All-new Mercedes EQS: full story on luxury EV

Published: 06 September 2021

► New Mercedes EQS: everything you need to know
► 475+mile maximum range, S-Class tech explosion
► World record aero, plus a hot AMG 53 packs 750bhp

This is it – the first truly bespoke electric car from Mercedes-EQ: the EQS. It’s been a long time coming, after the first concept previewed a sleek luxury car from the all-electric sub-brand back in 2019. For the 2021 Munich Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz has topped the range with a brand new 750bhp AMG EQS 53 version, details of which you can read below.

The EQS is the third car and fourth vehicle within the new EQ range Mercedes is developing, with more to come in the future. It’s effectively designed to be an all-electric take on the S-Class but, unlike the EQA and EQC, is an entirely separate design and runs on an independent and new electric platform that will underpin future mid- and large-size cars and SUVs.

Mercedes electric cars: what you need to know

Stuttgart is claiming a lot of big numbers, technology innovations and records with the new EQS, so let’s get right to it.

Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: Is 750bhp too much?

For those who want to combine Tesla Model S-style punch with EQS luxury, the AMG 53 version should do just fine. It receives bespoke AMG electric motors on each axle to boost the power and torque delivered to the wheels.

There will be two flavours of EQS 53 – the standard model with 650bhp and 701lb ft, and a range-topping Dynamic Plus package. For those who enjoy in traffic light-ego massaging, there’s a Race Start mode that can increase output to a highly useful 750bhp and 752lb ft of torque.  

With this mode selected, the EQS 53 sprints from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds – 0.4 seconds quicker than the standard time – which puts it alongside the BMW M5 and Audi S8 for sprinting ability. Maximum speed is limited to 137mph on standard models and 155mph on Dynamic Plus cars and battery range ranges between 326 and 360 miles. 

‘What we are addressing here with this power variant is [by comparison with ICE models] more like an AMG 53 variant, not a 63 S version,’ Markus Schäfer, board member for research and chief operating officer for Mercedes, told CAR. ‘How do we turn AMG fully electric? We don’t want to give up cars that you can put on a track, and we are going to address this with another technical answer.’ That answer will be plug-in hybrids, as cars like the new C63 and next-generation SL 63 have already been confirmed as PHEV models.

Mercedes EQS: technical specs and performance

The electric platform runs a 400-volt architecture and is scaleable in size: an EQE saloon, as well as EQE and EQS SUVs, are already confirmed to run on the same platform in the next couple of years. With the EQS, adaptive air suspension is standard, as is rear-wheel steering.

The new EQS saloon will launch with two power variants: EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4Matic. Both the 450+ and 580 come with a 107.8kWh battery pack.

eqs close tracking

Choose the EQS 450+, and your EQS will be rear-wheel drive with one e-motor on the rear axle. Mercedes says this version has 328bhp and 419lb ft, and is capable of a 0-62mph sprint in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 130mph.

Go for the more powerful EQS 580 4Matic and it has a motor on each axle for all-wheel drive, producing 516bhp and 631lb ft for a 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 130mph.

Read our prototype review of the new Mercedes EQS

But this isn’t all, as more power variants will be introduced over time. The giveaway is the ‘+’ sign on the 450+ available from launch, as it implies that a regular 450 will also be available. That’s expected to come with a 90kWh battery Mercedes has also announced it has in its EV armoury.

eqs rear tracking

Mercedes EQS: range and charging

One of the headline figures of the new EQS is a variant that’s capable of 478 miles – a massive leap forward in terms of how long a Mercedes EV can go before it’s all out of ideas. While Mercedes, rather oddly, hasn’t made it clear which variant that is, we can deduce that it will be the EQS 450+ – having the same battery size as the 580 4Matic but without the all-wheel-drive shove will mean range benefits from the get-go. Expect the 580 4Matic to have a range around the 400-mile mark.

Mercedes says the EQS is capable of up to 22kW AC and 200kW DC charging. A 10-80% charge on the fastest of chargers is possible in around half an hour, and just 15 minutes of 200kW DC zappage will mean another 186 miles of range.

eqs front tracking

‘Eco charging’ is included, which is a software program designed to be sensitive to the battery in order to prolong its life. The maximum charging capacity is reduced, the battery charges no more than 80% and the charge itself is delayed depending on a planned departure time input by the driver.

EQS owners are also given a year’s free use of Ionity fast chargers in Europe, and have access to Plug & Charge, a service designed to streamline charging between different networks into one single account, like KiaCharge, Charge MyHyundai and Audi’s Charging Service.

Mercedes EQS: exterior design

It’s certainly evolved from the EQS concept, but the relatively cab-forward design remains. There’s still a bonnet, but it’s entirely smooth and completed with a ‘grille’ arrangement at the front with small Mercedes star motifs in it. Gorden Wagener, chief design officer for Daimler, said that the motif was similar to fashion brand patterns from Gucci and Louis Vuitton. As you can see, there will also be two-tone paint options – something that ‘gives a stronger resemblance to the EQS concept car’, Wagener said. Mercedes also claims a world record in aerodynamics, saying the new EV’s 0.20Cd drag co-efficient is the lowest in its class.

eqs side profile

Three trim variants are known, at least for Continental Europe: standard, AMG Line and Electric Art. However, those trims could morph into one AMG Line version for the UK market, topped up by option packs – just like the S-Class. We’ll have to wait and see. Those option packages are expected to include Premium, Premium Plus and the High-End Rear Seat Entertainment package – more on that last one a little later.

Mercedes EQS: the interior

As standard, the EQS will feature much of the same interior design as the new S-Class limousine, with a high centre tunnel flowing upwards to display a large portrait OLED screen. Like any Mercedes, the interior is customisable with different upholstery colours and veneers for the dashboard and centre console, and ambient lighting means you can illuminate it in practically any colour you fancy.

eqs interior

But, more importantly, on the options list is the new MBUX Hyperscreen. It’s a single massive panel incorporating three separate screens in one: the driver’s digital instruments, a large central display and one for the passenger, too. The systems beneath the surface of the EQS are run off eight CPUs and 24GB of RAM.

For those lucky enough to be in the rear, the outer seats are powered and can be specified with seatbelt airbags for additional protection. The Rear Seat Entertainment package adds a 11.6-inch screen to the back of each front seat, allowing rear occupants to take control of navigation and media, or use it as a personal entertainment device.

Mercedes EQS: tech details and innovations

Mercedes is also boasting smaller details like a new fragrance designed specifically for the EQS, and a new Energising Air Control Plus feature with HEPA filters designed to catch more than 99.65% of particulates that flow through the ventilation system.

eqs steering wheel

Features new to the EQS include ‘automatic comfort doors’, where the flush door handles pop out even without you reaching for the key, and even popping open the driver’s door when you get closer. You can open a rear door automatically via the infotainment system if you’re parked and picking someone up, with the car’s sensors knowing how far to open it without dinging lamp posts, bollards or other cars.

Other clever innovations were first seen on the S-Class limousine. Mercedes’ Digital Light projects warnings and guide markers onto the road (much like Audi’s Digital Matrix LEDs); Drive Pilot can keep you on the move in traffic jams without you having to do all that much yourself; Interior Assist anticipates your every move, switching interior lights on if you reach across to the passenger seat, sounding an alarm if you reach for the door handle if the car spots something – such as a cyclist – approaching in your blind spot, and more.

eqs rear light

On top of all of this, the EQS will be among the first Mercedes cars that will offer the ability to buy tangible features after the car has been built, if the car already has the physical componentry available.

Mercedes EQS: price and release date

Prices aren’t known yet in the UK, but the first deliveries of the new EQS are expected in the summer of 2021. We’ll update this article when we know more.

eqs rear static

Read our Mercedes reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches