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2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS preview: Beyond Model S and S-Class, a new luxury EV benchmark?

First seen as the 2019 Vision EQS concept of the same name that heralded the model, the EQS essentially rethinks the S-Class as all-electric. Key rivals will include the Tesla Model S Plaid, Lucid Air, and Porsche Taycan. 

The EQS is likely to outshine any of those models in what has traditionally mattered to those who buy high-end Mercedes-Benz models: luxury, and all the exclusive, detail-oriented features that establish the look, the feel, the sound, and even the smell of a luxury car. 

Saturday the German automaker revealed many of the details that will make this electric sedan as much a feast for the senses as the S-Class—with an interior look that wows, a Hyperscreen interface that combines minimalism with advanced tech, special soundscapes, top-notch air filtration, and even aromatherapy. 

Cab-forward—with one bow, please

Although the interior of the EQS clearly takes cues from the S-Class, the exterior follows a completely new direction that hasn’t been led by traditional long-hood internal-combustion layouts. Built on Mercedes’ platform for large electric vehicles, the EQS follows cab-forward proportions and has a “one-bow” design, with the wheels pushed outward for a strong stance. 

Mercedes-Benz EQS interior

The EQS will be the debut model for a new Hyperscreen system that incorporates AI and seven different user profiles and has been described as “both the brain and nervous system of the car.” essentially makes the dash one continuous display space. 

The finely detailed, turbine-like round vents are the analog, serving as a counterpoint to the digital expanse that occupies the rest of the dash—although we should note that not all versions of the EQS will include the Hyperscreen and based on a few first glimpses, the interior might look better without it. With a wide range of matching or contrasting materials, from warm and traditional to stark and futuristic, you’ll be able to choose which side of that to embrace through the cabin. 

The right touch, sound, and smell

The EQS has not one but potentially three different soundscapes to fit those different expectations. Silver Waves is “sensuous and clean,” while Vivid Flux is “crystalline, synthetic yet humanly warm.” A third one, called Roaring Pulse is “reminiscent of powerful machines, creating a sonorous and extroverted feel.” Or if you’re like many electric vehicle fans, you’ll prefer simply to turn the supplemental sounds off. 

Mercedes-Benz EQS interior

Mercedes-Benz EQS interior

Mercedes-Benz says it will likely offer more of these soundscapes, which aren’t just wav files but fully developed algorithms. According to Mercedes sound designer Thomas Küppers, the team considered just one sound profile for the EQS, but in doing so it would end up with a really bad compromise.

The EQS also purifies the cabin environment with an activated-charcoal HEPA filter removing 99.65% of particles, including PM2.5 and smaller, and captures a high percentage of viruses and bacteria. There’s also optional fragrance, and an audio library with “energizing nature” programs including ocean waves and bird sounds. 

Smooth. Very smooth.

Stepping back outside, the one-bow design gives the EQS a sweet spot with a unique profile and plenty of interior space. It also helps enable a coefficient of drag of just 0.20—which, Mercedes says, will make it the most aerodynamic production car in the world.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS prototype

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS prototype

Compared to the S-Class and other sedans, the front end has been shortened and the greenhouse has been extended. A clamshell hood helps keep the look of the front of the car seamless, while a line that stretches the full length of the cabin helps visually lower it. 

Mercedes-Benz has given the EQS a grille—a star-pattern grille—and it strongly believed it needs that for cosmetics. “It’s a face,” said exterior designer Robert Lesnik. “We believe every car needs a face, an expression.”

Range, performance, and charging: All as of yet unreleased

The EQS needs to be a lot more than a pretty face and a great luxury car, of course, for those who want to be seen as superior to the Plaids of the neighborhood. Performance counts tremendously, charging is very important, and range is everything.

And for Mercedes-Benz, which owned 9% of Tesla earlier last decade, turned to Tesla for the only other electric car it has sold in the U.S., and likely turned down opportunities to develop a true luxury-car derivative of the Model S, this is pivotal moment in showing whether it can produce a new benchmark in the EV era.

With the range of the Tesla Model S currently starting at 412 miles, and the Model S Plaid and Lucid Air Grand Touring both at more than 500 miles of EPA range, the EQS can’t afford to arrive with much less than 400 miles of U.S. range. 

Teaser for 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS debuting on April 15, 2021

Teaser for 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS debuting on April 15, 2021

It’s going to be close. Mercedes-Benz announced earlier in the week that it has started building the top 108-kwh battery packs that are expected to be fitted with cells from China’s CATL, enabling a target range of more than 435 miles on the WLTP cycle that’s always more optimistic.

The EQS is expected to get 350-kw DC fast-charging, permitting an 80% charge of the big pack in less than 30 minutes. Mercedes hasn’t yet said anything more about the EQS’s performance. The concept form accelerated to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. 

There’s much yet to be detailed about the EQS, which is due for a debut on April 15. 

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