New 2021 Mercedes EQS electric limousine makes its debut

The new all-electric Mercedes EQS limo boasts incredible tech and up to 478 miles of range

This is the new Mercedes EQS - a zero emissions, all-electric alternative to the brand’s S-Class limousine. There will be two models available from launch: badged EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4MATIC.

As with the introduction of the latest S-Class, Mercedes is using the reveal of the EQS as a launchpad for advanced new technologies – including the brand’s new 55.5-inch Hyperscreen infotainment system and Level 3 “eyes-off” autonomous driver assistance tech.

Mercedes says the EQS marks the debut of its next generation of battery technology, with significantly more energy density than other electric models in the line-up, including the EQC and EQA SUVs.

The modular battery system means packs with either 90 or 107.8kWh of usable energy will be available, Both EQS versions will be available with the larger 107.8kWh lithium-ion unit that will offer a maximum of 478 miles of range on a full charge.

The 400-volt electronic architecture offers up to 200kW DC rapid charge capability, so a 10 to 80 per cent charge in both versions with the 107.8kWh battery will take just 31 minutes, with up to 173 miles of range added in as little as 15 minutes on the more powerful EQS 580 4MATIC. This rises to 186 miles in 15 minutes for the EQS 450+.

An 11kW AC on-board charger is standard, with buyers able to option a more powerful 22kW unit. Using an AC charging post at these respective feeds a top-up from 10 per cent to full on both cars takes 10 and five hours respectively.

The EQS offers three different charging programmes: Standard, Home and Work, where features such as departure time, air-conditioning settings and maximum charge level can be pre-set.

There’s also a function called Eco charging, which reduces the load on the battery during top-ups to improve longevity. The battery’s charge state can be reduced to a pre-set limit, while charging can be delayed depending on departure time to take advantage of off-peak electricity, for example.

Power and performance

Mercedes has announced performance details for both the EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4MATIC, although more variants are in the pipeline.

The base EQS 450+ is rear-wheel drive and offers 329bhp and 568Nm of torque. At 2,480kg with the larger battery it’s certainly not lightweight, but this total output is enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds.

The EQS 580 4MATIC offers a twin-motor set-up giving four-wheel drive, as the name suggests. Combined, these motors offer a total of 516bhp and 855Nm of torque, dropping the 0-62mph time to 4.3 seconds. Both cars are limited to a top speed of 130mph.

Mercedes has confirmed that it is working on a high-performance EQS AMG model with up to 751bhp on offer, following the recent announcement that AMG will develop new hybrid and electric cars.

Chassis and technology

The EQS is the first car to use Mercedes’ new modular electric architecture platform for large electric vehicles, called EVA. Like its EQS and EQA SUVs – which are actually based on adapted version of combustion-engined vehicle platforms – the battery in the EQS is housed in the floor between the axles.

The chassis uses a four-link suspension set-up at the front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear, which Mercedes says is closely related to the S-Class in its design.

Adaptive air suspension is standard, with the system’s parameters adjusted depending on the drive mode selected – there’s a choice of Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. The car’s ride height will also drop at speeds above 74mph to improve the EQS’s aerodynamic efficiency, increasing range.

Four-wheel steering is also fitted as standard boost the agility of this 5.21-metre long limousine. The rear wheels can turn up to 4.5 degrees as standard – or by as much as 10 degrees as an option – to help improve manoeuvrability at low speed and stability at higher speed on the motorway.

With the standard 4.5-degree rear-axle steering set-up the EQS offers a turning circle of 10.9 metres, which is similar to some superminis. The more extreme 10-degree rear-axle steering set-up can be unlocked via on over-the-air software update.

Other clever functions include automatic door opening. When the driver approaches the car the door handles will first slide out of their recesses, opening automatically. Users can also open the rear doors from the new MBUX infotainment system, with this tech part of the Premium Plus Package.

Interior, practicality and infotainment

The design of the interior centres around the 55.5-inch Hyperscreen MBUX infotainment system, which combines three separate displays.

The first is a 12.3-inch driver display that shows info on speed and other driving data, the second 17.7-inch central display is for the main media and infotainment controls, while the third 12.3-inch unit is mounted on the passenger’s side of the dash.

Hyperscreen is actually an optional extra, but the two interactive panels do provide haptic feedback to the touch, while the screen uses OLED tech and adapts the display brightness depending on light conditions.

Hyperscreen majors on artificial intelligence. For example, the EQS knows when a passenger is sat in the front seat and will change the display to a digital image. The system also adapts to user behaviour and will suggest the right functions at the right times thanks to “context-sensitive awareness” with a “zero-layer” system that means users don’t have to scroll through menus and sub-menus to find the function they want. 

Most inputs centre on the sat-nav, audio and Bluetooth functions, with the nav (which can schedule a route based on charging stations) always in the centre of the main display unit. However, Mercedes’ software engineers have grouped more than 20 other functions into what the brand calls “Magic Modules.”

This set-up can therefore suggest pulling in at a frequently used charging station when you’re passing and range is low, or suggest calling a contact that a user would usually phone on a given day of the week at a given time.

The “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant is even more advanced and can now be operated from the rear of the car in the EQS too.

Of course, as a large saloon there’s plenty of entertainment for rear-seat passengers. The MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment Plus package comprises a pair of 11.6-inch displays, with the option to share screen content across the car.

Back-seat passengers can also adjust functions such as the sat-nav, while a tablet that can also be used away from the car is optionally available. 

Of course, there’ll be plenty of connectivity on offer too, with over-the-air software updates (including for the battery management software) available that will also allow owners to unlock or upgrade features digitally. This includes different soundscapes Mercedes has created as an acoustic soundtrack to the driving experience.

The new electric-only underpinnings mean an extremely long wheelbase relative to the length of the car, maximising space inside. Rear-seat passengers should be well catered for when it comes to legroom, while the saloon boot reveals 610 litres of load space that rises to 1,770 litres with the seats folded down.

Safety and driver assistance systems

Given how many safety systems the brand’s S-Class flagship has ushered in over the years, it’s no surprise that the EQS offers many innovations and systems to protect occupants.

The list of driver assistance systems includes: adaptive cruise control that’s reactive to speed limits and the level of charge in the battery, accelerating more gently if there’s less energy on offer. 

Active Steering Assist keeps the car in your lane on the motorway with subtle steering intervention at up to 74mph.

Active Lane Change Assist helps the driver to change lanes if the system detects the adjacent lane is empty and the road markings allow the manoeuvre.

Attention Assist monitors driver behaviour and suggests taking a break if it senses a change in your driving, while Active Brake assist with cross traffic function automatically applies the brakes to help avoid or mitigate the impacts of a collision.

Active Blind Spot Assist is self-explanatory, while exit warning will let you know if you’re about to side swipe a bicycle that’s on your inside. Evasive Steering Assist will boost your inputs to help avoid a collision, too. There’s also all manner of park assist tech, including Intelligent Park Pilot, that will allow the car to park itself automatically in car parks with the right infrastructure. 

The clever automatic doors mentioned above also have obstacle detection, so won’t open into the path of a car or bicycle approaching from behind, for example. 

However, the big tech advance for the EQS is Mercedes’ Drive Pilot system, which will allow Level 3 “eyes-off” self-driving at speeds up to 37mph – think slow moving motorway traffic.

Mercedes claims the system “relieves the burden on drivers and allows them to carry out secondary activities” where legal, such as surfing the internet, making more effective use of their time.

The Drive Pilot system can even deal with different traffic situations on its own without input from the driver. However, it’s only going to be legal in Germany to begin with.

Design and sustainability

Like the rest of the EQ range, although the EQS is Mercedes’ first electric saloon car it too features a prominent ‘black panel’ at the front of the car.

This gives the EQS its family resemblance to the other EQ models, and with much less cooling needed for an EV also helps to achieve an incredibly low drag coefficient of just 0.2Cd (a world record, according to Mercedes), helping boost aerodynamic efficiency and range.

The long, arcing “one bow” roof and cab forward stance make the most of the new underpinnings to maximise space inside, with the architecture allowing a flat floor to house the battery.

It’s a simple, smooth look with clever lighting tech that helps boost safety too, while the coupe-like rear end features tail-lights with a curved, 3D helix design.

There are different specifications for the outside of the car which means customers can personalise the look of the EQS. The different trims modify the front and rear aprons, side sills and alloy wheels, which range from 19 to 22 inches.

Efficiency and sustainability are at the core of any electric car and Mercedes claims that 80kg of material in the EQS is made from recycled or renewable raw materials to help reduce the car’s carbon footprint. It’s just one area of a number of different fields – including battery sourcing and production methods and techniques – that Mercedes is optimising to reduce the EQS’s environmental impact from start to finish.

A HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is available as part of the optional Energizing Air Control Plus package that cleans the cabin air of certain harmful gases and helps protect occupants from some viruses and harmful bacteria.

Pricing and on-sale date

Mercedes hasn’t revealed pricing for the EQS just yet, but given that the combustion-engined S-Class starts from just under £80,000 in standard wheelbase form, we’d expect the EQS to start from closer to £100,000 given the technology on board when it goes on sale in the UK.

What are the electric cars with the longest range? Click here for our list of the top 10...

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