The Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC takes the idea of range anxiety and chucks it out of the window. Is it, then, the perfect luxury electric vehicle?
When you are looking at a car segment that has the word ‘luxury’ prefixed to it, you better throw your sense of value out of the window. Why? Well, for one, they are essentially polar opposites. So, in keeping with this advice, when I drove the Mercedes Benz EQS 580 4MATIC, I decided not to think about its ₹1.55 crore (ex-showroom) price tag. Instead, I focused on two questions – how is it as an electric, and can it really be linked to the S Class in any way possible? I had 24 hours with the car, and here’s what I found out.
It’s a Spec Sheet to Drive
I don’t mean this in a negative sense, but if you look at the spec sheet of the EQS and imagine what it would be like to drive, you wouldn’t be too off the mark. Now, electric vehicles have a notorious reputation for not being able to match up the on-paper range. According to ARAI, the EQS can do 857kms on a single charge – something to think about, isn’t it? Well, I am not saying that we got close to that number, but when I picked up the car from my office, it was at around 90 per cent charge and displayed a range of more than 650kms. And by the time we got done with it 24 hours later, it was at 62 per cent charge, with a range of around 330kms still left. For the first time in my life, while shooting an EV, I didn’t have to use my limited mathematical knowledge to figure out if it would be possible to find the next charging station before running out of charge. Honestly, it was a refreshing experience.
In terms of drive experience, the EQS doesn’t feel overtly fast like most electric cars – nor is it too docile. Merc has done a good job of tuning the throttle response, which means that you can easily extract the right amount of torque from the electric motor with very little effort from your right foot. Don’t get me wrong, the EQS has that instant burst of torque when you floor the throttle from a standstill, but post 100km/h, the insanity of the acceleration…well, let’s say that it becomes less insane. You still, however, see the speedometer rush towards the 200 mark. Overall, it’s not a gut-wrenching experience, but it can still make you think about one.
The three drive modes – Eco, Comfort, and Sport – do exactly what their names suggest. While Eco doesn’t sap power, you can feel a discernible difference, as you go up the modes, in how the throttle reacts to your inputs. In the limited time we had with the car, we didn’t see a considerable drop, or increase for that matter, in the range in any of the three modes. The driving modes also alter the steering, suspension, and ESP tune. The ride quality, irrespective of the mode you are in, can only be called comfortable, and in Eco and Comfort mode, it’s outrightly plush.
The one aspect of the EQS that, I think, has room for improvement is the brakes. Under normal application, they work extremely well, although the Collision Avoidance system, which automatically applies the brakes, should be better turned off in India. The problem, however, begins when you brake hard at high triple-digit speeds. In one instance, I found my brakes emitting smoke and had to drive around a couple of kilometres to stop them from catching fire. But mind you, I was driving at around 150km/h on a closed-off road. Now, Mercedes-Benz engineers have done a good job of masking its more than 2.5-tonne kerb weight, but ultimately, physics catches up with you. During braking, you feel the full weight of the car on the front axle, and that’s what led to all the drama of smoke emitting from the brakes.
The EQS 580 reserves most of its drama for the tech side of things. There is not a single button on the dashboard! Instead, you get three screens – one for the instrument cluster, one for the infotainment system, and the third for the front passenger. At night, the cabin of the EQS transforms into a symphony of lights, and the multi-coloured ambient lighting considerably adds to the overall effect. You can hardly fault these screens – the touch response is superb, the clarity is like that of a 4K display, and the menus are laid out quite ergonomically. The only problem – if I must point out one – is that the top-left corner of the central screen is a little too far from the driver. That’s it!
Okay, so to answer the first question, the EQS 580 4MATIC is an excellent electric car. The range is enough for more than 90 per cent of driving scenarios, and it’s comfortable, refined, and offers a superb driving experience. As for my second question, the EQS still has some catching up to do with the S-Class. In terms of technological advancements, yes, it’s following in the footsteps of the ‘S’, but in terms of opulence, it’s still behind the latter. The space at the back is great, but the seats are too small. To put it simply, they don’t feel like business class seats of an aircraft. However, all of that aside, as a stand-alone car, the EQS 580 4MATIC is one hell of a machine, with only one real caveat – you would need a big enough heart to handle all of its belly scrapes, which are aplenty even with the self-raising air suspension.
- Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 4MATIC
Motors: Twin Synchronous Motors (PSM)
Battery: 107.8kWh Lithium-ion
Transmission: Single-Speed / All-Wheel Drive
Range: 857kms (claimed)
Price: ₹1.55 Crore (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: The EQS stands out with its cabin ambience, especially at night, primarily because of its triple-screen setup.