Over-the-air updates for a car sound great in theory as you gain access to better software and additional features even after purchasing the vehicle. However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows as some of these goodies are behind a paywall, sort of like the automotive equivalent of a video game's downloadable content (DLC).
If you recall, the 2022 EQS made the headlines a few weeks ago after reports emerged about Mercedes charging customers in Germany €489 to unlock the 10-degree rear-wheel steering post-purchase as an upgrade over the basic 4.5-degree setup. Daimler's flagship electric car is back in the news with another OTA-related topic, this time concerning a more frivolous feature.
Gallery: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS
The fullsize luxury sedan goes on sale today in Deutschland where it offers a series of day-one OTA updates. Chief of which is the Customization Package, which bundles several lighting animations (whenever you open and close the car) with a "Roaring Pulse" sound experience in the cabin. If the EQS is equipped with the optional passenger-side screen, the optional pack also includes a variety of minigames, such as Tetris, Sudoku, Shuffle Puck, and Pairs.
These games can also be played in multiplayer mode on the screens part of the rear-entertainment system. Mercedes is throwing in the first 12 months of access for free, but after that, it will charge EQS owners €89 (about $105). Some would argue that shouldn't be the case considering customers are already paying six figures for the electric luxobarge, with the EQS 450+ priced from €106,374 while the EQS 580 4MATIC begins at €135,529.
The Mercedes Me Store also includes two additional driving modes for €50 ($59). The Beginner Driver Mode alters the vehicle's settings so that the "driving characteristics are deliberately more gentle." It also turns off the Sport program, limits the top speed to 75 mph (120 km/h), and forces the ESP to stay on. This package also contains a Valet Mode, which is similar to Beginner Driver Mode, but it lowers the maximum speed to 50 mph (80 km/h) and restricts access to the owner's personal profile.
Another OTA update unlocks Highlight Mode, which is then activated via voice control to load up a video showing some of the car's special features, including massaging seats and ambient lighting. In the press release issued today, Mercedes confirms the DE-spec EQS will come with the option of activating the 10-degree RWS via an over-the-air update. Side note – the more advanced setup is standard in the US-spec car.
Temporary activations and subscriptions will all be available for EQS owners, allowing Mercedes to create a new revenue stream. Free trial periods are also on the agenda to show buyers what they're missing out on, and ideally, potentially luring them into paying extra for an OTA update.