The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan is billed by the German automaker as the electric equivalent of its flagship S-Class sedan. The EQS will itself become the flagship for a line of EQ-badged electric vehicles, which will include an EQS SUV, an EQE sedan and SUV, and a smaller EQB model. For now, the EQS sets the tone for the Mercedes EV lineup.
With sleek, aerodynamic styling and an elaborate infotainment system, the Mercedes EQS certainly makes a strong first impression. It also feels more luxurious than other similarly priced electric sedans such as the Audi e-Tron GT, Porsche Taycan, and Tesla Model S. The Lucid Air is shaping up to be a potential rival as well, but it’s only just starting production.
At launch, the 2022 EQS lineup includes the base, single-motor EQS 450+ and the dual-motor EQS 580 4MATIC, both of which are available in Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle trim levels. We got to try out a mix of EQS models over two days of driving in EV-friendly California.
Look and Feel
The EQS brings to mind the “jellybean” sedans, but it’s not making a retro fashion statement. Mercedes emphasized aerodynamics, sweeping back the windshield, closing off the grille, and giving the EQS a flat underbody. That resulted in a very low drag coefficient of 0.20. Less aerodynamic drag means less energy is needed to push the car through the air. When it comes to maximizing range, every little bit counts.
That devotion to the wind tunnel also means that the EQS looks sleeker and more futuristic than the more traditionally styled S-Class. However, it’s still a large, imposing car that’s actually quite tall (likely to accommodate the battery pack). The massive Mercedes star on the grille also makes it unlikely that bystanders will mistake this car for anything else. For anyone who doesn’t get the hint, closer inspection reveals a cluster of tiny stars surrounding it.
The rear-wheel-drive (RWD) EQS 450+ gets 329 horsepower and 419 pound-feet of torque from its single motor. The EQS 580 has two electric motors, one for each axle, giving it all-wheel drive (AWD) and a combined output of 516 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes says the EQS 450+ will do zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, while the EQS 580 will make the sprint in 4.1 seconds. Both versions have a 130-mph top speed.
Both EQS models felt plenty quick in the real world. As with all-electric cars, instant torque delivered a visceral feel that the numbers don’t adequately explain. Plus, Mercedes produced an artificial soundtrack that makes merging onto a highway feel like you’ve just engaged warp drive.
Because it’s the electric S-Class, the EQS was designed more for comfort than outright performance. Even with its fairly large wheels and low-profile tires, the EQS delivered great ride quality. Mercedes also kept wind and road noise to a minimum, which isn’t easy when you don’t have an internal-combustion engine to mask those sounds. The seat massagers and HVAC fans did punctuate the silence, however.