Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ 2022 Review : First Klasse
Singapore - Mercedes-Benz’s venerable Sonderklasse has been the brand's flagship vehicle since it was incepted in the Mercedes range decades ago. Through the generations, S-Class has been the recipient of the latest and greatest of technological improvements from Mercedes-Benz. Some of which include the brand’s AIRMATIC air suspension, cylinder deactivation, curtain airbags and Mercedes’ COMAND system.
But we are now on the cusp of a paradigm shift in the automotive industry. The reign of the fossil fuelled era is quickly being superseded by the dawn of electric propulsion. It’s a point that we’ve repeated before, but one that we’ll continue to do so for the foreseeable future. In light of this shift, Mercedes-EQ now has a new electric flagship coming in the form of the EQS.
The Mercedes-EQ family isn’t new to us. We’ve tested the EQC (both locally and abroad), we sampled the EQA SUV earlier last year and we’ll be getting some seat time behind the wheel of the 7-seater EQB SUV in time to come.
(Click here to read our review of the Mercedes EQB 350)
But while all the aforementioned cars are SUVs built atop existing platforms that accommodate both ICE and electric drivetrains, the Mercedes-EQ EQS is built atop the brand's new EVA platform. A platform built specifically for Mercedes’ electrified models. One that will underpin the EQE sedan, the EQS SUV and a number of electrified models in the brand’s lineup.
Stands to reason then, that the EQS will be the model that gets the shiniest bells and loudest whistles within the Mercedes fleet. So naturally, we’d come to expect great things from the brand’s electric S-Class equivalent.
Mercedes-Benz's Neue Sonderklasse, so to speak.
Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ Review - Sure looks polarising
Truth be told, calling the EQS 450+ an electric S-Class is a bit of an oversimplification. Both in terms of tech, and the looks of the car alone.
It looks unlike any other vehicle in Mercedes’ extensive portfolio. Unlike any other road-going production vehicle in Singapore for that matter. It’s a massive deviation from the more traditional Sonderklasse and it defies the norms of what a traditional three-box sedan should be with its aero optimised, low-drag teardrop-shaped shell.
Because of its unique cab-forward four-door coupe shell, shallow nose, sleek exterior panels and tapered keister, the EQS 450+ has a remarkably low drag coefficient of just Cd 0.20. That makes this the most aerodynamic production car available in Singapore. But it retains many Mercedes cues that hark back to its lineage.
The three dots in the DRLs echo the ones you’d find in the S-Class. It also has a light bar spanning the front and rear fascia like the rest of the Mercedes-EQ model range. The black panel “grille” is littered with dozens of Mercedes stars and houses the sensors for the driver assistance systems. While not in use, the door handles retract into the body to stay flush with the car’s contours. In true coupe four-door fashion, it also has frameless windows, like the Mercedes CLS.
Our test car was resplendent in the AMG Line package, which came with 21-inch multi-spoked rims and a multitude of gloss black inserts that give it a mild dash of aggression. But as pretty as the AMG embellishments are, it’s still a polarising vehicle that attracts heaps of attention and curious glances.
Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ Review - Plush Discotheque
Step into the plush cabin and we’re back in more familiar Mercedes territory. That’s W223 Mercedes S-Class territory, in case you’re wondering. Like the W223, it shares the same 12.8-inch portrait oriented screen with a strip of haptic MBUX controls on the bottom and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. A similar interior setup as we’ve seen in the S 450 L and more recently in the W206 C-Class.
Keen-eyed readers may notice that this EQS 450+ doesn’t have the massive Hyperscreen triple display panel across the dash. That isn’t a standard feature but the EQS 450+ can be optioned with it. Should you choose to tick that option box, it’ll set you back just a smidge over S$38,000.
Even without the jaw-dropping Hyperscreen, the EQS has its own share of theatric flair. The cabin is wired with ambient lighting elements that surround the dashboard, the front and rear door cards, the footwells and even the seat backs. It truly is quite a spectacle, and it’s all customisable based on the driver's (or passenger’s) tastes with seemingly endless variations.
Such is the extent of the ambient lighting that if you’d just picked up an inebriated passenger from a discotheque, they may not even know the difference.
The wrap-around cockpit also sees a dash panel that’s also punctuated with Mercedes stars (that are illuminated), a continuous copper-hued insert that spans the width of the cabin and appears to extend all the way to the palatial rear seats. And I do mean palatial because the rear footwell is absolutely massive. It's a benefit of the car’s EV architecture, one that Mercedes has worked to its advantage.
Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ Review - What lies beneath
The EQS 450+ has a 107.8kWh battery pack (identical to the more powerful EQS 53), but it has a quoted range of up to 762km under the WLTP test cycle. Official specs put the car’s combined efficiency figures at 18.3kWh/100km. However in practice, I managed an average of 17.3kWh/100km over the course of a day’s driving, so I’m inclined to believe that 762km is possible if you hypermile it.
Tucked under the 610-litre boot lies an electric motor that produces 333 horsepower and 565Nm of torque, which is enough to propel this 2,480kg limo from 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds. Flat out, this EQS 450+ tops out at 210km/h.
As standard, the EQS also comes with rear-axle steering that skews the rear wheels up to 4.5-degrees so it turns on a dime while you’re navigating through narrow city streets. At lower speeds, it is disarmingly agile. I’ve been in much smaller vehicles that are less agile than this 5.2m long luxobarge. But get on the highway and it’s a driving experience altogether.
Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ Review - Exceptionally Quiet Saloon
Typically, we would associate sound with speed. I’ve had my fair share of driving silent EVs that boast staggering torque figures, so moving quickly while hearing bugger all tends to be a little disconcerting and in some instances, nauseating. However, driving the EQS 450+ is an entirely different story altogether.
Tromp your foot on the throttle and you’re whisked away gently as you gather momentum and pick up speed. Even in the car’s sportiest drive mode, the acceleration forces are languid and linear. Our test car's Burmester sound system also grants it two sound profiles (Mercedes calls these profiles 'Silver Wave' and 'Vivid Flux') to quell the silence if that isn't your thing.
Driving the EQS is more soothing than it is scintillating, and it’s a testament to how well an electric drivetrain works in this particular application. Coupled with the well insulated cabin and near-silent drivetrain, it’s an immensely quiet ride. The only sounds that permeate the cabin is the hum from the rear motor and a faint murmur of tyre noise.
You aren’t shoved back into your seat even as the power is dispensed indiscriminately. The car doesn’t pitch side to side as you navigate a bend and you’re not jostled by road imperfections thanks to the well-damped AIRMATIC air suspension system. You simply waft along the roads, almost as if the suspension components have been dipped in honey.
Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+ Review - First Class Motoring
At the time of writing, the EQS 450+ starts just shy of S$540,000, which is a considerable sum. But that being said, when we’re dealing with the likes of the EQS, CLS 53 or even the regular S-Class, price is hardly a sore subject for prospective buyers.
Often, they aren’t encumbered by fluctuating COE prices or VES penalties. They’re not the sort of buyers to shy away from markups over sticker prices or gripe about the options list. It’s more a case of they want it, they get it.
And for the money, there isn’t anything quite like the EQS 450+. This is one of the few instances where an EV drivetrain makes perfect sense. It affords you the silence and refinement that can’t be matched by an ICE powertrain. It demonstrates what future generations of first-class luxury motoring can, and will inevitably be.
It is truly in a class of its own. First Klasse motoring, if you will.
PHOTOS Jay Tee
Mercedes-EQ EQS 450+
Battery 107.8kWh, Li-Ion, 400V
Electric Motor 333hp/565 Nm
Electric Range up to 762km (WLTP)
Top Speed 210km/h (electronically limited)
LxWxH 5223 x 1926 x 1512mm
Efficiency 18.3kWh/100km (Combined)