ZG 250-1” from the Austrian Research and Testing Institute (OFI). Air filters with this certificate reduce bacteria and viruses directly at the filter. To prove their quality, the air filters must pass standardized tests and are checked using additional scientific analyses. OFI test results certify that ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL Plus has:
- A virus capturing capacity of more than 86 percent in new condition
- A virus capturing capacity of more than 80 percent in aged condition after testing with different temperatures and humidity levels
- A bacteria capturing capacity of more than 90 percent in new condition
- A bacteria capturing capacity of more than 88 percent in aged condition
Particulate levels outside and inside the vehicle are also displayed in MBUX. They can be viewed in detail in the dedicated Air Quality menu. If the quality of the outside air is low, the system can also recommend closing the side windows or the sliding sunroof.The new EQS also features a system called ENERGIZING COMFORT, which provides occupants with a bevy of soothing sounds from nature; Power Nap, a short sleep program during a break from driving that moves the driver’s seat into a rest position, closes the side windows and roller blinds, activates the ionization of the fresh and recirculating air and adjusts ambient lighting. Soothing sounds and the depiction of a starry sky on the central display support falling asleep – if Power Nap has been started for the front passenger seat, this also appears on the front passenger display.
Waking up is accompanied by a soothing soundscape, your choice of interior fragrance as well as a subtle massage and seat ventilation. Finally, the seat is raised again and the roller blind in the roof liner is opened. This ends the program and returns the driver to the task of driving.
Sound duties are handled by a 15-speaker surround sound system that outputs 710 watts. Not only does the system look good inside with metal grilles and tweeters that rotate into position from the A-pillar, it sounds awesome with crystal-clear highs and punchy, firm bass notes.
The new EQS is sleek, and is the first five-door in S-Class history. The fifth hatchback door gives the new model incredible versatility, and it transforms the EQS into a luxury Home Depot hauler, or a golf bag transport for you and four or five of your favorite friends. Up front, the cab-forward, fastback design features what Mercedes calls the “Black Panel” front, a deep black coloring of the grille. The three-dimensional Mercedes star is flanked by slim headlights with a three-dot daytime running light signature connected to each side via a light band. At the rear LED taillights are also connected by a light band.
EQS Driving Experience
While I drove both models, I spent the most time behind the wheel of the top trim EQS 580 4MATIC. If you’ve never experienced the sheer thrust offered by high-powered electric vehicles, you should. You will be an instant fan of the technology. The EQS 580 moves out with 516 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque, providing a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds. Range is 340 miles, excellent for such a large, powerful sedan (319 hp-419 lb-ft, 0-60 5.9 sec and 350-mile range for EQS450+).
The smooth, winding roads around San Francisco, California served as an awesome test track for EQS road manners, and the big sedan did not disappoint.
The chassis of the new EQS, with a four-link axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear, is closely related in design to the new S-Class. The AIRMATIC air suspension with continuously adjustable damping (ADS+) is standard equipment. Vehicle level is automatically lowered from around 75-mph to reduce air resistance, which helps increase range. Standard features include rear-axle steering with a steering angle of up to 10° for increased maneuverability and agility.
Any Benz would not be a Benz unless it was chock full of the latest and most advanced safety and driver’s assistance technology. The 2022 EQS models feature Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Steering Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Emergency Stop Assist, Attention Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Blind Spot Assist and Exit Warning Function, Evasive Steering Assist, and Active Parking Assist are among additional standard and available technology.
Passive and crash safety is also important. For example, the high voltage electrical system in the car automatically shuts down after a severe accident is detected. After a minor accident, the system may shut down but can reverse itself and provide the driver the electrical power to move the vehicle or get to your intended destination. When the system irrevocably shuts down after a severe crash, there is a safety system built in that dissipates any residual high voltage. This could be a life saver not only for occupants of the EQS, but also to first responders. The EQS has a bevy of airbags standard, and features optional rear-seat belt airbags for additional protection.
The EQS 450+ starts at $102,310 and $119,110 for the EQS 580, exclusive of a $1,050 destination and delivery fee.
The Bottom Line
Electric vehicle Pursuitists rejoice, as there’s a lot of great competition in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market. Tesla vehicles have become almost cult-like popular, but have also been fraught with safety and quality concerns. Mercedes-Benz seems to have put in all the necessary work and testing to make sure their first foray into full-electric-powered sedans will be well regarded and well received. It’s one heck of a luxury car.