The first clean-sheet electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz is also the first to wear an AMG badge. James takes a ride into the future with the AMG EQS53
- AMG level performance
- Very clever drivetrain technology that adapts to driving modes and situations
- Impressive implementation of tech throughout
- For $350k, the augmented head-up and home wall box should be included
- Not as ‘S’ as an ‘S’ – think of it as more of an electric CLS
- Pretend performance noises are a bit naff
The best thing about an all-new flagship series Mercedes-Benz is not what that car brings the few buyers who are lucky enough to be able to afford that early adopter status, but what it means for upcoming ‘lesser’ models as the technology and features start to filter down.
This is the role of the 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53, a ground-up, clean-sheet, all-electric luxury sedan that will set the tone and tech for both Mercedes-Benz and AMG models moving forward.
Priced from $348,400 (before options and on-road costs) the EQS53 is every bit the exclusive early-adopter flagship.
It is a full-house offering too, with standard 21-inch AMG wheels and styling, a massive 56-inch Hyperscreen dashboard, and a near-total volume of ticked luxury equipment boxes.
I say near, as the excellent augmented reality head-up display is a $2690 option, which is less than one per cent of the car’s price. It’s so in line with the technology leadership position of the EQS I am surprised it wasn’t rolled in.
Powering the first electric car to wear an AMG badge (that isn’t limited to the floor mats) are a pair of electric motors, front and rear, and a 107.8kWh battery pack under the floor.
This gives the big Mercedes a 484kW and 950Nm bragging point, until of course you spend an additional $7690 for the AMG Dynamic Plus package to lift these to a staggering 560kW and 1020Nm. Just saying you have a kilonewton of torque is worth the price.
You can choose from ten colours, scale up to 22-inch rims, and even add the blackout ‘Night’ package to make your EQS your own.
It looks good, in a hypermodern blobby EV kind of way, with a wheel at each corner to maximise space, accentuating the car’s long, low profile.
To be sporty, the regular AMG air intake surrounds have been retained with the AMG Panamerica grille reduced to some slatted motifs on the aerodynamically friendly nose, and a Gurney flap lip almost untidily placed across the bootlid.
Even with this, the EQS barely exists in the air with a 0.23Cd drag coefficient, needed in order for the 2655kg car to move.
Is it a replacement for the S-Class? Not yet, but it is a precursor for what to expect from the EQE SUV next year, as well as other smaller EQ-branded models of the future.
So if you are keen to be an early adopter, and think the biggest electric Mercedes you can muster is right up your alley, then read on!
|Key details||2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS35|
|Colour of test car||Hyacinth Red Metallic|
|Options||Energizing Comfort Package – $9290
Night Package – $3990
AMG Dynamic Plus Package – $7690
Carbon brakes – $9990
MBUX Augmented Reality head up display – $2690
Home charger Wallbox – $1450
22-inch wheels – $2490
Carbon fibre trim – $2990
|Rivals||Porsche Taycan Turbo S | BMW i7|
With a wheelbase just 6mm shy of a long S-Class (3210 in EQS, 3216 in LWB S), the EQS offers plenty of room inside, for both passengers and luggage.
The liftback design affords a very generous 580-litre boot with handy cable storage under the floor. If you’re cross-shopping electric flagship fastbacks, that’s a big jump from the Porsche Taycan’s 450L.
Rear passenger room is good too, although not as premium an experience as you’ll find in a ‘real’ S-Class. While legroom and headroom are more than adequate, the latter in part due to the scalloped cavity for the rear sunroof, there are no seat position adjustments or even heating.
You can add the Energizing Comfort Pacakge for $9290, which warms up the back seat as well as adding a pair of rear infotainment screens, but like some of the other options, the bundled package feels a little cheeky at this level. Rear screens, sure… but those seats should be heated out of the box.
Passengers do score the requisite cup holder, phone holder, and armrest combo plus climate controls and vents.
This, combined with the brilliant goose-down headrest pillows and funky interior lighting do make the rear of the EQS a comfortable place to spend time.
Up front, the giant Hyperscreen almost distracts from everything else, with a sleek vent, good storage cubbies and a lower shelf all part of the EQS implementation. The interior lighting extends INTO the seat trim too, which is much cooler than it sounds.
While the majority of your interactions will be with the Hyperscreen, there are some menu shortcuts, plus volume control on a pad at the rear of the center console, and to be honest, I kept forgetting it was there.
It’s sort of outside your regular field of vision, and while I’m sure you’ll get used to it, I did look for on-screen volume controls for a full minute before realising it was by my elbow.
Materials and build quality are top-shelf, with some smart personalisation choices available by way of trim (woods and carbon fibre), and leather colours (black with grey, black with brown, light grey with brown).
Bottom line, the EQS53 is a very spacious and premium-feeling sedan, that is more at a level of a CLS than it is of an S.
|2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53|
|Boot volume||580L seats up|
Infotainment and Connectivity
Hooley dooley how long have you got?
As noted earlier, the EQS53 features a standard 56-inch Hyperscreen dashboard. More accurately though, the EQS features three LCD screens under a single 56-inch piece of glass.
Its tremendously impressive to look at and is well integrated with the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz MBUX operating system.
From left to right, the passenger screen only operates when someone is in the seat and can be set to run a screen saver when not in use. When you have a copilot, this screen can be used to manage infotainment, telephony, navigation and even to monitor the car’s impressive performance.
It’s quite easy to use on the move and makes the passenger feel more involved in the drive.
The central screen is the main activity hub, where all the car’s heating and cooling functions are accessed from, as well as the usual phone, audio and navigation functions.
We found it worked smoothly most of the time, and was also easy to use on the move.
The third-screen is the now-familiar driver information display in the instrument cluster. Like in all recent Mercedes, this is highly configurable and customisable to suit the driver.
It’s clear and easy to use, with inputs on the steering wheel used to control the functions.
There is a standard head up display, but as noted earlier all buyers should opt for the augmented reality head up which changes navigation instructions into a cutscene from an Iron Man movie. It’s an amazing system, and again showcases what the driver assistance technology of the future will be for the rest of us in due time.
This many screens and these many functions have a downside though, in that its very easy to swipe, gesture or even just bump your way into a new menu or setting. I’ve constantly found the current Mercedes-Benz steering wheel ‘touch’ controls quite fiddly and susceptible to being accidently pressed with your hands on the wheel.
Being an AMG, you have the twin shortcut dials on the steering wheel too.
You can ignore them all and use the voice assistant, which is improving all the time, and tends to work most of the time. As in the W223 S-Class, this is now able to control more functions of the car itself which includes opening the sun blinds and sun roof by command. Handy when on the move, just don’t call any of your children ‘Mercedes’ and you’ll have a nice time.
The EQS is integrated with the Mercedes-Me telephony and connectivity suite for remote access and charge monitoring too.
Being the first electric AMG, the EQS53 needed ‘something’ to make it feel more sporty (beyond that 560kW drivetrain) which comes in the format of a sound synthesisation system.
You have three settings, that emit audio of varying degrees and tones both inside and outside the car to create a bit more of a link to Affalterbach’s performance heritage.
It’s fun for a few minutes and then becomes a little silly. It will have its place on a smaller, sportier C-Sized EQ, but on a luxury limo like the EQS, part of the electric appeal is the silence, so you are better to just turn this all off.
There are plenty more gizmos and gadgets to discover as well, which we will look at in more detail when we have longer to spend with the car.
While ANCAP hasn’t tested an EQS yet, the car was tested by Euro NCAP last year and received a clear five-star rating.
While the ground-breaking rear-passenger airbags of the new S-Class haven’t carried across into the EQS, the car still has a host of safety systems which lead to a 96 per cent adult occupant and 91 per cent child occupant rating.
Naturally, the full suite of driver assistance technology is included and when utilised with the larger AR (augmented reality) head up screen, makes the EQS an amazing tourer.
We’re still at the start of the electric journey, which is why this is a $350,000 car and $100k more expensive than the 2022 S450 S-Class. The price point puts it in the same ballpark as the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, which still needs a bunch of options to be added to match the level of equipment on the Mercedes.
The EQS is bigger but the Porsche matches outputs (with 30Nm more to boot) and is faster in a straight (and probably curved) line.
Sure, you get a three-year free public charging subscription to ChargeFox, but with
585km of range and a claimed consumption cycle of between 24.3 and 21.1kWh/100km, you’ll probably just top up at home.
For note, our use shifted between 25 and 29 kWh/100km on a dynamic test loop. The type of driving and performance testing was not aligned to what we’d call regular driving, so we’ll wait until we have an EQS on a longer test to get a real understanding of efficiency.
Does all this make it good value?
Probably not, but the first of every new thing is rarely a price leader. Mercedes-Benz note there has been high interest in the car, and judging by the number of people rolling about in $400k G63 G-Wagens, value isn’t king at this end of the market.
|At a glance||2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
There’s a lot riding on this car as being the first fully electric model to wear an AMG badge. It need to perform as well as it engages, and from our short drive loop, we can say that things are looking good.
As an urban limo, the EQS53 is plush and effortless to cruise in. With all the performance settings in their comfort modes, the ride is supple and the adjustable air springs do a great job of both flattening and managing bumps.
I don’t think the 22-inch wheels add anything in terms of looks, and I didn’t drive a car with them fitted, but feel the 21-inch items will be enough for most buyers.
The rear axle can turn at up to nine-degrees for counter-steer mobility or aligned steering stability at speed. It makes the big EQS far more nimble than you would expect, and very easy to pilot about town
When supplied with a stretch of open, Federally smooth highway on our drive in Canberra, the car picks up pace swiftly and smoothly, as we have come to learn from other EVS.
Dial everything up to their most AMG though, and while you don’t get the organ-crushing sensation that the Taycan Turbo S delivers, the car is more than fast enough to put a smile on your face.
Performance is quoted at 3.8-seconds to 100km/h with the regular tune, and 3.4-seconds with the AMG Dynamic package, and while others are faster, this is fast enough.
Through some winding sections of country road, the car can gather and maintain speed very easily and in a similar way the active roll stabilisation makes a GLS63 feel like a GLC, the dynamic damping and four-wheel steering have the nearly 2.7-tonne EQS53 feeling more like a C-Class under foot.
The engineers at AMG have specifically tuned the car’s software for optimal performance. This means the instant torque delivery of both motors is where it needs to be at the level it should be at for just as long as you need it.
At a high speed limit, the AMG noises make a bit more sense, with the timbre rising as you pick up ever more speed, but again I feel these are better suited to a smaller, less limousine car.
It’s not a perfect drive, you can still sense the size and movement of the car, but the way it almost seems to understand what you are trying to do and offers you a solution at that instant, rather than waiting for an engine to rev up or a turbocharger to gather boost is yet another reason why the push to electric at this is less about environmental concerns and more about exploring the technology envelope.
You can watch the feedback screen show when each motor is activating (rear under power, front under cruise, both under dynamic conditions) and even note and adjust the level of energy recuperation as you slow or brake through turns.
There is an option ($9900) to add carbon ceramic brakes, but I don’t feel the car needs these. The regenerative system and regular four-piston callipers (up front) wash off speed well, and I’m not sure anyone will take this to the race track.
That said, low-speed pedal feel as the car shifts between regenerative and hydraulic braking takes a bit of getting used to. Initial pressure feels almost too light, but push any harder and you’ll know about it. The car is better at speed, and you do get used to this in traffic, but its worthy of note for your first time behind the wheel.
Settle back down to urban speeds, and the car again feels quiet and elegant, silently prowling the streets. It’s better like this, as a tech-limo rather than a limo-racer, but in terms of answering the call for both Mercedes and AMG, the EQS53 is a hell of a first act.
|Key details||2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53|
|Engine||Twin motor electric (permanently excited synchronous)|
|Power||484kW (560kW AMG Dynamic Plus)|
|Torque||950Nm (1020Nm AMG Dynamic Plus)|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive 4Matic+|
|Charging speed||11kW AC / 22kW AC optional / 200kW DC (max)|
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53 has quite the job to do.
It needs to mark a stake in the ground for what Mercedes can be at the upper end of the EV market, it needs to honour the performance history of AMG at the same time as it needs to start a new era of electrified excitement for the sporting brand.
It needs to show buyers of the smaller EQE and forthcoming EQE SUV what they can expect, and it must guide Mercedes toward a brave new world of luxurious, low-emission transportation.
Has it delivered, yes… but because it is a money no object solution.
Right now it’s a worthy halo for both brands, even if it isn’t the best either AMG or Mercedes-Benz have done. What it does is prove the point that all of this can be done, and for that it should be commended.
While I do feel the idea of a high-performance luxury tourer is somewhat of an oxymoron, as a big, comfortable prestige car should be silent and plush not artificially noisy and sharp, the EQS does manage both sides of the coin well enough to be a bit of both when you need it to be.
What it does best though, is tease the idea of a high performance electrified future from Affalterbach. The possibilities are near endless, and can only get better, faster and more exciting as time progresses.