There’s not a huge need to talk about the impending electric revolution. It’s already here, and a variety of automakers are now taking their first stab at marking territory. Mercedes-Benzis doing so with the EQS which, in theory, should offer an equivalent experience to the brilliant S-Class. Click here to read our in-depth first drive review of the EQS and subscribe to the Motor1 YouTube channel to access all of our new video content.
It’s never great to start on a weak point, but in fairness, the EQS has very few of them. Exterior design, however, makes the shortlist. This EV holds a world record for the lowest coefficient of drag of any production car on sale, but that also means it has the general shape of an egg laid on its side. The exterior cues may work for some, but there is an imposing presence projected by the S-Class that is missing in the EQS. Driving through the packed streets of San Francisco, I practically begged for someone to give this brand new Mercedes a second look, but the car garnered not a single thumbs up or wave.
I joked with a colleague that the EQS would get far more attention if it were inside out – the interior aesthetic is gorgeous, while still being forward-thinking. Every automaker feels the need to make its electric car dripping with technology, and the EQS is no exception. But for a car entering a segment with some truly creative interiors, this Mercedes still finds a way to be unique.
Immediately commanding your attention is the hyperscreen, a 56-inch single piece of bonded glass that houses three individual displays. The centerpiece is a 17.7-inch screen that serves as the car’s command center. A 12.3-inch digital cluster sits ahead of the driver, in addition to an identical-sized screen for the passenger. The entire unit is wrapped in a thin ribbon of ambient lighting and is as breathtaking as it is overwhelming. Skip to 5:18 in the video for a full breakdown of using Hyperscreen in the EQS.
I split my testing time between the single-motor EQS 450+ and the dual-motor 580 4Matic, which are the two available trims at launch. The former puts out 329 horsepower, while the latter is good for 516 hp. Unless you need the all-wheel-drive for cold weather, there isn’t a need to upgrade. Range performance is also close with only a 10-mile discrepancy between the two: the EQS 450+ will travel 350 miles and the EQS 580 4Matic 340 miles, both certified by the EPA.
Both powertrains move the big EV along with little issue; the 580’s extra power adds little to the feeling of dramatic acceleration. This car does not feel Taycan-fast, nor Tesla-fast – maybe the upcoming AMG EQS will.
But where competitors may offer quicker cars, the EQS has them all licked with on-road comfort. The chassis tuning, noise insulation, and ride quality are all class-leading by a long margin. At least for the moment, the EQS is the most luxurious-feeling EV on sale.
That last point is the best business case for buying this car over any of the aforementioned competitors. While the EQS doesn’t shatter range or performance records, it’s a well-thought-out car that feels just as nice as an S-Class… as long as you can live with the looks.