The all-new EQS is hugely significant as Mercedes-Benz’s new flagship luxury saloon and the first model based on its Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) platform.
The German manufacturer’s first three EQ electric models (the EQC SUV, EQV MPV and EQA crossover) use adapted versions of conventional platforms, making the EQS the first ground-up Mercedes EV.
The EQS has an extremely long wheelbase of 3200mm, making it more commodious than even the S-Class, helped by a near-flat floor without a central transmission tunnel. It is impressively lavish, too, with high-grade materials and excellent build quality fully befitting the EQS’s upmarket positioning.
It has a new driveline featuring AC synchronous motors from Bosch. Buyers will have two options: a 329bhp single-motor, rear-wheel drive set-up in the EQS 400 or a 516bhp dual-motor, four-wheel- drive set-up in the EQS 580. Our prototype ride comes in the more powerful model.
The EQS majestically glides away, feeling every bit as stately as an S-Class from the broad expanse of the passenger seat.
It’s the overall strength of performance that makes an impression, offering fleet- footed qualities despite its generous size and kerb weight that’s “well beyond 2500kg”.
The EQS 580’s rear motor is responsible for the majority of its propulsion. With up to 611lb ft of torque, step-off is on par with the top four-door AMG models, and it keeps building with intense acceleration until we’re past the 100mph mark. Mercedes isn’t making any official claims yet, but expect a sub-5.0sec 0-62mph time. Top speed is limited to 131mph.
There are four driving modes: Electric, Comfort, Sport and Individual. The first allows for one-pedal driving with adjustable energy recuperation. Enzmann says that the EQS can harvest up to 293kW of energy from a good nudge of the brakes.
Similar to that used by the S-Class, the standard Airmatic suspension has three-channel plungers at each corner and a self-levelling feature. At speed, the ride height is reduced to boost aerodynamic efficiency.
Also in line with the S-Class, EQS buyers can add one of two all-wheel-steering systems, which offer 4.5deg and 10deg of rear-steering assistance. From the passenger seat, the EQS feels unusually agile for such a big and heavy car. There is a degree of body roll, but movement is progressive even when the driver pushes hard in tightening corners.
Most impressive are the grip and traction, aided by the Torque Shift function that balances drive between the axles faster than Mercedes’ mechanical system can.
Enzmann claims that the EQS is unparalleled in terms of refinement, and we wouldn’t argue: it’s whisper-quiet and exceptionally well settled, with the slippery shape contributing to extremely low levels of wind buffeting at high speeds. The suspension delivers impressive absorption: you feel impacts but don’t hear them. And on the 265/40-profile 21in winter tyres worn by our prototype, road noise is terrifically well suppressed.