Mercedes EQS: Green Car Reports Best Car To Buy 2022 finalist

Mercedes-Benz has a well-earned reputation for making some of the best luxury vehicles in the world. And with the EQS, it shows the start of a new branch of the family while entirely on-brand, by building the most luxurious electric vehicle yet.  Forget about the EQC electric SUV, which never arrived, and the powered-by-Tesla B-Class […]

Mercedes-Benz has a well-earned reputation for making some of the best luxury vehicles in the world. And with the EQS, it shows the start of a new branch of the family while entirely on-brand, by building the most luxurious electric vehicle yet. 

Forget about the EQC electric SUV, which never arrived, and the powered-by-Tesla B-Class Electric Drive that was really only a California teaser. Underpinning the EQS is the new MEA platform, a dedicated EV foundation that allows for the flat, skateboard-like battery positioning that has designers boasting about how they can make the interior fit a size larger. 

If it weren’t for the arrival of the refreshed Tesla Model S and Plaid this year, as well as another new entry and finalist, the Lucid Air, it would be at the front of the pack in range and efficiency among large cars. The EQS can charge to 80% in as little as 31 minutes, and with a 107.8-kwh battery pack and cells from China’s CATL, it earns an EPA-rated 350 miles in EQS 450+ form while the EQS 580 goes 340 miles.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

In single-motor EQS 450+ form—the only version that most of us here have driven up until now—the electric big Benz makes 329 hp and 419 lb-ft of torque and can accelerate it to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Dual-motor EQS 580 versions step it up to 516 hp and 631 lb-ft, with a 0-60 mpg time of 4.1 seconds. While they’re both quick, considering today’s bar for EVs costing more than $100,000, that’s the difference between meeting minimum expectations vs. shock and awe. 

In ride and handling, the EQS goes beyond either of those qualifiers. Its three-chamber air suspension and adaptive dampers inherited from the S-Class, combined with sharp steering, give it ride and handling attributes that transcends the portly 5,500 lb. But its rubbery, remote brake-pedal feel and imprecise stopping is confounding. 

As much as the EQS (mostly) mirrors the S-Class driving experience, it goes a very different way in packaging. Despite riding on a cab-forward, dedicated electric vehicle platform, the EQS doesn’t feel extraordinarily spacious. Front seats are excellent, with the uber-supportive seats that we’ve come to expect in top-level Benzes, providing all-day driving comfort. The usability of rear leg room appears to have fallen victim to battery packaging, while the roofline contours keep anyone approaching 6 feet tall from getting very comfortable in the back seat, although the fastback layout leaves plenty of space for stuff. You want to be in the driver’s seat of this car, not the one being driven. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

As automakers shift to EVs, should they aim to simplify and minimize the interface, like Tesla, or should they embrace the future with a whole lot of screen space and customization? Mercedes does the latter with the EQS, as the debut venue for a new Hyperscreen interface that makes the entire dash screen space and can feel more like a nightclub at times, for better or worse. Mercedes says that “the focus is on uncomplicated, touch-based operation”—the stuff of eyerolls after a first test, although we see that once a great number of choices and customizations are navigated past it can be essentially whatever you want it to be.

With all attention on the Hyperscreen at first, you might not even notice that the materials in the EQS are better than any other electric car in existence. The EQS has the interior you show your friends. It’s far and away the quietest EV inside, although a selection of synthetic noises with New Age sounds will break the silence if you wish. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

Although the electric EQB SUV due to arrive next year doesn’t connect to the EQS, the flagship does set the stage for a new generation of vehicles, including a duo of electric SUVs due to be made in Alabama and an EQE sedan also due here in the U.S. 

The EQS starts at $103,360, and it isn’t a high-volume or mass-market car; but it shows that the luxury establishment is, a decade after the Model S, finally taking fully electric seriously.