Mercedes-Benz's Brave New EQS Offers Old-World Craftsmanship in the Age of Electric Cars
By: April Carson
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has long dominated the executive sedan category with an elegant and luxurious formula: seamless propulsion, understated elegance, lavish comfort. But as electric cars became more popular in recent years--even outselling their gas counterparts at times!
Mercedes knew it had to change things up if they wanted this prestigious model line stay relevant well into future generations. That’s why last year we saw them introduce the EQS first fully electric luxury car from one of automotive industry's founding houses—recognizable relation between its internal combustion engine powered stablemate yet still bold departure nonetheless.
The design is fittingly bold, though far from the prettiest bod Mercedes has produced. The battery-based architecture sitting beneath the occupants creates a low center of gravity and slants roofline to optimize slippery aerodynamics with so called “one bow” cutout that finishes in one smooth curve which makes it look like they are wearing an expensive suit or gown when viewed at certain angles. Cab forward nose carries through high waist section but then resolves into gently tapered tailgate making this vehicle cab friendly as well!
The interior features two rows where passengers can comfortably sit down while still having enough room left over below them for luggage (if you have any). Cabin is made out of recycled materials in order to reduce greenhouse gases while all seams are sewn together with the same stitches that Mercedes has been using for decades in order to get that old-time craftsmanship feel.
The self-opening doors greet the driver with a chilling sweep before shutting you in with a soft thud. In keeping with the cutting-edge design, familiar executive-sedan materials such as leather and natural-gained wood are found within the futuristic shell. However, because of the arched roof, some interior ergonomics are regulated, like the rear middle seat which is basically unusable (although it does face forward).
Despite its unrepentant digitization, the EQS nevertheless exudes a sense of well-made, old-world solidity, with a 12.3-inch virtual instrument panel, a 12.8-inch central display and an optional Hyperscreen that adds a customizable touchscreen display ahead of the front passenger.
Despite the gizmos, the EQS still has all of the kinesthetic touchpoints that make the S-Class a nearly unbeatable standard in its class. The ideal weight is revealed by just one rotation of the hefty-rimmed, leather-lined steering wheel: enough drag to suggest heft, just enough lightness to imply ease.
The dual-clutch gearbox's continuous flow of power is combined with the lackadaisically muted thrust to provide a smooth and comfortable ride. The plush head cushion gets plenty of action during acceleration, as does the plush center console. While not as insanely quick as Tesla's 1,000 horsepower Model S Plaid, the EQS coveys a sense of reassuring and in-control heft that is rare in a vehicle with floor-mounted batteries.
Mercedes says the EQS will go 310 miles on a single charge, though it hasn't provided estimates for other EVs like the Jaguar I-Pace (240 miles), Tesla Model S (D (345 mi)), or BMW i4 (118 mi). But if people aren't really driving all that much, then why bother with EVs at all? If cars like the EQS can get up to more than 200 miles on a charge (and fit into the luxury market), there might be reason for hope.
With its hefty dimensions, the vehicle's vault-like structure doesn't restrict it in most turns thanks to four-wheel steering, which assists place the large sedan with relative ease. Only when pushed hard does the car's bulk become obvious, especially on the twin-motor model, which weighs an additional 291 pounds over the front axle.
When going through tight bends or switchbacks, the nose of the car wants to point outward, and the increased steering effort needed to keep it on course can be distracting.
If this approach succeeds, it will show that legacy motor companies with decades of internal-combustion engine development can provide a sense of gravitas to the electric revolution that younger competitors frequently lack or can't do. While not the first to market, the Mercedes-Benz EQS is an effective comeback against the new generation.
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