- I drove the Mercedes-Benz challenger to the Tesla Model S.
- The six-figure EQS offers impressive range, flashy technology and a plush interior fit for royalty.
- Mercedes lent me a well-optioned EQS 580 that came in at $141,000.
Mercedes-Benz has seen the success of Elon Musk. And that’s enough.
The German brand recently launched the EQS, a luxury electric sedan that takes direct aim at Tesla’s long-running Model S. I recently rode a $141,000 EQS 580, the top dog in the EQS line. And while I loved its plush interior and extra-long reach, it also has a few flaws.
Pros: Super luxurious interior
Lock yourself into the EQS and you’re instantly isolated from the chaotic outside world. Its plush seats, premium finishes, ambient lighting, and solid build quality all combine to create a sleek interior that makes you wonder: Is Goldman hiring?
You don’t need to lift a finger in the EQS, which essentially serves as your personal butler. Ask him to activate your massaging seat, and he dutifully complies.
Advantage: Comfortable and silky-smooth ride
Even inexpensive electric cars are quite quiet and smooth to drive compared to typical gas-powered vehicles. But the EQS is a cut above. It glides over the road like a hovercraft, completely oblivious to bumps and cracks in the pavement.
Disadvantage: weird and soft brakes
Like all electric vehicles, the EQS slows down when you release the accelerator using regenerative braking, a process that captures energy from a car’s motors and transmits it to its battery. But Mercedes hasn’t quite nailed the interaction between regeneration and the brake pedal.
Stopping the car, especially on short notice, can be nerve-wracking, as you often have to stomp harder and further than intended.
Advantage: rear wheel steering
The EQS is a big car, but it doesn’t act like one. This is thanks to a steering system integrated into the rear wheels which helps it make tighter turns.
It’s actually so effective that it caught me completely off guard the first time I saw it rolling around in a parking lot. With the optional upgraded rear-wheel steering assembly, my EQS 580 swerved into parking spots like a Fiat.
Advantage: Autonomy adapted to road trips
If you’re spending $100,000+ on an electric car, it better offer what EV buyers crave most: range. The all-wheel-drive EQS 580 offers a generous 340 miles of range, according to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency. The rear-drive EQS 450+ promises up to 350. (That base model costs just over $100,000.)
Pros: Lots of flashy tech, if you like that
The EQS is a tech heaven, with not one, not two, but three separate screens up front if you select the optional “Hyperscreen” add-on. Go to four if you count the head-up display, which projects important driving information such as speed and turn-by-turn directions onto the windscreen. That’s five, including the tablet that rear passengers get as part of the “Executive Rear Seating” package.
As you approach a turn, a forward-facing camera view appears with a blue arrow indicating where to turn or which exit to take. And on the highway, Mercedes’ advanced cruise control quickly changes lanes when you flick the turn signal.
There’s even a fingerprint reader that customers can use to access their preferred ride settings.
Cons: Lots of distracting tech, if you’re not as into it
The more tech-averse may find all those colorful screens – and the lack of regular buttons – a bit too much to handle.
Disadvantage: No front trunk
The EQS has plenty of space in the back, but if you’re buying an electric car hoping to have a front trunk as well, look elsewhere. Competitors like the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan put extra storage up front where an engine would normally be.
But in the Mercedes, your bric-a-brac will have to go in the trunk.
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