Luxury electric saloon features radical new Hyperscreen and can travel nearly 500 miles on a charge
The Mercedes-Benz EQS has been revealed and features standing-setting aerodynamics, over-the-air software update capability, an advanced interior and a new electric drivetrain that will offer more than 700bhp in its most potent form.
UK sales of the new liftback-style luxury saloon will get under way in the second half of 2021, with prices roughly in line with the standard S-Class, starting at around £90,000.
The EQS is the first in an extended range of EQ models to use Mercedes-Benz’s dedicated EVA (Electric Vehicle Architecture) platform and has been conceived as an electric-powered equivalent to the S-Class saloon – alongside which it will be produced in Sindelfingen, Germany.
Mercedes-Benz chairman Ola Källenius said: “The EQS is designed to exceed the expectations of even our most demanding customers. That’s exactly what a Mercedes has to do to earn the letter ’S’ in its name. Because we don’t award that letter lightly.”
The new EVA platform, which is also earmarked for the upcoming EQE, EQE SUV and EQS SUV, brings air suspension at each corner and a rear-wheel steering system with a standard 4.5deg of rear steering angle.
The production EQS stays largely true to the 2019 EQS Vision concept, with an uncharacteristic cab-forward profile. Its appearance is dominated by what Mercedes describes as a “one-bow roofline” that stretches back to form a heavily angled liftback-style tailgate. Other key styling elements include a black grille panel bookended by a pair of angular headlights – themselves joined by a horizontal light bar. The fully enclosed light unit can be ordered with an optional three-dimensional star pattern.
The aluminium-bodied EQS also features a fixed clamshell bonnet, which wraps around the side to form the top of the front wheel arches. Rather than enclosing a front storage area, it is designed to be opened only during servicing. The filler bottle for the windscreen washer is integrated into a flap within the front left-hand-side wing, which swivels out when pressed.
The doors are frameless and feature the same flush handles as those available as an option on the S-Class, while the generously dimensioned wheel arches can accommodate alloys ranging from a standard 19in to 22in in diameter.
The EQS measures 5216mm long, 1926mm wide and 1512mm tall and receives a lengthy, 3210mm wheelbase – 106mm longer than the S-Class’s – which provides it with relatively short overhangs.
Despite the car’s generous dimensions, Mercedes claims the EQS betters the facelifted Tesla Model S for aerodynamic efficiency with a drag coefficient of 0.20.
The interior of the EQS is dominated by Mercedes’ new digital Hyperscreen – a one-piece curved screen that stretches across the width of the dashboard and houses three digital displays – one for the instruments, one for the central infotainment and air-con functions, and another ahead of the front passenger.
It is controlled by the latest generation of MBUX – an operating system that supports touch and conversational speech input as standard as well as over-the-air software capability that will allow owners to update various features, including a larger steering angle of 10.0deg for the EQS’s rear-wheel steer system, which gives a claimed 10.9m turning circle, together with subscriptions, temporary feature activations and what Mercedes calls “free software test phases”.
A high-set centre console divides the front seats, while a near-flat floor helps to liberate greater rear-seat accommodation than that of the S-Class.
Although the EQS does without a front storage compartment like many rivals, its claimed 610 litres of boot space is 60 litres more than that offered by the S-Class and it extends to 1770 litres when the split folding rear seats are stowed.
In the rear-wheel-drive EQS 450, a rear-mounted asynchronous electric motor delivers 329bhp and 338lb ft of torque, while the initial range-topping EQS 580 – which will not be sold in the UK – puts a motor on each axle for a combined 516bhp and 631lb ft.
Both cars get a 107.8kWh (net) lithium ion battery, with energy content described as being up to 26% higher than that used by the EQC and a claimed range of up to 479 miles on the WLTP test cycle.
A smaller-capacity battery is due to be offered next year for a lower range and list price, although its details have not yet been revealed.
Mercedes puts the 0-62mph time for the 2480kg EQS 450 at 6.2sec, with the 2585kg EQS 580, which boasts full torque vectoring, cutting that to 4.3sec. Both models receive a governed 131mph top speed.
Also planned is an even more powerful version of the EQS from Mercedes’ AMG performance car offshoot. Set to be revealed later this year, it runs the same dual-motor set-up as the EQS 580 but will take the total power output beyond 700bhp.