Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ Review: The Space Pod From The Three Pointed Star
If you imagine the era of the Jetsons, the shape of something like the EQS would fit in rather nicely in the scene.
Its slippery, unconventional pod-like shape is a daring step out of convention for Mercedes-Benz, and is a resounding success at that. It focuses on broad sculpted surfaces, reduced joints and seamless transitions, looking quite like nothing out there. It is infinitely modern, sleek and firmly from the future.
Likewise, befitting today’s trends, the EQS is produced in a carbon-neutral manner, including the use of resource-saving materials where possible (carpets are made from recycled yarn). The EQS is the first model to be based on a modular architecture that will be rolled out for other Mercedes-EQ BEVs. We’ve already seen the EQE saloon, and if we had one complaint it would be that it looks too similar to the EQS.
Its interior is breathtaking at first glance with its airy atmosphere, but look a little closer and some of the materials disappoint. Missing from the EQS 450+ is the jaw-dropping MBUX Hyperscreen, which brings down the cutting-edge ambience by a notch. In place of it is a large swathe of plastic with little Mercedes logos that apparently have been diamond cut into it. In my opinion, it’s as if Mercedes gave you a little punishment for not choosing the expensive Hyperscreen.
One really appreciated feature is the standard-fit HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which updates real-time via MBUX exactly how clean the car is inside the car (and how pollutive the car is outside). It really fits the minimalist, almost sanitised feel to the interior.
As day descends into night, the EQS’ interior truly comes into its own. With a flat-floored, open plan interior that is free from any constraints of a conventional ICE drivetrain, Mercedes had the chance to test limits of the imagination with its packaging and lighting. The result is nothing short of staggering. With the excellent Burmester sound system belting out evening jazz, it was like cruising to the moon while inside the EQS. When parked, the interior is lit up bright like in a living room, a welcome change from the dark and drab environment we’ve seen in other luxury cars.
I guess part of the spaceship sensation is also down to the whisper quiet refinement. Back-to-back with an S-Class, I think the EQS is even quieter. With a Cd value of 0.20, making the EQS the most aerodynamic production car in the world, this is believable.
Behind the wheel, the EQS is competent to drive, its low centre of gravity masking its size and weight around corners. There is rarely a situation where one would crave for all-wheel drive in the EQS, which already possesses prodigious amounts of grip as a rear-driven vehicle. What helps the car feel a lot smaller than it really is, is the rear axle steering which comes as standard. It allows a steering angle to the rear wheels of up to 4.5 degrees, while angles of up to 10 degrees can be ordered OTA, if you ever desire more agility.
The drivetrain also gives strong performance (329 hp and 568 Nm) and the range is frankly generous. There is really no need for any more power and the 450+ could be a sweet spot in the range, considering range as well.
Testing out the car as the all-important passenger, the ride comfort provided by the standard air suspension is good for rear passengers but even better for front occupants, strangely. Perhaps the rear seats are not quite what you may expect of a car in the Sonderklasse. Headroom is average, but it feels more cramped in there due to the sloping roofline, which is somewhat CLS-like. The seats themselves seem to be too shallow to support one’s body fully and offer limited adjustments. There are also no vanity mirrors for the last minute make-up session for gala ball attendees. Nonetheless, it still feels like a luxurious place to be. Perhaps a long wheelbase version would appease more discerning passengers?
One thing the EQS got really right is its boot. Although it looks like a bona fide saloon, it actually has a liftback which enhances practicality a fair bit. Loading items is a cinch, offering a breadth of usability that previously wasn’t quite offered in this class.
Speaking about practicality, the EQS450+ has a claimed WLTP range of 780 km. Easily surpassing a real world range of 600 km on our test drive, it is mightily impressive and affirms the grand touring potential of the EQS. It’s not a figure often seen in the current crop of BEVs in the market. The car comes equipped with a new generation of batteries with significantly higher energy density, which is managed by in-house battery management software that can be updated over-the-air (OTA).
Overall, the EQS is immensely appealing and offers a rich glimpse of what’s to come from Mercedes in the BEV world. We’re really excited.
Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club