The all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ has a driving range of up to 453 miles and it can cover this distance with effortless performance and in supreme comfort.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is generally seen as the world’s leading luxury saloon, but so far it’s only had petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains. That has all changed with the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz EQS, which is an all-electric S-Class. However the EQS isn’t just an S-Class with the petrol engine removed and a battery and electric motor inserted in its place; it has an all-new platform designed purely for electric propulsion. So has Mercedes got it right first time with its first all-electric luxury saloon?
The styling of the EQS is heavily influenced by aerodynamics. The ‘fastback’ shape is in contrast to the very square S-Class from the 1990’s – and it’s also very long (5,216 mm) which further aids its aerodynamic efficiency.
The length of the EQS, combined with its bespoke electric platform, also means that there’s lots of space inside the car. And unlike the traditional S-Class, rather than having a boot, the EQS has a hatchback, offering a long load space of 610 litres, or 1,770 litres with the rear seats folded down. With a flat floor, there’s also lots of legroom for rear seat passengers. The cabin looks and feels as upmarket as you would expect from an S-Class.
Under the floor sits a huge 107.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, and there’s a 333 hp electric motor delivering rear-wheel drive in the EQS 450+ model as tested. If you want to go exploring under the bonnet, you can’t, because you can’t open it. If you need to top up the windscreen washer water, you can pop open a compartment behind the front near-side wheel.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS is a big car, and the large steering wheel feels in proportion to the size of the overall vehicle. Yet manoeuvring the EQS out of a tight space feels strangely easy, and this is because it has rear wheel steering to assist the front wheel steering. You’ll be even more aware of the rear wheel steering if you drive another car without this feature after the EQS, when steering will feel like hard work again.
So the EQS is easier to drive in urban areas than you might expect, but it’s on long journeys when the car excels. On long motorway trips the EQS delivers completely effortless performance thanks to instant responses from the 333 hp/568 Nm electric motor, and the EQS must be one of the most comfortable ways to cover long distances.
The EQS has AIRMATIC air suspension with adaptive damping, so even with the large 22-inch alloy wheels, the ride quality is excellent – and this is helped by the long wheelbase.
The EQS is also extremely quiet – the electric powertrain is a key reason for this, along with the slippery shape, but the majority of other external noises have also been eliminated thanks to features such as impressive levels of glass insulation.
So the EQS is easier to drive than you might expect in urban areas, and it’s an amazing long distance motorway mile-muncher, but if you take it off the main roads, you’ll be very aware of the car’s size and of its 2.5 tonne weight. If you encounter bumpy roads, then the EQS can raise its ride height.
There are three ‘Dynamic Select’ drive modes – Eco, Comfort and Sport – and you can adjust the level of regenerative braking by using the steering wheel-mounted paddles. And while we’re on the subject of braking, the brake pedal feel of the EQS isn’t the most confidence-inspiring, and if you’re reversing in tight spaces, the car can jam its brakes on without warning.
At standstill the EQS makes a futuristic ‘ambient’ background noise, and if you need to accelerate enthusiastically, then this transforms into an interesting futuristic ‘mechanical’ soundtrack.
The dashboard of the EQS features a large 12.8-inch central media display and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display (you can also opt for the MBUX Hyperscreen which is a screen that stretches the entire width of the dashboard – which costs £7,995). The EQS also has a head-up display which projects information such as clear satnav directions onto the windscreen.
Rather than being vertical, the central touchscreen is on an angle, facing slightly upwards. It features a home button, which you have to press to then scroll through to select other screens, such as for the radio. It would be less distracting if there were permanent shortcuts for items such as radio, media etc.
Although cabin temperature controls are permanently displayed, if you want to adjust elements such as where the ventilation comes from, you have to press a button to bring up the full climate controls.
Switching off items such as the lane departure warning system can be less than straightforward, and the screen can also be slow to start.
There’s a volume control on the steering wheel, and one under the screen, which you swipe your finger up and down to change the volume for the radio or media; we’re not convinced this works as well as an old-fashioned rotary dial.
One of the main party tricks of the EQS is the interior ambient lighting, featuring a total of 64 colours.
Although the EQS is a large car, there’s not much space for the driver’s left knee due to the wide centre console, and every time we switched off the car, a voice announced “Just a ‘momont’ (not moment), you’ve forgotten your phone”.
It should be noted that our test car was a very early production car so a few issues may have been ironed out since then.
One of the big news items about the Mercedes-Benz EQS is the impressive electric driving range: 407-453 miles (WLTP). Our real-world driving range was 380-413 miles, which is still very good.
More good news is that the EQS can ultra-rapid charge at up to 200 kW DC, allowing it to charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 31 minutes, which is enough to deliver an extra 186 miles of range in just 15 minutes.
There’s also an onboard 11 kW AC charger to benefit from three-phase workplace charging. Charging time from 10-100% with a 400 V/16 A wallbox is 10 hours.
All EQS models come with a three-year subscription to Mercedes me Charge, providing access to green charging from many public charging providers, with a single account. This also includes a one-year subscription to IONITY with free rapid charging.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ Luxury as tested costs £106,995; prices start from £99,995 for the EQS 450+ AMG Line.
The EQS 450+ trim levels are AMG Line (which still comes with 4.5-degree rear-axle steering); AMG Line Premium (costing an extra £7,000); AMG Line Premium Plus (costing an additional £7,000); EQS 450+ Luxury, which replaces the sporty focus of AMG Line Premium Plus trim with a more classic style (including ‘ship-deck wood’) and is the same price as AMG Line Premium Plus trim. Exclusive Luxury trim costs an extra £7,000 over Luxury-spec vehicles. The optional Rear Luxury Lounge package (£3,995) is also available on the Exclusive Luxury model line and includes electrically adjustable rear seats with massage functions.
There’s also the option of having a screen stretching across the entire width of the dashboard; the MBUX Hyperscreen is over 141 centimetres wide and is available on AMG Line Premium models and above, and costs £7,995.
There’s also the all-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ with 658 hp/490 kW and an electric range 336–358 miles – from £157,160.
The EQS has a battery warranty of 10 years or 155,000 miles, and there’s breakdown assistance for 30 years.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ is a very impressive car. It has an electric driving range of up to 453 miles, it delivers effortless performance, it’s extremely comfortable on long journeys, and it offers lots of space – and it’s even practical thanks to its hatchback. A few years ago an all-electric Mercedes S-Class seemed a long way off, but the brand has transformed itself from being behind the pace with EVs to being a leader. It’s also interesting to compare the aerodynamic design of the EQS with the more square styling of the new BMW i7.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS isn’t cheap, but if you want an all-electric luxury saloon that does most things very well, at the moment the EQS is the one to go for, and it gains a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.