What Car? says...
It’s not just potential buyers of the Mercedes EQS who should be interested in reading this review, but rather every prospective Mercedes buyer for the next decade or more.
You see, S-badged Mercedes cars have always previewed dazzling new technology that will later filter down to cheaper models in the company's line-up – and the EQS luxury electric car continues that tradition.
In addition, while the EQA, EQB, EQC and EQV are also fully electric, they sit on modified underpinnings of petrol and diesel-engined Mercs, whereas the EQS (like the Mercedes EQE and the Mercedes EQS SUV) is bespoke.
The EQS, then, is both a taste of the future and – in theory, at least – an example of what Mercedes engineers can do when they build a car without making any compromises.
Two variants are available at the moment. The EQS 450+ produces 328bhp and has an official range of more than 450 miles between charges. The more powerful EQS AMG 53 gets a whopping 649bhp for truly impressive performance, but its range is more modest.
Buyers of the 450+ can choose from five trims: AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Plus, Luxury and Exclusive Luxury. Meanwhile, the AMG 53 comes in Night Edition and Touring guises.
Over the course of this review, we’ll look at what you get with each of those trims, plus we’ll rate the EQS in all the important areas and reveal how it compares with other high-end electric cars, including the Audi e-tron GT, the BMW i7 and the Porsche Taycan.
And, remember, before you buy any new car, be sure to check out the deals available through our free What Car? New Car Deals pages. It could save you thousands of pounds without the hassle of haggling, and features lots of new electric car deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
As is the norm with electric cars the Mercedes EQS delivers near-instant acceleration when you put your foot down, but it doesn’t quite push you back into your seat like an Audi e-tron GT, a BMW i7 or a Porsche Taycan. Where the base models of those cars will hit 62mph from rest in around five seconds, the 450+ EQS takes 6.2sec. That's respectable, but not scintillating.
If you do want to be scintillated, take a look at the AMG 53, which delivers supercar-rivalling performance, with 0-62mph in 3.8sec. Even in Comfort mode, with just one its front motor pulling you forwards, it feels sprightly, but in Sport or Sport+ mode, with both motors in action, acceleration is truly savage.
While the EQS has plenty of grip in the bends, its steering is inconsistently weighted, the brakes are nonlinear and even the AMG 53 can’t shrug off its considerable weight in the way the e-tron GT and the Taycan do. This is a car that feels most at home cruising in a straight line.
At motorway speeds, wind, road and electric motor noise are kept to a minimum, and you can talk quietly and your passengers will hear you clearly. And in a city, this enormous luxury car is more manoeuvrable than you'd expect thanks to the standard four-wheel steering. The back wheels can turn by up to 4.5 degrees on entry-level AMG Line trim and 10 degrees on higher-spec models.
Ride comfort is where the EQS stumbles. Its soft suspension is comfortable on a smooth motorway, but around town it lacks control, thumping and pinging off potholes and expansion joints. The i7 is simply in another league when it comes to smoothing out rough surfaces, as is a conventional Mercedes S-Class.
As for electric range, the 450+ version's official figure is more than 450 miles, while the i7 can ‘only’ manage 387 miles and the Taycan is limited to around 300 miles with its biggest battery option. The EQS AMG 53 has a very respectable 357-mile official range.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The Mercedes EQS gets an electrically adjustable driver’s seat as standard (including four-way lumbar adjustment) and a steering wheel that powers in and out, as well as up and down. Handily, the seat and wheel have memory functions to make it easy to restore your preferred settings if someone else drives the car.
Despite all that, the driving position isn’t as good as the one in the Mercedes S-Class. You sit closer to the floor in the EQS, which means your knees are higher relative to your hips, and your legs get less support from the seat base. Indeed, some of our testers suffered from cramp after an hour or so behind the wheel.
Visibility could be better too, with the EQS’s swoopy roofline and steeply raked windscreen pillars causing some issues. Fortunately, that's mitigated by the presence of front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera. A blind-spot monitoring system is included as standard too.
Directly in front of the driver, there’s a 12.3in digital instrument panel that’s clear, easy to read and able to display a wide variety of information. It would be even more user-friendly if the control pads on the steering wheel were a little less sensitive. They allow you to switch between menus and control many of the car’s functions, but are too easy to hit accidentally.
Almost everything else is operated using a large, portrait-oriented touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard (it's pretty much identical to the one in the S-Class).
The menus are fairly easy to use after a bit of practice, and the system includes augmented reality sat-nav (where the direction arrows appear to be on the road), and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. You get a voice control system that’s designed to recognise natural commands, although it can be a bit hit and miss.
For more wow factor you can upgrade the infotainment system to what Mercedes calls the Hyperscreen. This expensive option combines three screens spanning the dashboard – the driver’s instrument panel, a larger 17.7in central infotainment touchscreen and a secondary, 12.3in touchscreen in front of the passenger.
When combined with the optional Mercedes Me service, Hyperscreen allows the driver and front passenger to be logged into different profiles, and allowing the passenger to use the internet, arrange their personal calendar or adjust certain car settings. To help minimise distractions to the driver, the passenger screen only switches on when the EQS detects someone sitting in the seat – the rest of the time it appears as a decorative clock.
Hyperscreen doesn’t fix the issue of the EQS having no physical buttons or dials to adjust the climate control and other settings, which is fiddlier than it could be. The layout results in the driver’s instrument panel being positioned at an awkward angle, so the steering wheel obstructs the top section of the screen if it’s set too low.
The infotainment in the BMW i7 is far less distracting to use because of its physical rotary control dial.
The interior of the EQS is rather glamorous thanks to the big screens, piano-black trim and ambient lighting, but it doesn’t as well screwed together as you'd hope. The drive mode selectors on the steering wheel wobble when pushed, the window switches don’t feel particularly well damped and the ambient lighting row on the doors and dashboard of our press car don’t line up correctly. The i7 feels better made inside.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Mercedes EQS is a big, wide car, and that translates into generous space upfront, despite its swoopy roofline. While it’s roomier in the rear than the Audi e-tron GT and the Porsche Taycan it’s not as relaxing as the Mercedes S-Class or BMW i7 to travel in the back of, because the EQS’s standard rear seats place you in an oddly upright position.
Mercedes does offer an optional Rear Seat Comfort Package, which brings individually reclining seats with a wide range of massage programmes. However, the bases are still rather short and lacking in support.
The EQS has a hatchback-style tailgate, which makes it easier to load up with bulky luggage than the e-tron GT, the S-Class, the i7 or the Taycan. The boot is a useful shape, and its 610-litre capacity gives you 60 litres more volume than the S-Class, and far more than the e-tron GT and Taycan boots.
We can’t imagine many people will use their EQS for trips to Ikea or the local recycling centre, but if you do have such duties in mind, you’ll be pleased to know that the rear seat backs fold down in a versatile 40/20/40 split.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The EQS is significantly more expensive than the conventionally powered Mercedes S-Class so you’ll have to cover an awful lot of miles for it to pay off financially as a private buy.
On the other hand, company car drivers can massively reduce their company car tax bill by choosing an electric car. Plus, the EQS is exempt from the London Congestion Charge, and will still be able to chauffeur people into city centres long after petrol rivals have been banned.
As a bonus, all EQS models come with a year’s worth of free rapid charging at Ionity stations, although these are nowhere near as widespread as Tesla’s Superchargers.
The 450+ and AMG 53 models both have a battery capacity of around 108kWh and can be charged at a maximum rate of 200kW, so they can be topped up from 10-80% in as little as 31 minutes. A 7.4kW home wallbox will take their batteries from 10-100% in 15 hours 30 minutes.
While there are seven EQS trims to choose from (five for the 450+ and two for the AMG 53) we’d recommend sticking with the cheapest model, the 450+AMG Line. It comes with a long list of features, including 20in alloy wheels, a panoramic glass sunroof, keyless entry and start, heated front and rear seats, and ambient interior lighting with a choice of 64 colours.
Standard driver aids include automatic emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, in addition to the blind-spot monitoring system and rear-view camera. What’s more, the EQS is one of the safest cars yet tested by Euro NCAP – not only receiving its maximum five-star rating, but also scoring more than 90% for adult and child occupant protection.
On the other hand, Mercedes didn’t perform particularly well in our 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey – finishing joint 23rd with Vauxhall out of 32 brands. However, it's worth noting that the EQS was too new to be included.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
The EQS is available with two power outputs in the UK: the 450+ model produces 328bhp, while the AMG 53 almost doubles that to 649bhp. You can buy either through a What Car? approved dealer by visiting our free New Car Deals service.
Even the cheapest EQS (the 450+ AMG Line) costs more than £100,000. You get a lot of equipment for your money, including a rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring, heated front and rear seats, and electric driver's seat and steering wheel adjustment.
As standard, the EQS comes with a portrait-orientated touchscreen, but that can be upgraded to the optional Hyperscreen. It comprises three separate screens that cover nearly a quarter of a metre squared of the dashboard.
The EQS will take about 15 and a half hours to charge from 10-100% using a 7.4kW home wallbox. It is capable of much quicker charging, though – if you can find a fast enough public charger it will take as little as 31 minutes to go from 10-80%.
|RRP price range||£105,610 - £170,855|
|Number of trims (see all)||5|
|Number of engines (see all)||3|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||electric|
|Available doors options||4|
|Warranty||3 years / No mileage cap|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£211 / £342|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£422 / £683|