An Impressive First All-Electric Car from Mercedes-Benz
Times are changing at Mercedes-Benz. The S Class, long having been recognized as the benchmark for luxury full-size sedans, has been joined by the all-new EQS, the first-ever Mercedes built on a dedicated EV platform. The difference between the S and EQS is apparent when sliding behind the wheel, as Clean Feet Report noticed when recently first driving the 2022 S500 4Matic Mild Hybrid–and now the 2022 EQS 580 4Matic. Mercedes-Benz has no interest in ceding any ground to Tesla, Audi, Porsche, Lucid or any of the other car companies that want a piece at the upper end of the luxury EV market.
In Mercedes-Benz speak, anything going forward with an EQ on the badge means it is only powered by electricity. The significance is that at some point everything—sedans, coupes, sports cars, SUVs and possibly even trucks—will run on electrons, leaving oil and gasoline behind.
A New Mercedes-Benz Experience
The EQS is the most technologically advanced car I have driven, and is a peek into the future of what to expect from Mercedes EVs. Available in three all-electric versions:
- The base is the single motor, rear-wheel drive EQS 450+.
- Next is the dual motor all-wheel drive EQS 580 4Matic.
- Finally, the AMG EQS, which is the most powerful and sportiest of the trio, has the shortest driving range.
Clean Feet Report drove the all-wheel drive EQS 580 4Matic, with dual motors, front and rear. The motors have a 385 kW output, equaling 615 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rates the all-electric range at 340 miles, which we exceeded (we hit 365 miles) in our week driving on country roads, city streets and plenty of Southern California highways.
Stepping on the accelerator results in an instant and strong launch, which is the beauty of EV torque. The performance was impressive, with the 5,888-pound EQS returning 0-60 mph runs at 3.7 seconds.
The well-distributed weight (nearly 50/50) gave the EQS a balanced and confident ride. The Goodyear 265/44 summer tires, mounted on 21-inch AMG multi-spoke aluminum wheels, provided ample grip, even when pushing corners to their limit. The all-wheel drive system automatically senses grip level and undetectably sends power front-to-rear and side-to-side, while the electronically controlled air suspension automatically controls the damping force of the suspension to provide for a smooth ride. The air suspension system also automatically adjusts the ride height in Eco and Comfort modes, but when the driver opts for Sport, the ride height drops by 0.08 inches at top speeds.
The EQS also comes standard with active steering assist, stability control and 10-degree rear axle steering. This last feature helps the EQS be much more agile and maneuverable than would be expected, and nearly eliminates three-point turns.
The steering is light for around town and then is speed-dependent, so there is never a loss of road feel or the ability to accurately carve through mountains or traffic. Ride comfort was what is expected from an S Mercedes, with only the most severe road surfaces being noticeable in the cabin. The EQS is easy to drive, easy to steer and comfortable in every sense. It handled very well for being more than 17 feet long.
Charging and Regeneration
Using a DC fast charger, the 107.8 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery will replenish 10% to 100% in under 31 minutes using the on-board 9.6 kW charger and charging at 200 kW. A 240-volt/32-amp home charger will take 11.25 hours for a 10% to 100% charge.
The first two years of owning an EQS come with complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America DC fast chargers.
Powerful regeneration is controlled by steering wheel mounted paddles. When coasting or braking, it converts kinetic energy into electric energy and returns it to the battery. One pedal driving, where the regeneration can be set for different levels of force, made it possible to do most driving without relying on the brakes.
A .20 coefficient of drag (Cd), the lowest we have experienced in a test car, comes from the EQS design that hasn’t set well with many traditional Mercedes-Benz owners. We like that it has form and function, which makes it efficient and quiet to drive.
The EQS is a large car, with almost the same dimensions as the S Class, except it is a bit narrower and shorter. The smooth exterior, which draws one long sweeping line from front to back, is what Mercedes calls a “one bow cab forward design,” beginning with a rounded nose with the traditional grille area replaced by a plastic lens covered in a repeated three-point star pattern. The digital LED headlights have the ability to project images onto the road, such as warning symbols of road work, no-entry, stop and yield, driving guidelines on narrow roads and several others.
The fastback-sedan shape has smooth sides with flush door handles and a curious rectangular door on the driver-side front fender. Too small for a charge port, so what is it? Mercedes does not want you opening the hood, which goes as far as there not being a visible hood release lever under the dash. Note: It is there, but hidden behind a panel. So this fender door is for refilling the windshield fluid. Curious indeed.
The sleek roofline peaks at the B pillar and continues on a gentle slope to an ever-so-small lip spoiler on the power trunk lid. EQS 580 and 4MATIC badging sit below the LED light bar that connects the tail lights with their distinctive helix design.
Clean Fleet Report’s EQS 580 was painted in Selenite Grey Mango, which is one of 10 exterior colors that range from Polar White and Onyx Black Metallic to Cardinal Red Metallic. The restrained use of chrome around the windows, along the lower doors and just a taste on the front and rear lower fascias, gives the EQS a classy look.
Screens in Abundance
The dominant feature of the EQS cabin is the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Hyperscreen that extends A-pillar to A-pillar with a 56-inch curved glass surface. At first it can all seem overwhelming, but with time it makes sense, even though not all the functions will be used very often. This three-screen area is home a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, an OLED 17.7-inch infotainment screen and a 12.3-inch passenger display. The only negative about this screen is the reflected light under certain angles and it being a fingerprint magnet.
An OLED (organic light-emitting diode display) screen works without a backlight as it emits its own visible light. The benefits are it produces deep black levels and offers higher contrast than a LED system, and uses 30% less energy. Make sure to visit the Mercedes-Benz dealership in the evening to get the full impact of the touchscreen.
The center screen is home to an augmented reality navigation system and the 710-watt Burmester 3D surround audio system. The 15 separate amplifier channels and 15-speaker system has a combination of mid-range, bass, tweeter and surround speakers for SiriusXM, FM radio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Bluetooth voice commands for the radio and the telephone are part of the MBUX assistant system. There are multiple USB power and connectivity ports throughout the cabin.
The wood and leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel has capacitive touch controls for audio, telephone and the adaptive cruise control, and to change the models on the driver information screen. The radio can also be controlled by voice commands (“Hey Mercedes”) and the touchscreen. The system has a learning curve that isn’t too difficult and is well worth mastering to get the most from the excellent sound quality and vast array of comfort features available to those in the cabin. Mercedes also wants to make your road trips more relaxing and enjoyable through the Energizing Comfort system that is designed to “boost the driver’s attentiveness and well-being.” Sounds can be set to Forest Glade, Sounds of the Sea and Summer Rain. Ahhhh.
The 12.3-inch 3D digital color instrument cluster has multiple views that provide a wealth of information. It is too involved to go into here, so make sure your Mercedes-Benz dealer sales representative walks you through it completely. The glasses-less 3D is impressive and adds uniqueness for this highly customizable screen.
The augmented reality head-up display (HUD) is probably the best we have seen, with the AR allowing the driver to see the HUD information from any angle; when the driver’s head moves, so does the HUD.
All materials were top notch quality, with Clean Fleet Report’sEQS interior in Black and Space Grey looking elegant. The Nappa leather multi-contour front heated and ventilated power seats had memory and massage. The front seats have “comfort” headrests while the rear passengers get headrest pillows. The cabin, with natural grain Anthracite Linden wood trim, has a four-zone climate control with energizing air control through a HEPA filter. Seating comfort front and rear is as to be expected along with 18-way power seat adjustments in front, but the heads of taller passengers touched the rear ceiling.
While this may be a sedan, it is really a hatchback with as much cargo space as a small crossover. With the rear seat up there is 22 cubic feet and, with it folded flat, an impressive 63 cubic feet. What this all means is a couple’s weekend to the mountains or beach will hold everything they want to take.
Other interior features are a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a dashcam, heated and power side mirrors with turn signals, a power tilt and sliding panorama roof, and wireless phone charging. The 64-color ambient lighting is soothing and fun to play with.
Pricing, Safety, and Warranty
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic has a base price of $120,160, including the mandatory $1,050 destination and delivery charge. Clean Fleet Report’s EQS had $13,545 in options, bringing the final MSRP to $133,655. The “base” EQS starts at $103,360.
The EQS 580 comes with an extensive and standard list of advanced driver assistance systems, (ADAS) and a semi-autonomous driving system of Drive Pilot that utilizes lidar, radar, cameras, moisture sensors, ultra-sonic sensors and an antenna. Upon setting the system the EQS will stop, accelerate from a stop, adjust speed to the cars in front, and when applying the turn signal, change lanes.
It is not a hands-free system, as there are none on the market regardless of what some car companies will tell you. On your test drive, experiment a bit by removing your hands for up-to 15 seconds while on the highway. Under the right conditions, the EQS will follow the lanes and turn gentle corners, hands-free. It is a wonderful feeling getting a sense of where true autonomous driving will be sometime in the future. There is a full list of the standard safety systems at the end of this story.
The 2022 EQS 580 is a new model and has not been safety rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS.)
The EQS comes with these warranties.
New Vehicle – Four years/50,000 miles
Battery – 10 years/155,000 miles
Observations: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic Sedan
The surface has only been scratched here of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic Sedan, as there is so much to learn about the technology and driving systems. This is a car that you will be relying on the dealer sales representative to get the most from this outstanding car. Don’t be shy, and no question is wrong when learning about the EQS.
Whether it is an entry-level or a luxury model, there is something very satisfying about driving an electric car. The lack of sound as it moves down the road is wonderful, and the instant torque from a stop or already at highway speeds is something to enjoy.
When climbing behind the wheel of the EQS 580 4Matic an appreciation for a fine automobile is quickly recognized. The styling may not please everyone but it is the most aerodynamic car we have driven. The impressive interior, where occupants are encased in high quality materials and workmanship, may be the best in any luxury EV. The features list is long and deep, including a full safety suite. The price may seem high, but there is a whole lot going on that in the rarefied world of full-size luxury electric vehicles, it makes sense.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Mercedes-Benz.
EQS 580 Standard Safety Features
- Car-to-X Communication
- Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC
- Active Steering Assist
- Active Brake Assist
- Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call
- ATTENTION ASSIST
- Enhancements to ATTENTION ASSIST
- LED DIGITAL LIGHT headlamps w/lightband
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist
- LED Daytime Running Lamps
- Crosswind Assist
- Active Blind Spot Assist
- Exit Warning Assist
- Evasive Steering Assist
- Active Lane Keeping Assist
- Active Lane Change Assist
- Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function
- Active Emergency Stop Assist
- Active Speed Limit Assist
- Extended Restart in Stop-and-Go Traffic
- Active Stop-and-Go Assist
- Front and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert w/pedestrian detection and automatic braking
- PRE-SAFE Sound
- PRE-SAFE PLUS
- PRE-SAFE Impulse Side
- PARKTRONIC with Active Parking Assist
- Surround View System
- 7 air bags
- Acoustic Vehicle Alert System
- Adaptive braking technology
- Antilock Braking System (ABS)
- Brake Assist (BAS)
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
- Torque Vectoring Brake
- EQ-specific safety concept
- Advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- GUARD 360 Vehicle Protection Plus
- Parking Damage Detector
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
More on Mercedes Big Iron:
Road Test: 2022 Mercedes-Benz S500 4Matic Mild Hybrid
Flash Drive: 2022 Mercedes-Bez EQS
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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