New Mercedes EQS electric saloon unveiled

The Mercedes EQS is the brand’s first electric saloon and will come with a host of revolutionary technology and an impressive range

  • Optional ‘Hyperscreen’ features three screens in one
  • An extensive range of self-driving tech
  • On sale in 2021

Meet the Mercedes EQS saloon, the brand’s flagship electric car, which is a zero-emissions alternative to the Mercedes S-Class and the range-topping model of the EQ sub-brand.

The S-Class has always been a showcase for Mercedes’ latest technology and the EQS follows this trend, launching with an array of impressive new technologies. These include the brand’s new optional 55.5-inch Hyperscreen infotainment system, which spans the entire dashboard, and Level 3 “eyes-off” autonomous driver assistance systems.

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When the EQS is launched in August 2021, there will be two models available - the EQS 450+ and the EQS 580 4MATIC - and it will rival the forthcoming electric BMW 7 Series, plus cars like the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan.

Power and performance

The EQS will debut Mercedes’ next generation battery technology, meaning it has significantly more energy than other cars in the range, such as the EQC and EQA SUVs.

Only a few electric cars can currently travel 300 miles or more on a single charge. However, both EQS variants will be available with a large, 107.8kWh lithium-ion battery, which will offer a maximum range of 478 miles on a full charge.

A 200kW DC rapid charge capability means a 10 to 80% boost will take just 31 minutes. Up to 173 miles of range can be added in as little as 15 minutes on the more powerful EQS 580 4MATIC, rising to 186 miles for the EQS 450+.

An 11kW on-board charger is standard on the EQS but buyers can choose to add a more powerful 22kW unit. Using an AC charging post, it will take both cars 10.5 hours to go from 10% to full battery.

There are three different charging programmes available on the EQS: Standard, Home and Work. This means features such as air-conditioning settings, departure times and charge level can be pre-set for peace of mind.

The base EQS 450+ is rear-wheel drive and offers 329bhp and 568Nm of torque. Weighing in at 2,480kg with the larger battery, its motor needs to work hard to get EQS up to speed but it can still sprint from 0-62mph in an impressive 6.2 seconds.

The EQS 580 4MATIC, meanwhile, is four-wheel drive with a twin-motor setup. The two motors together produce 516bhp and 855Nm of torque and, as a result, the 0-62mph time drops to 4.3 seconds. Both cars are limited to a top speed of 130mph.

Mercedes has already confirmed that it is working on a high-performance EQS AMG model, which will produce up to 751bhp.

2021 Mercedes EQS interior

As the brand’s luxury, fully electric, flagship car, the EQS is bursting with technological advances. If you tick the option for it, the entire cockpit centres around the one-piece 55.5-inch infotainment system, called the ‘MBUX Hyperscreen’, which combines three separate displays. The first is a 12.3-inch digital display for the dials, the second is a 17.7-inch central display for the main media and infotainment controls, and a third 12.3-inch unit is solely for the front passenger, mounted on their side of the dash.

The system includes ambient lighting and uses OLED tech, meaning it adapts the display brightness depending on light conditions. It also has two air vents integrated within the seamless design. The curved panel mounted over the top of the Hyperscreen, meanwhile, is scratch-resistant and has a coating that makes cleaning fingerprints easier.

There’s more to the Hyperscreen than infotainment. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn your preferences, settings and often-visited destinations. It can get to know the driver and deliver personalised suggestions, at the right time, in a ‘context-sensitive’ way. The EQS knows when there is a passenger sitting in the front seat, and will change the display to a digital image. When the seat is empty, however, the screen will revert to a decorative display

There are seven user profiles and the car will learn which prompts to use for each one. A ‘zero-layer’ system means that users don’t have to scroll through menus and sub-menus to find the function they want.

The sat-nav, which can schedule a route based on charging stations, is always in the centre of the main display. However, Mercedes says its software engineers have grouped more than 20 other functions into what the brand calls ‘Magic Modules’. If range is low, for example, the EQS will suggest pulling in at a frequently used charging station when you’re passing by.

Buyers will also be pleased to know that the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant is more advanced and can now be operated from the rear of the car. Rear seat passengers haven’t been forgotten about when it comes to in-car entertainment, either. The MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment Plus package adds a pair of 11.6-inch displays, with the option to share screen content around the car.

As standard, the EQS will come with an interior that shares much with the S-Class. Cars without the Hyperscreen get a free-standing digital instrument cluster and a large touchscreen on the centre console. Through the touchscreen, you can control a wide range of functions and features, including all the climate controls. It looks like most of the switchgear and materials will be carried over from the S-Class, although the air vents are housed in one sweeping strip in the EQS.

As impressive as the Hyperscreen looks, we expect the whole dashboard would need to be replaced if something goes wrong, which is likely to be very expensive. There are also questions about how usable this vast screen will be when you’re driving.

Connectivity and safety

Like the S-Class, which has always been a leader in safety and driver assistance systems, the EQS offers a host of innovations for passengers.

There’ll be plenty of connectivity on offer, with over-the-air software updates available to allow owners to unlock or upgrade features digitally. Meanwhile, the list of familiar driver assistance systems is extensive.

The level of charge in the battery allows the EQS to adapt acceleration accordingly and Attention Assist, which monitors driver behaviour, will suggest taking a break if it detects a change in driving style. Active Steering Assist keeps the car in lane on the motorway, with subtle steering intervention at up to 74mph, while Active Lane Change Assist helps the driver to change lanes if the system detects the adjacent lane is empty and the road markings allow the manoeuvre.

The EQS is also equipped with Active Brake assist and Evasive Steering Assist with cross traffic function, which automatically applies the brakes and steers the wheel to help avoid a collision.

The EQS features clever automatic doors that have in-built exit warning, meaning it will let you know if a pedestrian or bicycle is passing on the inside when you try to exit. It also has obstacle detection, so it won’t open into the path of a car or bicycle approaching from behind.

The EQS is equipped with park assist tech, including Intelligent Park Pilot, which will allow the car to park itself automatically in car parks with the right infrastructure.

The biggest advancement in technology for the EQS, however, is Mercedes’ Drive Pilot system, which will allow Level 3 “eyes-off” self-driving at speeds up to 37mph – this is likely to come in handy when sitting in slow-moving traffic on the motorway. The carmaker says this system “relieves the burden on drivers and allows them to carry out secondary activities”. The system, however, is only going to be legal in Germany to begin with.

Practicality

Since the EQS is fully electric, its underpinnings mean it boasts an extremely long wheelbase relative to the length of the car. As a result, there’s plenty of space inside. Rear-seat passengers will be spoilt with masses of legroom and the 610-litre boot space, that rises to 1,770 litres with the rear seats folded down, is big for a saloon.

Styling

The coupe-shape of the EQS is sleeker than the Mercedes CLS. Like the rest of the EQ range, it features a prominent ‘black panel’ at the front of the car, making it easily identifiable as a member of the EQ family. Electric cars don’t require as much cooling as cars powered by internal combustion engines, so this streamlined front panel helps lower drag and boost aerodynamic efficiency and range.

The EQS’s long roofline helps to maximise space inside and, as a result, leads to a simple and smooth exterior design, which also features clever lighting tech. Its shorter rear, meanwhile, boats a curved, 3D helix design with slim tail-lights.

Buyers will be able to personalise the look of their EQS on the outside, as well as the inside, with different specifications available. The different trims modify the exterior detailing from the side sills to the rear aprons, while the alloy wheels available range from 19 to 22 inches.

Mercedes claims that 80kg of material in the EQS is made from recycled or renewable raw materials to help reduce the car’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.

The EQS will be built at the same Sindelfingen plant as the S-Class and Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which is a carbon-neutral facility.

Read our review of the Tesla Model S to see how an electric saloon already available compares.

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