2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS Is the S-Class of EVs
Flagship electric sedan promises to nail the EV basics while spoiling occupants with luxury.
The Mercedes-EQ all-electric sub-brand is finally ready to make its grand debut with the reveal of its flagship model, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS. The S-Class of the EQ line-up, it's aimed squarely at the Tesla Model S in size and range but loaded with far more luxury features, running the gamut from the dashboard-spanning "Hyperscreen" to the rejuvenating nap mode.
A New Look For a New Sub-Brand
There's something different about the look of the EQS, and the industry term you're looking for is "cab forward." Traditional Mercedes sedans have long hoods and setback windshields, owing in part to their combustion engines and rear-wheel drive layouts. The EQS has a short, stubby hood and a windshield that nearly reaches the front wheel. More common in front-wheel-drive cars, this design opens up a lot more interior space for the passengers, and with no combustion engine to worry about, passenger space and comfort were Mercedes' top priorities. It also makes the car look like a supersized and electrified Lincoln MKZ.
This shape, along with 19-inch wheels (that won't be offered in the U.S.) and power retracting door handles (that will), allowed the aerodynamics team to get a 0.20 coefficient of drag, which Mercedes is claiming beats both the Lucid Air and Tesla Model S for slipperiest in the world. If you don't really care about that, wheel sizes range from 20 to 22 inches.
Without a combustion engine to cool, the grille has been replaced with a solid panel punctuated by a pattern of, you guessed it, three-pointed stars. Behind the panel are the various sensors needed for advanced driver aids like adaptive cruise control and lane centering. The combined shape of the panel and headlights is called the "EQ Mask" and will be a signature element on EQ models, along with the "wave" beltline that rises from the front and then drops just ahead of the C-pillar. There is no frunk cargo space under the hood as in other EVs; it's filled with electronics.
The weird little door behind the driver-side front wheel, in case you're wondering, is the pop-out filler neck for the windshield washer fluid.
So What Is Under the Hood?
Built on Mercedes-EQ's new EVA2 architecture, the EQS rides on a familiar skateboard-style chassis full of proprietary batteries developed by Mercedes and its suppliers. The U.S. will only get the larger 108 kWh battery at launch, though a smaller 90 kWh battery available elsewhere could come later.
The base EQS 450+ will be rear drive, powered by a single rear-mounted permanently excited synchronous electric motor. The more-powerful EQS 580 4Matic will have standard all-wheel drive, provided by front- and rear-mounted e-motors. The 450 model is rated at 329 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, while the 580 makes a combined 516 hp and 611 lb-ft and will hit 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 130 mph to preserve range.
Mercedes-EQ is touting a driving range of up to 478 miles on the more generous WLTP test cycle used elsewhere in the world. America's stricter EPA test cycle will likely knock that number down below 400 miles, especially since we don't get the 19-inch wheel option necessary to achieve maximum range. The EPA number will be released closer to the on-sale date and it remains to be seen whether it'll out road-trip the 380-mile Model S.
The car rides on a standard air suspension with electronically adaptive dampers and will not offer Mercedes' E-Active Body Control system. Rear steering is also standard, making the car both more maneuverable, shrinking the turning circle to just 35.8 feet—roughly the same as a Honda Civic.
How Long Does It Take To Charge?
Able to take a 200-kW charge from a DC fast charger, the EQS can regain 186 miles of range in just 15 minutes. A Model S can charge at a rate of up to 250 kW. Getting the battery up from 10 percent to 80 percent takes 35 minutes. The car can be equipped with an optional 9.6-kW onboard charger to make the most of your 40-amp home charger (or public L2 charger) and fill the battery in 11 hours.
Public charging will be made easy by the Plug & Charge system, which is compatible with 90 percent of U.S. public charging networks. This software allows you to simply plug in and walk away without having to worry about memberships or credit card readers. All billing will be handled automatically with a credit card on file. Getting to the chargers will be handled by an onboard navigation system that considers everything from real-time traffic to topography, weather, and driving style when planning and adjusting your route to string charging stops together as efficiently (in both driving and charging time) as possible. Anywhere within range of your current charge is displayed on the map by dynamic bounding lines that take into account where there are actually roads.
Two Dashboards to Choose From
The so-called Hyperscreen (of which we have a deep dive you should read if you haven't), a 56-inch wide concave glass panel with three integrated OLED screens making up the entire dashboard, is a showstopper. But it's not the only option; it's actually an optional upgrade on the EQS 450 and standard on the 580. And you get a lot for your money—which is good because even though we don't know the price yet, it can't be cheap. The digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel portion measures 12.3 inches, as does a touchscreen in front of the front passenger. Between them is a massive 17.7-inch infotainment touchscreen. The passenger's screen mimics the center screen in functionality and will play an animation when no passenger is aboard (a passenger must be in the seat to activate it). It will also automatically dim if a camera mounted in the ceiling catches the driver looking at it instead of the road. The 3D instrument cluster feature is exclusive to the S-Class and won't be offered on the EQS.
The massive panel is impressive, especially the way it curves out at the bottom. The seamless look nearly works, though if you look closely you can still make out the edges of the three individual screens. Because it's so massive, the top of the dashboard is surprisingly high and gives the car a bit of a Camaro's gun slit windows feel.
With no transmission to house, the Hyperscreen connects to the center armrest by an arched console with storage space below, a metal-inlaid wood cover on top, and more touch-sensitive controls for the stereo and driving modes surrounding a physical starter button. There's a surprising amount of storage space both below and inside the console. Under the sliding cover are a wireless charger, two cup holders, and a good-sized bin in addition to the bin under the armrest.
Those who don't fancy an all-glass cockpit, or paying for one, will get a standard dashboard very similar to the new 2021 S-Class. A freestanding 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen sits behind the steering wheel while a tablet-like 12.8-inch infotainment screen leans up from the center of the dash on a stand that runs down into the center console. The starter button moves back to the dashboard and the space in front of the passenger is occupied by either a massive piece of inlaid wood trim or one of two plastic trim pieces, one a 3D relief of a geometric pattern and one a pattern of laser-cut and backlit three-pointed stars. The beautifully crafted metal turbine air vents incorporated into either end of the Hyperscreen are relocated to the upper corners of the dashboard.
Regardless of dashboard, the screens run the next generation of MBUX software, and it's loaded with features. The "Hey Mercedes" digital assistant is far smarter now and uses artificial intelligence technology to study your routines and make suggestions, such as turning on the seat and steering wheel heaters, phoning a friend you often speak with, or pulling upcoming events from your calendar or to-do list. It will also bring up specific vehicle function controls when it thinks you need them, such as remembering where you've previously used the vehicle lift function to clear a speed bump or steep driveway and popping up the digital button when the obstacle is nearby. Special Easter Egg buttons will occasionally pop up offering little surprise features like Tesla does. Think more along the lines of holiday-themed displays, not fart noises.
The touchscreens also incorporate haptic feedback technology to vibrate the surface when you touch a digital button, and pressure sensors to allow you to press harder to go deeper into a menu.
Don't Call It a Screen, but It Basically Is
Two optional head-up displays are offered, a small one and a large one. The larger one uses the same technology as the S-Class to project a 77-inch field of vision on the windshield ahead of the driver. Both use augmented reality technology to assist the driver with navigation and alerts.
Other driver convenience and safety features include the full gamut of passive and active safety features. Level 2 semi-automated driving aids are also included and will be upgraded to hands-free Level 3 technology in the future.
Beyond the Screens
Also independent of your dashboard choice is a black band wrapping from door to door just above the screens, which hides the center air vents and is accented by a rose gold pinstripe. Both on the dash and doors, it also serves as a dividing line for the two-tone color schemes, with darker colors on the dash top and door card tops and lighter colors below.
Those doors are fully powered and connected to the digital assistant. The driver door can be programmed to open automatically as you approach and close when you step on the brake. All the doors can be operated by their handles, the center screen, or by asking the assistant to open and close them for you.
Ambient lighting abounds, hiding in seemingly every recess and able to change color manually or automatically to match your mood, the music, or signal a function. Wood is used sparingly in the cabin if you order the Hyperscreen, only showing up on the center console lid and on the door armrests. Natural light is provided by the standard panoramic sunroof.
In addition to dashboards and color schemes, you also have the option of two different seats in the front row. The comfort seat is standard, while a sport seat with an integrated headrest is part of the AMG Line interior package that'll be available on day one. The seats and interior panels can be finished in natural leather or a vegan leather option with microfiber inserts.
The seat controls remain mounted on the upper door cards but are now touch sensitive as in the S-Class. Powered rear seats are an option, as are rear-seat heating, cooling, and massaging, part of the executive rear seat package that also includes a removable tablet in the fold-down center armrest to control the infotainment system. Even the executive seats split 60:40 and fold down to increase cargo space, which is already generous thanks to the hatchback design.
A total of 10 USB-C ports are scattered around the car and six of them can deliver up to 100 watts, enough to charge a laptop.
What's That Noise?
Every automaker has a different idea about what EVs should sound like. Some take to amplifying the natural noises of the electric motors and gearboxes, while others, including Mercedes, invent new noises from whole cloth. The EQS will come with two different sound profiles obnoxiously named Silver Waves and Vivid Flux, with the option of immediately downloading a third called Roaring Pulse via an over-the-air update.
All three sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, with Silver Waves calmer and softer, Vivid Flux techno and modern, and Roaring Pulse akin to a digital internal combustion engine. Rather than pre-recorded tracks, each is generated in real-time depending on factors like your speed, accelerator and braking inputs, driving mode, and more. They can also be switched off entirely.
Even when not moving, the car will emit special noises to let you know it's aware of your presence and your actions. A soft sound plays as you approach the car, different tones play when you turn the car on or off, and audible cues sound when you plug in or unplug.
Those driving sounds are played by the standard 710-watt 15-speaker Burmester audio system, which can pump out tunes from any streaming music service through MBUX, Mercedes says. It can also play relaxing sounds like the ocean, summer rain, or a forest.
Further relaxation can be had from the "hot stone" seat massagers, which can also be employed to help keep you awake. The overhead camera, along with light and temperature sensors, can work with the vehicle settings to guess your mood, level of distraction, and alertness and make suggestions to keep you happy, safe, and awake. There's even a nap mode that'll close the windows and sunroof cover, lean the seat back, play soothing sounds, display a starry night on the screens, adjusting the lighting, ionizing the interior air, then waking you up later with a combination of lights, seat vibrations and ventilation, a scent, more soothing sounds, and raising the seat.
What's That Smell?
Like other high-end Mercedes products, there's a fragrance system built into the ventilation system and the EQS gets its own unique scent. There's also an optional HEPA filter certified to remove over 99 percent of airborne particles, including 86 percent of viruses and 90 percent of bacteria.
When Can I Get One?
The 2022 EQS will go on sale in the U.S. this fall, and more information about range and pricing will be released as the date nears. Don't expect it to come in under $100,000. After all, the S-Class, which starts at $95,000, isn't this nicely equipped out of the gate. The 300 special Edition 1 models will cost more and offer special paint and wheels.
Oh Yeah, What Are We Supposed to Call It?
This part is confusing and ridiculous. Mercedes-Benz decided to change how it names its various sub-brands several years ago from Mercedes-Benz AMG and Mercedes-Benz Maybach to Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach (Mercedes-AMG S63 instead of Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, for example). This goes for the EQ sub-brand of EVs as well, which is officially Mercedes-EQ. However, Mercedes-EQ EQS sounds dumb and redundant, so Mercedes-Benz would prefer you just call it the EQS rather than try to make sense of this ridiculous naming convention.