Mercedes has been at the forefront of luxury models since the very first cars were invented. Logically, it's keen to continue this tradition into its fully-electric models. The brand’s knowledge of luxury and its strive for being technological leader ties in nicely into the modern world of EVs.
The EQS is thus given the most challenging of tasks - to carry the illustrious S-class legacy on the EV side. To live up to a name that has been an standard for luxury for more than fifty years now. Perhaps the fact that the S-class itself still sells well in its latest ICE iteration gives some relief as the EQS doesn't need to immediately and fully replace it. That doesn't change the fact that it needs to make a strong statement and prepare buyers for the transition to electric mobility.
The distinctive styling is certainly a strong start and the overhauled interior helps with the novelty feeling that EV buyers are so keen on. But is enough?.
Today we are looking at the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+, which is the longest range variant in the current EQS lineup. It comes in rear-wheel drive and offers the somewhat conservative 329 hp. Now we’ll set off to test what this EQS has to offer and how it fits into the Mercedes lineup.
From the outside, the EQS is instantly recognizable as part of the Mercedes EQ family. The rounded shape with a complete lack of sharp angles are the distinctive features of the series' exterior. This, of course, also helps optimize drag and improve efficiency and the EQS is the champion here. Mercedes claims it's the most aerodynamic car in the world with a drag coefficient of just 0.2 Cd.
The front of the EQS 450+ has required the most work to achieve this ultra low drag coefficient. In the non-AMG models like ours, there are almost no vents nor any signs of an aggressive sporty bodykit. This makes the car look more bland, but the AMG variants with all their extra bits raise the Cd to 0.23.
The overall proportions of the EQS make for a bulbous-looking vehicle with little to no reminiscence of the traditional Mercedes models. The efficiency-driven design is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, the lack of character being the most frequent criticism thrown at it. That's understandable and justified, seeing how Mercedes-Benz has got its customers used to opulence and extravagance.
There are almost no notable features up front in the EQS, except for a polished front element in lieu of a grille that incorporates the famous Mercedes star logo. It can be optioned to have plastic inserts mimicking a real grille, but that honestly looks tacky and exudes a cheaper look.
There are actual front vents on the lower parts of the vehicle with a very prominent chrome outline, which is just about the only similarity between the EQS and ICE Mercedes models.
The most exciting parts of the front are definitely the headlights. They are called Digital Light and offer a very unique lightshow experience thanks to three extremely powerful LEDs in each headlamp. They provide great illumination of the road, but also enable several unique features.
First off, they can project images on the pavement in front of the car, giving you and your passengers information like collision warning and other signals. If this isn’t cool enough, wait until it gets dark outside and try locking and unlocking the vehicle. The headlights project a little clip with some stars aligning to make the Mercedes logo and then write “Mercedes-EQ”.
On the more practical side the headlights work great as such and make driving in the dark an extremely pleasant experience. They recognize many different objects and can disable specific sections to avoid blinding oncoming traffic, while simultaneously perfectly lighting up the road ahead. The only thing we aren't particarly keen about is the giant LED bar that connects the two headlights. It looks like a cheap aftermarket item a teenager would install on their first car for a more “Need for speed” vibe and that really doesn’t fit with the image of a premium luxury sedan.
From the side the EQS looks very long, but that's only because it actually is. With a length of 205.12 inches, a very rounded design and a raised window line, the EQS looks plump. The roof line raises gradually from the front, all the way to the center of the vehicle, where it starts sloping into the rear, chasing that aircraft wing shape to minimize drag. The downwards curve does give the car an appearance some would describe as “sad”.
An interesting touch are the flushed door handles, which reveal themselves only once the vehicle detects you nearby or you open it from the keyfob. The handles have a great heft to themself and using them gives a real premium feeling. A not-so-premium expericnce is that they don’t always pop out when you need them and you have to tap them a few times until they decide to work.
The wheels on the EQS can come in many different designs and sizes. Our test example had optional AMG 20-inch wheels with staggered 255/45 Pirelli P Zero tyres for a better driving experience. If you want better range and softer ride you should go for the 19-inch variants, but if you want to get the best look Mercedes lets you go all the way to 22-inch wheels.
The EQS comes with a lengthy wheelbase of 126.38 inches and low ground clearance of just 4.33 inches. While these are great for efficiency and sporty handling, in everyday driving it's very easy to scrape the floor. Going over kerbs is out of the question, but even speedbumps can be problematic at anything but snail pace.
The rear of the EQS offers the most distinctive design, in line with other EQ models. There is a giant LED bar that goes from one end to the other. The tail lights on each end have a unique design that looks astonishing in the dark. They are greatly complimented by the turn signals right below. As much as we didn’t like the LED bar up front, the rear one fits perfectly in the overall design language of the EQS and we certainly prefer looking at the car from the back.
Another notable feature is the small ducktail spoiler on the trunk, which gets progressively bigger as you move to AMG trim and then the outright AMG model.
The big rear Mercedes logo stays right in the center and incorporates the trunk release button and the rear-view camera. This is a smart integration to make the rear look clean and uncluttered.
Stepping inside the EQS you are greeted by a modern atmosphere with many screens and luxurious features. The cabin is spacious and offers many practicalities, as one would expect from a luxury vehicle in this price range. Sadly, the EQS fails to deliver the level of refinement and attention to detail to give you the superiority feeling most potential customers would expect.
It is definitely nice and comfortable inside, but the special exotic feeling is missing. This is further amplified by the less than ideal choice of materials, and the uninspiring build quality, which leads to the now infamous “Mercedes creaking”.
The driver seat is the best place to be in an EQS. The seat is very comfortable and hugs you in place, while the steering wheel is nice and thick. Even though the seating position is very high, there is plenty of headroom even for tall drivers and the overall space inside is great.
The steering wheel has a bunch of options for managing Mercedes’ amazing MBUX system that controls the entire vehicle. The buttons on the left of the steering wheel control the gauge cluster, head-up display and also the cruise controls. The right side, on the other hand, is responsible for controlling the center display, volume and your telephone. There is also a convinient button, which you can program to do whatever you desire.
Behind the steering wheel is the driver display, which has crisp quality and great resolution. With a size of 12.3 inches it is big that the steering wheel blocks some of the screen as the diameter is narrower than the width of the display.
Next up is the center display, which in our case was the regular vertically mounted unit and not the Hyperscreen. For a more thorough review of the MBUX Hyperscreen visit our Mercedes-Benz EQE 43 AMG review. The standard display looks like it is floating over the dashboard and its base seemingly continues all the way to the center console.
Although it is considered the lesser trim option, it still looks beautiful and works just as fine as the Hyperscreen. It may even be the classier option since it offers wood and metal dashboard finishes instead of only the piano-black in the Hyperscreen. We must note that actually none of the aforementioned materials feel good to the touch and their fit and finish leads to creaks, rattles and a lot of play every time you touch them.
On a much more positive note, the center display itself feels great and works wonderfully. It is very quick and responsive, has many great features and offers all of the capabilities of the 17.7-inch unit in the Hyperscreen. It also looks like it belongs in the interior with the way it merges into the center console.
The center console hides cupholders, chargeports and wireless charging pad, although the latter is inaccessible if you are using the cupholder. The lower part of the center console is a giant storage area, which is really convenient.
The armrest has another very deep pocket with two more charging ports, bringing up the total number of USB-C outlets available to the front passengers to six. An impressive number for a vehicle that can only fit 5 people in total.
The front doors are where the seat control buttons are located. They are mounted on a beautiful trim piece that looks like it’s floating and work well once you get used to the complete lack of tactile feedback. On the door we also see one of the majestic Burmester audio speakers that look amazing and sound just as well.
The back seats come with the softest and fluffiest neck pillows, that just instantly relax you whenever you sit. It is a true luxury feature and one not many vehicles even offer. You get plenty of legroom and even our 1,95 m (6’4”) reviewer fits easily.
On a less positive note, the rear seats headroom is not great due to the aerodynamic shape of the vehicle. The seat bottom is positioned in such a way and angle that your legs always point up and going for a long ride in the back of the EQS may turn into a not be as enjoyable as one would expect from a Merdeces' top-of-the-range model.
Even in our relatively low trim test car, there was still a two separate climate control zones for the rear passengers alone, which makes it that much more comfortable to ride in the back of the EQS.
You also get an armrest between the seats, which has cupholders that pop out. Interestingly, those are made of probably the finest materials used throughout the whole interior. They have great aluminum outlining and the general fit and finish feels solid and makes for a premium experience.
The trunk of the EQS is impressive for a sedan, mainly because it incorporates hatchback opening style with the rear window lifting up as well while open. This makes for a big and wide opening, allowing you to fully utilize the giant 21.5 ft³ storage space. You also have some small compartments below the trunk liner for some small items and the charging cables.
You can fold the seats down to reveal a monstrous 62.5 ft³ storage area, but you won’t have a perfectly flat bottom, which imposes some limitations.
Sadly, there is no frunk (front trunk) and you only get one little door on the left fender to fill up with washer fluid. You otherwise get no access to the front of the EQS, where all the electronics are located as only mechanics are supposed to open it.
The EQS is a great vehicle for cruising around and incites the driver to continue driving more and more. The steering wheel fits just right in your hands and the feedback you receive is adequate for such a big and heavy vehicle. You can always tell what is going on with the road surface and precisely control the vehicle.
You also stand very high off the ground, which some might consider not very sporty, but it enables an excellent view on the road ahead of you. The side view isn't that great since the windows are very small though, whereas the view from the rear-view mirror is obstructed by the massive C-pillars.
The EQS positions itself as the electric equivalent of the S-class, which should theoretically mean it provides ultimate softness of ride and a very relaxed driving experience. The electric powertrain very much ensures the second part with a smooth powerband and delivers its power quickly, yet without a hard push that would make you feel uneasy inside. A surprising omission in a vehicle made for cruising and relaxed driving is the lack of one-pedal driving, which would've made daily commutes even easier.
More importantly, the ride is harsh and doesn’t smooth out the uneven surfaces. You very much feel everything on the road both as a passenger and as a driver, which is not what you'd expect from a vehicle in this segment. The carrying over of each road imperfection to the cabin takes away a lot of its luxury feeling. We would’ve pehaps been fine with this on the AMG version, where cornering and handling should be top priorities, but our 450+ is aimed towards more relaxed driving and family traveling. When we put it in sport suspension things got even rougher and we could feel every little detail from the road in our seats.
But the harsh ride means great handling, right? Right! The EQS is a blast even in the second slowest powertrain. The rear-wheel drive combines with the precise steering to offer a quick turning vehicle, further helped by the standard rear-wheel steering of 4.5°, which can be optioned to go all the way to 10°. This feature makes the EQS really stable both in low and high speeds, while also providing tremendous maneuverability in tight spaces and parking lots.
The EQS feels very stable on the highway and the spacious cabin makes you feel confident. There is little to no sensation of speed and you can always feel in control while driving.
As we previously stated, the EQS 450+ we had didn’t have the excessive Hyperscreen in the front that offers 3 different displays for the front two passengers, but the standard MBUX infotainment we tested was no less impressive. It has all the functions of the Hyperscreen, just in a more visally-restricted package. You also don’t get the augmented reality gauge cluster in the standard version, which frankly isn’t a huge loss.
In the center display you get all kinds of apps, great touchscreen response and crisp resolution. The connected services and OTA updates make the EQS feel modern and ensure the vehicle will remain fresh for a longer time. There are also games available to download and play, which makes waiting inside the EQS a more enjoyable experience.
The gauge cluster is highly configurable and has multiple different configurations that can show every little detail you want to know. The head-up display nicely compliments the gauge cluster by giving you a simplistic look of the readouts from it and displaying only your vital information directly into your field of vision. It is a feature we highly recommend you get and one that makes the driver display virtually redundant.
The built-in navigation system is a work of art and offers great user experience, as it gives you real-life directions using the camera system to show an image of the road in front of you with an arrow overlaid. This makes it next to impossible for you to miss your exit or make a wrong turn.
The infotainment also controls all kinds of lighting and vehicle settings, which in the case of the EQS are plentiful. You can set the ambient lighting to precisely the hue you want, as well as program the lights to welcome you in a unique way both inside and out. As we briefly mentioned, the headlights do a little light show when you enter and exit the EQS, which is an cool gimmick not many vehicles have.
You can also program different habits and routes you frequently take, so that the vehicle helps you in your daily life by acting as a personal assistant. It can learn from your actions via AI, or you can simply enter the usual commutes yourself. The EQS can then assist you with a range of tasts from regular phone calls, through lowering your windows at parkings or setting navigation destinations.
As a whole, the infotainment features of the EQS are impessive and make for a pleasurable and enjoyable driving experience that feels every bit modern and even futuristic. The screens and technology on board are among the greatest in the industry and offer top-of-the-line features, which heavily distinguish the EQS. If you are tech-inclined and want to always use the latest and greatest technology, the EQS should definitely be on your shortlist.
We already mentioned that the ride is not the softest. Even small bumps and rocks are translated directly into the cabin even when you've selected the softest ride settings. The dynamic button below the center screen allows you to quickly change the settings of the EQS. In sport mode the ride stiffens further, which makes for a great driving on the limit, but really hurts comfort on anything but perfectly smooth roads.
Some of that harshness of ride has to do with the weight of the EQS, which tips the scales just under 5,512 lb in the RWD version and right about 5,732 lb in the AWD variants. It is a lot that has to be carried around and a softer suspension would’ve probably led to serious compromises in driving experience.
Mercedes EQS protects you from the outside world in an almost hermetically enclosed cocoon, preventing the majority of outside noises from coming through. You hear some wind noise and tire rolling as you pick up some speed, but other than that the serenity inside the EQS is mesmerizing. If it wasn't for the occassional creak or rattle from the plastics inside it would have been a perfectly quiet experience.
The only car we've tested so far that manages to maintain its serentiy at high speeds a tiny bit better than the EQS is the BMW i7. The EQE is a fraction behind, while the rest don't even come close. Keep in mind that decibels use a logarithmic scale so 5dB difference marks about 40% difference in perceived loudness.
Sound level tests are carried out with a specialized sound level meter placed in the car's cupholders. The test is conducted with air conditioning and radio off and while maintaining a steady speed.
The EQS 450+ we had is not aimed at setting track records or win drag races, but rather offer adequate power with great range. The acceleration from 0 to 62 mph happens in the unimporessive, but certainly not bad 5.9 seconds. There is no drama and you just enjoy yourself inside, as you properly should in a luxury sedan.
In terms of braking, the EQS 450+ comes with regular steel brakes, which do an okay job. After all, the vehicle weighs well over 5,732 lb with the driver, which is not easy to stop. The first time it came from 62 mph to a halt in the reasonable 37 m (121’5”), but the brakes quickly started to overheat and the achievement drastically dropped every next time we tried.
This category is where the EQS 450+ really shines. With its aerodynamic shape it glides through the air and can cover great distances on one charge. The WLTP rating of 454 miles of range can even be exceeded under certain conditions. And in everyday driving you can come pretty close if you are gentle with the the accelerator and the temperatures are close to 70°F.
Our testing was conducted in near perfect conditions and the ambient temperature was 68°F. As you can see the 37 mph range is comfortably above the WLTP rating, although obviously we can't see a scenario where one would need to drive for close to 559 miles, while maintaining that speed the entire time. More importantly you can go over 311 miles on a charge even at highway speeds, which is probably longer than you'd want to go before wanting to stop for a break anyway.
We measure consumption by driving at constant speeds on an identical test route during the day. Testing is conducted with air conditioning, all safety systems and radio on. The data comes from the vehicle's board computer. Specific testing parameters such as ambient temperature are mentioned in the text on a case by case basis.
The maximum DC charging rate the EQS supports is 200 kW according to its official specs. However no matter how hard we tried we couldn't go past 175 kW. That's with a preconditioned battery, and at perfect ambient temperatures, so we are not sure what stars need to align for you to get the top speed, but it's obviously possible as Fastned's data below shows.
The peak charging difference still isn't that major since a 10-80% charge took half an hour, which is very decent. And a 10-60% is done in 20 minutes, which means you get 13 kilometers of highway range per minute.
See this Real-world charging time tool on our website.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS has to compete with some very serious models in its segment of luxury full-size sedans. It is a shrinking class, yet there's never a shortage of wealthy buyers looking a stately sedan with state-of-the-art interior and great usability, which is exactly why the EQS exists.
Its main rival comes from Munich in the face of the BMW i7. That one offers great luxury touches and industry-first features. It also looks more aggressive and offers upper-luxury elements, which were once present only in the opulent Rolls-Royce models.
The second alternative EQS buyers might want to consider is Mercedes’ own EQE. Only slightly smaller in size, the EQE offers similar space inside and almost identical styling and features. It is also significantly cheaper and more fun to drive, which may tip the scales for some buyers that don't necessarily want the statement that the EQS makes.
The Mercedes EQS is a great display of what can be achieved when you task some of the world's best engineers with optimizing the aerodynamics and efficiency of a car. The luxury sedan does so while also providing amazing driving characteristics. It has a lot of modern touches and high-tech solutions, which make living with the EQS a rewarding experience.
Yet the first-gen nature of the EQS is betrayed by a couple of major flaws, which are hard to forgive at this price point. The build quality and the ride comfort are just not fit for a vehicle of this caliber and the company that gave us the S-class should be fully aware of that.
If you can live with those you will find a lot to love about the EQS. The extremely high mileage while driving in complete silence, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This has to be the most bland-looking car in its price range, but I'm really digging the interior. Would hate to take the depreciation hit by buying new though.
It is, but nobody drives their car that way, so you'll never get that much. Still impressive numbers for 90kmh though.
Immediately scrolled to the range test. Isn't it too good to be true?