The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS marks a defining moment in the brand’s history. It’s presented as the S-Class that is an EV, which is true in the way that it interacts with its driver and passenger and the premium aura that it exudes, however, its exterior and interior design is entirely fresh and is free from the binds of tradition.
The exterior’s design is undeniably shaped by wind and features smooth curves and shallow surfaces. Its hyper aero-look is entirely modern and the EQS eub-brand’s large black signature “grille” creaes instant recognition. However, it’s the car’s details that help us accurately place the EQS’ unfamiliar within the premium sphere.
Panel fit-and-finish is unquestionably consistent and tight, the taillights present a 3-D swirl effect, and a solid lit bar stretches across the hatchback trunk. Sturdy-feeling motorized door handles feature a lighting effect that shows off a polished Mercedes script and inside the frameless door is a coordinated array of premium materials and ergonomic shapes and cutouts.
Looking inside the cabin reveals the exclusive Hyperscreen – a single panel of curved glass that stretches across the entire dash that overlays three displays. The first of those is a digital gauge cluster which is familiar to the Mercedes line-up and is impressively customizable. In the middle is a very large (at 17.7-inch) and crisp touchscreen that controls the vehicle’s infotainment, chassis, powertrain, HVAC, and just about every other setting, and positioned directly in front of the passenger is a 12.3-inch touchscreen with redundant vehicle system controls.
The passenger’s screen might seem gimmicky (certainly excessive) at first but, ultimately, it proved its worth in several ways by offering a more natural look-forward and reach-forward method of operation for the passenger and freeing up the large central display for the driver’s preferred view.
The entire system is not without some drawbacks that go beyond its $7,200 price tag. The large glass surface seems primarily responsible for a tall dash panel (which brings a bulky look – especially compared to the S-Class). Also, in case you’re wondering, Mercedes provides a cloth wipe to remove smudges.
Certain menu buttons and volume controls receive dedicated “buttons” on the center console’s capacitive surface bar they still require a look down and away from the road to find. The steering wheel’s swipe-motion capacitive controls provide access to all of the system menus, however, performing the precise swipe, especially while driving, can be a frustrating experience.
Everything about the EQS is high-tech and that includes the array of LED ambient lighting strips and backlighting a that creates a cabin glow while the Burmeister audio system blankets the interior with impressive sound coverage.
Those in the back seat have plenty of legroom and headroom however, the seatback angle is more upright than what feels natural. Getting in and out requires a mindful approach to avoid the curved roof line while the steeply sloped tailgate leaves a narrow rear window and a narrow and somewhat distorted view out back. The hatchback nature of the EQS, however, is a boon for interior cargo space.
This EQS 450+ is the less-powerful, rear-wheel-drive version of the EQS lineup but it can easily jump ahead of traffic and it delivers a satisfying shove all the way into extra-legal speeds. It also delivers a substantial range of 350 miles and can be fully recharged from 10% in as few as 31 minutes when hooked up to a DC fast-charging station – all of which goes towards a more relaxing EV experience.
Other parts of the EQS that make daily life better are the four-wheel steering system which not only delivers an impressively tight turning radius thanks to the 10-degree angling capability but also makes the heavy sedan (1,000 lbs more than the S-Class) feel light on its feet when accelerating through an intersection, the confident ride that delivers impressive road isolation without feeling floaty, a cabin that is quiet with several different acceleration sounds that help deliver enticing audio sensations, and reliable driving assist systems that quickly build confidence.
One particular aspect is the adaptive brake energy regeneration system that varies the braking force based on the situation ahead – thereby capturing the smooth and natural low-speed “natural” driving experience with a strong one-pedal energy recuperation force typically requested at higher vehicle speeds. Expect to see more of this feature in the future.
The $122k EQS embodies the traditional S-Class qualities such as innovative design, attention to detail, and extensive use of premium materials while its modernized styling and capable electric powertrain is a bold shift for Mercedes. The EQS delivers an undeniably luxurious experience that sets a high bar for the rest of the electric-only EQ sub-brand.