Whether you love or loathe Tesla, the company broke through consumer reluctance to electric cars, and its success has invited any number of competitors. Driven by government dictate as much as anything, luxury competitors such as Mercedes-Benz are flooding the market with any number of rivals, the first being the EQS 580 4Matic, the first in a line of EQ electric vehicles.
But, as Thomas MacManus wrote in “The Penalty of Leadership,” his famous advertisement for Cadillac, “the leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership.”
Is the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 enough to rob Elon Musk of his company’s perch atop the EV automobile market? TheDetroitBureau.com spent a week with the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic Sedan to find out if the brand’s first EV lands a knockout punch.
If there’s any doubt as to luxury buyers’ willingness to take a flyer on a luxury EV from Mercedes-Benz, consider the company sold 2,091 units in the first quarter of 2022. Sure, the S-Class’s 4,817 units outsold it by more than 56%, but considering the EQS is a fresh face, the results are impressive.
The five-door hatchback is offered as the single-motor 329-horsepower EQS 450+ with rear-wheel drive, the dual-motor 516-hp EQS 580 4Matic with all-wheel drive and the high-performance 649-hp AMG EQS, which offers the sportiest driving experience and fastest performance at the expense of driving range.
An EQS SUV, built using the sedan’s platform, will join the line-up later this year.
The 2022 EQS oozes the same sleek design language as the S-Class, albeit shaped to cheat the wind, which it does admirably. With a drag coefficient of 0.20, it possesses the sleekest body of any production battery electric vehicle. Certainly its face is similar that of an S-Class, emitting the same sense of status, but wears a solid fascia accented by a large number of tiny, backlit Mercedes-Benz stars is placed there instead of a grille.
Uniquely, the EQS’s rounded roof distinguishes it from other S-Class models lending it an uncommon shape for a luxury vehicle. The rear is a bit less distinguished, particularly the tail lamps, which resemble those of a 1998 Ford Focus sedan. It’s almost plebian. But the EQS’s long wheelbase and overall length, along with its shapely unadorned flanks, do lend it an imposing presence.
That said, there is no front trunk, or frunk. In fact, it doesn’t open. So Mercedes-Benz provides a port for adding windshield washer fluid. As you might expect, flush door handles that pop out as you approach the vehicle, retracting once you’re inside, as on other EVs.
Lush, lavish, extravagant; the words come easily once ensconced inside the EQS’s expansive cabin. The interior is indulgently over-the-top, almost profligate; a display of German engineering and design dominance that is convincing, but not always pleasing.
Yes, the leather is quilted, and the seats are incredibly supportive, if firm. The cabin is as hushed as library on Saturday night. The Burmeister audio system is impressive, as long as you skip the mediocre sound quality provided by SiriusXM radio.
The instrument panel is overrun by Mercedes-Benz’s gargantuan Hyperscreen, which houses the vehicle’s controls. It comes standard on the EQS 580 4Matic, and is a bit of a mixed blessing. It takes some time to get used to, and some functions are convenient, but others are impossible to find. After searching sub-menu upon sub-menu for the heated steering wheel, I used voice commands to activate it, taking far longer than a hitting simple button on the steering wheel, as on a BMW.
But the hatchback shape provides for a very generous amount of cargo space.
EQS 450+ models have a 245kW Synchronous motor mounted to the rear axle rated at 329 hp and 417 pound-feet of torque and 350 miles of range. It’s good for a 0-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds according to Mercedes-Benz. The EQS 580 4Matic has dual motors that generates a combined 385 kW, and are good for 340 miles of range and a 4.1 second 0-60 mph run. Opting for the AMG EQS nets 649 hp, 700 lb-ft of torque, 277 miles of range and 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds.
Top speed on the EQS 450+ and EQS 580 is limited to 130 mph and 155 mph om the AMG EQS.
Recharging to 100% from 10% using a 240-volt outlet takes 11.25 hours. Recharging to 80% from 10% using a 110 kW DC fast charger takes 31 minutes.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the Mercedes-Benz EQS. As with every Mercedes-Benz, there’s a very long list of driver assistance safety systems. You’ll be safe.
As mentioned previously, the EQS comes equipped with a 17.7-inch Hyperscreen as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Above the glovebox, the front passenger is treated to a 12.3-inch touchscreen to keep connected, watch videos or keep track of the trip with the vehicle’s navigation map.
There’s a solidity and heft to this car that’s unmistakably that of a Mercedes-Benz. Yet as large as it is, the rear wheels can steer up to 10 degrees, making this vehicle far more maneuverable for such a long sedan. Its mass is noticeable in corners; this is too large and heavy to be considered tossable.
But its demeanor is very much like that of the ever-faithful automotive butler. It delivers the serene comfortable ride you’d expect of a vehicle of this station thanks to its adaptive air suspension. Throw into Dynamic driving mode and it stiffens up in the finest Mercedes-Benz tradition. While you lose some compliance it never proves punishing.
The regenerative braking takes some getting used to for those unfamiliar with it. While our first drive impressions faulted its squishy pedal feel, you might find, as I did, the numbness present throughout an EV driveline made the pedal feel seem perfectly acceptable. The bigger problem was having to reset your preferred level of regen between drives.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic Specifications
|L: 207.3 inches/W: 75.8 inches/H: 59.6 inches/Wheelbase: 126.4 inches
|Dual permanently synchronous electric motors, 1-speed transmission and all-wheel drive
|92 mpg-e city/99 mpg-e highway/95 mpg-e combined
|516 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $119,110; As tested: $133,670 including $1,050 destination charge
With the arrival of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4Matic, Mercedes-Benz is offering the S-Class of EVs, a distinct flavor that can only come from Mercedes-Benz. Is it a Tesla killer? Not on its own. But the EQS’s arrival alongside a host of capable luxury competitors, including the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT and Lucid Air, could seriously begin to impact sales of the aging Tesla Model S.
But it could also impact sales of the S-Class, although that has yet to happen. Still, as the latter ages, and fuel becomes a less-accepted transportation power source, the EQS could quickly overtake its traditional rival as long as you don’t mind its five-door hatchback configuration.
Once inside, most drivers won’t notice the difference between the conventional S-Class and its electrified doppelganger.
2022 Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic Sedan — Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS cost?
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ starts at $102,310, while the EQS 580 4Matic begins at $119,110 and the Mercedes-AMG EQS starts at $147,500.
Is the Mercedes-Benz EQS available?
Yes. The EQS sedan arrived in U.S. dealerships in the fall of 2021. Mercedes-Benz sold 2,091 units in the first quarter of 2022.
What does EQS stand for Mercedes?
According to Mercedes-Benz, EQ represents the emotion and intelligence electric mobility. The S represents the model line, which is the S-Class.