Meet the S-Class of electric vehicles: the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS has been officially unveiled, ahead of its Australian launch in December 2021.
The new EQS will slot into the top of Mercedes-Benz's passenger car and all-electric EQ line-ups (for now), with aerodynamic concept-inspired styling, a widescreen dashboard and a flexible electric architecture that allow it to shape up as the German brand's rival to the large electric sedan pioneer, the Tesla Model S.
We've elected to split the story up into components – see the subtitles below to read about the elements of the new EQS of interest to you.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS powertrain and range
Riding on Mercedes-Benz's new Electric Vehicle Architecture, two EQS variants will be available at launch: the rear-wheel-drive EQS 450+, and the all-paw EQS 580 4Matic.
A single 'eATS' electric motor assembly on the rear axle powers the entry-level 450+ model, sending 245kW and 568Nm to the road for a 6.2-second 0-100km/h sprint time, and a 210km/h electronically-limited top speed.
Meanwhile, the flagship 580 4Matic adds another electric motor on the front axle, combining to send 385kW and 855Nm to all four wheels for a 4.3-second 0-100km/h dash and an identical 210km/h top speed limiter.
A Torque Shift torque-vectoring system helps spread power across the front and rear axles as needed, up to 10,000 times per minute – though its capabilities won't be fully realised until the arrival of the 560kW AMG EQS later in 2021.
Buyers have a choice of 90kWh or 107.8kWh lithium-ion battery packs, the latter enabling a maximum driving range on Europe's WLTP cycle of up to 770 kilometres (though which variant achieves it isn't clear).
Mercedes' claim makes the EQS the second longest-range electric vehicle on the market, beaten only by the upcoming Tesla Model S Plaid Plus's 837km claim – though the Tesla's rating remains the car maker's own estimation, and has yet to be verified against official WLTP standards in Europe.
The range claim isn't extracted from any normal lithium-ion battery, either, with the EQS debuting a new generation of batteries for Mercedes-Benz with "significantly higher" energy density, minimal use of cobalt (for sustainability purposes) and new battery management software developed in-house, with over-the-air updates.
A unique cooling system with water-cooled motor rotors helps extract driving range, as do more efficient permanent-magnet electric motors.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS charging
While it might lack the 800-volt system employed by the rival Porsche Taycan, the EQS's 400-volt electrical architecture still enables DC fast charging at up to 200kW, for a 10 to 80 per cent charge in as little as 31 minutes (at a 500-amp-plus station).
Up to 300km of range can be added with just 15 minutes of charging – though only on the 450+ variant, with the 580 4Matic allowing up to 280 additional kilometres over the same period.
An 11kW AC onboard charger is standard-fit, with a 22kW unit available as an option – the latter cutting the former's 10 to 100 per cent charge time in half, from 10 to 5 hours.
The high-capacity batteries can also be topped up through regenerative braking, with the system offering up to 290kW of charging capacity in all-wheel-drive models, and three intensity settings capable of one-pedal driving around town.
Bi-directional vehicle-to-grid charging will be available for Japanese customers.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS exterior
Despite wearing Mercedes-Benz's hallowed 'S' name, the EQS wears bespoke bodywork versus the new-generation S-Class limousine unveiled in September 2020, with a look inspired by the Vision EQS concept of 2019.
Up front, Mercedes-Benz EQ's trademark 'Black Panel' faux grille features, incorporating an LED daytime-running light strip across the fascia, along with sensors for the active safety and autonomous driving systems.
It's flanked by slim LED headlights, available with the same Digital Light technology offered in the S-Class, featuring 1.3 million pixels each capable of projecting road markings, warning symbols or other graphics directly onto the road surface.
Along the side, frameless doors form part of what Mercedes-Benz calls a "one-bow line", with an arching roof and cab-forward proportions inspired by the 2019 concept car.
Flush door handles shared with the S-Class feature, as does a service flap for refilling wiper fluid on the front left quarter, allowing the bonnet to be opened only by a specialist workshop as necessary to fit air filters and other replacement parts.
At the rear, a full-width LED tail-light bar (a design trait among EQ-branded models) sits below a tailgate lip spoiler, with the rear-view camera hidden behind the Mercedes-Benz logo.
Buyers in Europe can choose from standard, AMG Line and Electric Art exterior design packages, adding unique front and rear bumpers, side skirts, grille patterns and alloy wheel designs, the latter available in 19-, 20- or 21-inch sizes.
The pop-out handles, cab-forward styling and 19-inch alloy wheels are key to achieving a drag coefficient of 0.20 – making the limo the most aerodynamic series-production, non-low-volume car ever built.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS interior
Headlining the EQS cabin experience is the widely-reported MBUX Hyperscreen, a 1410-millimetre wide dashboard panel incorporating three digital displays: a 12.3-inch instrument cluster, 17.7-inch central touchscreen, and a 12.3-inch passenger display.
Available as an optional extra, power and memory for the Hyperscreen comes from 24 gigabytes of RAM, eight CPU cores, and 46.4GBs of memory bandwidth, joined by a "multi-function" camera and a light sensor used to vary screen brightness depending on the lighting conditions.
Entry-level models get a more conventional set-up, with a portrait infotainment screen and freestanding infotainment screen shared with the S-Class.
The system runs the latest iteration of Mercedes-Benz's MBUX infotainment system, now incorporating upgraded artificial intelligence to tailor the home screen (known as the 'zero layer') based on the driver's location, behaviour and habits, to suggest over 20 different vehicle functions and applications.
A total of 12 actuators in the 'Hyperscreen' provide haptic feedback, transmitted through a single-piece glass panel curved in three dimensions at around 650 degrees Celsius to prevent distortion and reduce reflections. Over-the-air updates are supported, while drivers can pick from one of three infotainment colour schemes.
The satellite navigation system provides occupants details on charging locations, prices and speeds, and can calculate the energy required to reach a selected destination based on topography, route, temperature, speed, climate control settings and more.
Making up for the lack of combustion engine noise is a pair of 'soundscapes', Silver Waves and Silver Flux, which produce 'aura' sounds when entering or exiting the vehicle, and emit driving sounds when on the move that are tied to throttle position, speed or energy recuperation levels.
A PM2.5 HEPA cabin filter traps high percentages of dust and microparticles entering the cabin, while a range of interior fragrances are available, including a No.6 Mood Linen fragrance designed specifically for the EQS.
It's joined by an advanced dual- or quad-zone climate control system, which captures wasted energy from the electric powertrain to heat the cabin, and allows each passenger to set their preferred climate control settings within one of seven individual passenger profiles.
Buyers can pick from Comfort or Sport seat designs, along with up to eight interior colour combinations, and an array of leather, wood and metallic trim inlay options depending on the design package selected (standard, AMG Line or Electric Art).
Available interior features include a 710-watt, 15-speaker Burmester sound system, an augmented-reality head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, two 11.6-inch displays for rear-seat occupants, a rear centre console tablet, the MBUX Interior Assistant function debuted in the S-Class, and the Energising Comfort wellness system.
There's also steering wheel heating, a 190-LED 64-colour active ambient lighting system, the Hey Mercedes voice assistant, and Rolls-Royce-like automatic front and rear doors.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS dimensions and chassis
The Mercedes-Benz EQS measures 5216mm long, 1926mm wide and 1512mm high in European markets – 37mm longer, 28mm narrower and 9mm taller than a short-wheelbase S-Class. It tips the scales in at 2480kg in rear-drive guise, or 2585kg for the flagship EQS 580 4Matic.
A range of chassis control systems are on offer – many shared with the S-Class – including standard-fit active air suspension, capable of lowering the ride height at speeds over 120km/h to reduce air resistance and increase range.
It also includes a front-axle lift function, that's able to raise the front-end to help clear speed bumps or steep driveways.
The vehicle offers up to 4.5 degrees of rear-wheel steering as standard, with buyers able to option a 10-degree system derived from the S-Class, the latter enabling a turning circle of just 10.9 metres – on par with many small hatchbacks.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS safety and autonomous technology
Available driver assistance features include adaptive cruise control with in-built navigation data, lane-keep assist (from 60 to 250km/h), lane-centring assist (active from low speeds, up to 210km/h), traffic-sign recognition with support for roadworks, lane-change assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
There's also Active Emergency Stop Assist with lane-change support (which safely stops the vehicle is the driver is detected to be incapacitated), driver attention monitoring, autonomous emergency braking with cross-traffic intersection support, safe exit warning, and evasive steering assist.
No fewer than three park assist systems are available, the most advanced of which can navigate the car autonomously through multi-storey car parks and park itself in or remove itself from a space, all with the driver standing far away in a predetermined drop-off/pick-up bay.
Should you choose to park your EQS yourself, you'll find the 360-degree camera system features a rendered 3D view, four cameras and 12 ultrasound sensors.
It's the EQS's autonomous capabilities that really tick the wow-factor boxes, with the car's Drive Pilot system enabling Level Three semi-autonomous driving at up to 60km/h from the first half of 2022 – albeit only on certain sections of German freeway, and only in heavy traffic, where a driver can quickly respond if the Level Three system forces them to retake control.
The wide active safety suite is joined by an array of passive safety measures, including a high-voltage battery disconnect system in the case of an accident, a low-speed sound generator to notify pedestrians of the vehicle's presence, and a fleet of airbags including seatbelt, rear side and centre airbags.
When will the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS come to Australia?
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS will go on sale in Australia in December 2021, with local pricing and specifications to be announced closer to launch.
Production will occur at Mercedes-Benz's advanced Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, Germany.