And it’s sooooo good.
Can you charge up your electric car and your adrenaline all in one go? The mission of the Mercedes-AMG EQS electric car is to deliver luxury and style along with peak sport performance. But can this 4 door 5 passenger luxury sedan live up to the challenge?
Driving should be a fully immersive emotional experience, one that Mercedes-AMG is known for in its gas cars with hand built high-horsepower engines. But with the oncoming electric driving era, Mercedes-AMG engineers have designed their first all-electric model to punctuate the emotional aspect, producing “100% emotions and 0% emissions.” Their challenge was to create such an authentic drive performance that you forget you are in an electric car.
The AMG team put their design and engineering to work in the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, as is typical for the performance unit of Mercedes-Benz, which adds race-worthy specs to the company’s most popular sedans and SUVs. Released earlier this year to rave reviews, the uber-luxe EQS sedan is bullet shaped and superbly outfitted, with every detail intended to propel you into the future.
The AMG EQS enters the rarified electric space where there are few competitors. And the EQS is the only one that can truly accommodate 5 passengers comfortably; its competitors may be similarly sized and have 4 doors, but their cabins are more compact and the rear seats are smaller. Despite the size of the AMG EQS, it definitely hits the mark in performance driving: the AMG EQS is finely tuned, perfectly connecting the driver to the road. The car’s two electric motors produce a powerful output of 658 HP (standard package) and up to 761 HP (AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package). Numbers don’t lie, so let’s get right to them.
Can You Put Numbers on an Emotional Experience?
How a car performs can create an indelible emotion memory. And while we have come to think of performance in terms of ignition and high octane, if we remove the octane and replace it with electricity to achieve even more performance, the emotion is even more pure; the drive experience is instantaneous and direct between the car and the driver. And then consider what the car is not producing–emissions–and the emotional response can be even more powerful. This is the AMG EQS by the numbers:
- 0% Emissions
- 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds
- 1 pedal driving option
- 2 electric motors (front axle and rear axle)
- 4Matic+ fully variable all wheel drive system
- 5 drive modes
- 9-degree rear axle steering (yes, the rear wheels also steer)
- 19 minutes of charge time for 188 miles of distance
- 277 miles range fully charged
- 400 Volt Battery
- 658-761 horsepower (depending on package and drive mode)
- 752-1020 pounds of torque (depending on package and drive mode)
- Emotional impact: 100%
Pricing will be announced in early 2022, but we expect the emotion of this drive experience will come with an equally emotion-invoking MSRP. The Mercedes-Benz EQS–which also delivers an emotion-inducing performance experience–has a starting price of $102,000; and competitors such as the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron have top prices at or near $150,000. We’ll update pricing when it’s announced.
Individualize Your Driving Mode…and Mood
The thrill of the Mercedes-AMG EQS is the ability to individualize your drive mode to suit the road conditions and your personal preferences, all at the touch of a fingertip. The five modes are: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual.
Comfort Mode is a good place to start, producing a smooth drive for every day normal conditions. The first thing I noticed and “felt” in Comfort Mode was how well the car read the road, and I could sense the connection all the way through to my hands on the wheel. It was a reassuring feeling. The Mercedes-AMG intuitively gripped the road without me having to white-knuckle grip the wheel. I basically began driving and she whispered to me “Relax, I’ve got this.”
But that’s only the beginning. At her core, the Mercedes-AMG EQS is designed for performance driving, so there are two options, Sport and Sport+. Click to Sport mode, and the awareness that you are driving a spacious sedan melts away, as tighter steering, turning and braking kick in. Need to quickly switch lanes or accelerate in a passing lane? No issue here. “Just do it’” she commands, “we’ve got this.”
In Sport+ Mode, which removes traction control, the Mercedes-AMG EQS maximizes the hands-on thrill of performance driving and proclaims loudly, “now YOU’ve got this!” Pedal to the floor, 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, and I’m off with confidence and competence, feeling at one with the road, the tires, the steering wheel, the brakes, even the battery. Truly, it’s a fully charged electric adrenaline rush.
The Drive Experience: “100% Emotions, 0% Emissions”
The engineers at Mercedes-AMG consider that the sound of a vehicle is a significant factor in emotional impression, and that legacy would not end with the introduction of a fully electric version of AMG. So to this end, they hired a team including cinematic sound engineers and developed a sound system using special loudspeakers, shakers and a sound generator. “Balanced, “Sport,” and “Powerful” are the mode choices here. Rather than the quiet hum of driving an electric vehicle, you are immersed in a surround sound digital experience. I found this to be too much simulation and stimulation, like I was driving in a video game, or riding on a futuristic space attraction at a theme park. While I recorded some of the audio, it is best experienced by clicking the Start/Stop button at the Mercedes-AMG website.
Distinctive Mercedes-AMG features Inside and Out
The aerodynamic seamless exterior is markedly AMG, featuring a black panel grille with chrome vertical struts, and the signature AMG A-Wing design. But the interior features are most notable and noteworthy. Here’s what grabbed me:
- Literally, the seats. The side bolsters are adjustable to squeeze tighter for curvy mountain roads (or race tracks). And they come with a massage menu. As a passenger, it was a great comfort for me to feel hugged as the car hugged the road.
- Visually, the hyperscreen that stretches all the way across the dash. Three display panels with all kinds of navigation, battery status, range, performance, climate and comfort options to explore. And music, of course.
- Aesthetically, the customizable accent lighting. Choose the color with a fingertip slide of a button, and even opt to have the lighting sync with sound.
- The steering wheel – covered in leather with aluminum paddles and standard AMG steering wheel buttons.
How does the Mercedes-AMG EQS compare with Mercedes Benz EQS 450?
Since I recently reviewed the 2022 Mercedes Benz EQS 450+ Luxury sedan, I was already familiar with many features, like the hyperscreen. While the hyperscreen is an additional option for the Mercedes Benz EQS, it comes standard in the Mercedes-AMG EQS. Both models have the glorious customizable accent lighting (which this girl can’t get enough of). Both are spacious all-electric luxury sedans, but the drive was distinctly sharper and less cumbersome in the Mercedes-AMG. The vehicle felt lighter all around, and definitely handled with more precision and sporty performance. This would explain the lower drive range of 277 miles on a full charge in the Mercedes-AMG EQS, while the Mercedes Benz EQS 450+ has an impressive fully-charged driving range of 360 miles. I managed to improve efficiency in the latter, but watched the charge go down like a tank of gas in the Mercedes-AMG EQS. I attribute that to being swept up in emotional thrill of high performance driving in a fully electric vehicle. Driving the Mercedes-AMG EQS was worth every kilowatt.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Mercedes-Benz for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions, and emotions, are my own.