Merc’s ground-breaking new SUV revealed

The German brand has revealed its most important model yet, which is packed with eye-popping hi-tech features.

More aerodynamic than any previous production car and able to drive further than any other EV on sale today, the EQS is a momentous machine from Mercedes-Benz. Aided by its record-setting low-drag shape, this large and luxurious car can cover up to 770km before its battery pack needs recharging.

While Mercedes-Benz is telling the world what the EQS will be able to do, it’s not yet showing the world what it looks like without camouflage cladding. An online reveal event is scheduled for 15 April.

Pricing of the EQS in Europe will be announced in June, and deliveries will begin there soon afterwards. It will reach Australia very late this year or very early in 2022 … and it will be expensive.

The EQS is the EV equivalent of the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s top-of-the-range luxury limousine with a price list that currently opens at $240,000. Though Mercedes-Benz Australia isn’t saying how much the EQS will cost, expect it to be more than that. Maybe much more.

The EQS will naturally come equipped with all of Mercedes-Benz’s most advanced technology. It’s the first model to feature the company’s visually stunning MBUX Hyperscreen, for example. It combines the driver’s instruments, a big central screen and a passenger display behind a single piece of glass running the width of the cabin.

The big screen was front and centre during a recent virtual ride in the EQS organised by Mercedes-Benz. For this coronavirus-safe preview the interior was equipped with multiple cameras and a microphone, and then driven around Stuttgart while streaming everything that was happening to my laptop at home.

The head EQS testing engineer doing the driving talked about its technical highlights and answered questions. Frank Wundrak starts with the basics. The EQS is a very long five-seat hatchback with a spacious interior and large cargo compartment.

“Now we are sitting in the EQS 450 Plus,” he says. “It’s the rear-wheel drive car. It has an output power of 245kW and a maximum torque of 550Nm.”

There will also be a dual-motor model with all-wheel-drive, called EQS 580, available from launch. Its maximum power and torque stats are 385kW and 800Nm.

Both have a massive Mercedes-Benz-made 108kWh battery pack, though the company plans to offer a smaller pack as an alternative sometime in the future. “We will have another battery, with 90kWh, which will come later,” Wundrak adds.

The engineer confirmed that the EQS driving range champion is the 450 Plus he’s in. This wheels of this model are a special low-drag design, so it’s also the aero record-setter with a Cd of 0.20.

“With the big battery we have a range up to 770km,” he says of the 450 Plus. This is over 100km more than the best any current Tesla can claim, measured using the same WLTP test standard.

“I’m sure your family will need a toilet stop before the EQS needs a recharging stop.”

Those stops won’t need to be too long, either. Wundrak says the EQS is able to take advantage of the latest generation DC fast chargers. “We can charge up to 300km in 15 minutes, so even if you need a charging stop you are quite fast back on the road.”

The EQS uses basically the same air-suspension system as the plush-riding S-Class, but in the EV it’s been set up differently. “Our aim was not the floating style of an S-Class.” He also says the EQS is quieter than all the other Mercedes-Benz EVs, including the virtually silent EQC that’s already sold in Australia.

Mostly, though, Wundrak spends his drive discussing the advantages of complicated things like the EQS’s intelligent energy recuperation mode, standard rear-wheel steering and over-the-air software updates.

We get the point. The EQS is a very advanced car. But it’s more than that. “It’s the first model which is based on the new Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle architecture,” Wundrak says. “We call it EVA.”

The company has already confirmed EVA will be used as the basis for three more all-new models; one car and two SUVs. They will be the EV equivalents of the familiar E-Class, GLE and GLS. “And of course there could be more,” the engineer adds.

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