Decoding names and numbers have become my second nature with the advent of acronyms such as AMG, M, RS, 63, etc.. You get the drift! So, the name on this boot lid reads EQ signifying all-electric, S being the S-Class of Mercedes car portfolio, and 53 referring to AMG’s 2nd tier performance lineup (not the full fat 63 series). And what it means to us is – it is the first bespoke electric Mercedes, not simply a battery-stuffed version of existing Mercedes underpinnings like the EQC or the upcoming EQB.
An all-new S-Class-sized luxury saloon riding on a new platform big enough to contain a massive 107.8kWh battery between its wheels. It’s Mercedes heaviest (at 2.6 tonnes), fluid-est (a low drag of 0.23 Cd) and luxury-limo (wheelbase of 3210 mm) answer to the sportier alternatives such as the Tesla Model S (which isn’t here yet) and the Porsche Taycan with a claimed range between 529-586km on a full charge as per the WLTP test cycle. The EQS 53 is also Merc’s first performance EV to wear the prized AMG badge, and AMG going electric is a huge step change which I still have to get my head around, probably because the brand has been synonymous with rumbling V8s for so long.
And despite being just a 53, it has more power than any AMG this side of an AMG GT Black Series. 761bhp and 1020Nm of torque that can propel this heavy-weight from standstill to the century mark in just 3.4 seconds with an 80% minimum battery charge! So is the S-Class of EV compromising on the comfort and luxury quotient while getting all performance oriented. Driving it here in India will surely get me all the answers.
Interiors & Technology of the EQS 53 4MATIC+
The interior recipe is made of screens, screens and more screens! They call it the ‘Hyperscreen’ – a 55-inch long gorilla glass façade covering the entire width of the dash – its mind-blowing to see this in a production car executed in such a glam way containing enough processors to run a mini ISRO rocket launch programme.
Two are 12.3-inch screens, one as the instrument cluster & the other a touch display for the co-passenger’s entertainment. The central MacBook Pro size 17.7 in screen is where-in lies the (permanently rendered) A/C controls, a home button which defaults to the huge 3D map and a set of widgets that change order depending on what you happen to use most often – the seat massager, for instance. The ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command seems more responsive in this avatar as well. It also features AMG-specific augmented noise profiles – a driving sound that is inspired by the Tron movie saga that can be addictive but nowhere close to the crackles and pops of combustion-fuelled real AMGs.
And yes, the EQS 53 knows where you’re looking. There are some 350 sensors in the EQS measuring your attention level, what you’re touching, and where you’re looking. Case in point: the side mirrors. You don’t have to press a button to select Left or Right before adjusting them. Just look at the mirror you want to dip, prod the adjustment toggle, and the mirror shall follow your inputs. Telepathy also is part of the EV revolution.
Amongst the sea of hyper screens, I found a few things to complain about. The touch capacitive controls on the left side of steering wheel make it difficult to find the perfect volume, while the cruise control “buttons” on the right side require a learning curve because they’re so clustered together; the touch-capacitive seat controls on the door panels also seem to be needlessly complicated to operate. The rest of the cabin is simply exquisite on the EQS 53. Running a dark theme of black and grey given its sporty intention, Real metal and unpolished wood meet with soft leather. The turbine air vents would grace a hypercar, and the animated ambient lighting is nothing short of disco. At night, it’s a true cyberpunk experience.
At the back, though you start to realise where the original S-Class trumps on rear passenger comfort and pampering. Apart from nestling into the pillow-show headrests with the lack of disturbance from the outside world (Its cabin is isolated with noise-cancelling technology), the EQS misses out on sun-blinds, rear massage functions and even extended thigh support. Being a hatchback, cargo area access is easier than the saloon S-Class, boasting of 610L of boot space and split folding rear seats. Visibility is commendable besides the enormous front pillars. Oh, and there’s no bonnet latch as there’s no front boot here. In fact, the clamshell nose is entirely sealed for better aerodynamics – so you top up the washer fluid via a pop-out gutter on the car’s flanks.
Exteriors of the EQS 53 4MATIC+
Born electric and eye-catchy are the words that strike after one hard look at the EQS. At over 5.2m in length and an exaggerated wheelbase of 3210 mm with staggering 21-in AMG style wheels breaks the conventional proportions of rear-wheel drive models from the Merc stable. The sharp gloss black grille angles upward to integrate with the headlights, and numerous illuminated star logos within the “grille” further help the EQS stand out, especially at night. The AMG-inspired Panamericana vertical slats add little performance value, and gone are fake tailpipe ends, now replaced by fake diffusers. The ribbon-style rear light is quite attractive, although as a whole, it simply stands out in a sea of non-electric limousines.
As you can see from the not-at-all traditional cab-forward shape, it’s also one of the world’s slipperiest production cars, with a 0.23 aerodynamic drag coefficient. Up to 9 degrees of rear-wheel steering gives the EQS the manoeuvrability of an A-Class and superlative high-speed stability. The EQS 53 is the AMG-derived version of the standard and less sporty EQS 580 that will available as an assembled-in-India model starting September 2022. That should come equipped with 20-in wheels and a whole lot more elegance.
Driving the EQS 53 4MATIC+
This is a performance battery-electric sedan, producing 761hp with the AMG Dynamic PLUS package and 1020Nm of torque by two permanent-synchronous electric motors, that purrs voraciously fast. A thrustful-seat ploughing launch off the line to a 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds (with 80% battery charge) and the augmented space-age sounds as the speeds build makes one heady combination.
Factor in a 107.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 2,600+ kg weight, and suddenly it’s almost crazy to say the EQS 53 is lightning fast with only a Taycan coming close. It’s sportier, so more firmly suspended, but the damping is still good, on smooth roads it’s placid and calm. The 21-inch wheels and 275-width EV custom-made tyres don’t have the sidewall necessary to soak up punishment on our bombed rain roads. It feels slightly unsettled, which makes you aware of how much mass it’s trying to keep under control.
Steering and chassis are harmonious and fairly engaging. 4Matic+ allows 100% of the power to be sent to the rear wheels, which does help to put all that monstrous torque on the tarmac without losing control. Overall, EQS 53 not as low, tight and agile as a Taycan but a more comfortable and limo-oriented option to anything else available. With up to 589km of range on a single charge, the EQS 53 bests the Taycan, and almost comes close to the BMW i4 electric. It has one of the highest capacity batteries on offer, and if you can find a 200kW charging station, a 20-80% juice up will just take 19 minutes. A 22kw wall box charger will be provided as part of the standard package.
Verdict: A State-of-the-Art ‘Statement’
The Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 stands at the epitome of Mercedes India’s EV portfolio and is currently only available in this fully imported AMG 53 guise at a mind-boggling Rs 2.45 crore (ex-showroom) at launch; and that’s super-car rivalling prices but with space, performance & practicality of a gran-tourer. The locally assembled model in India – the EQS580 – is due to be launched in September ‘22. which should really take S-class luxury electric motoring to a wider audience with slightly more sensible pricing, but still would be closer to the 2 crore rupees mark.
Having said that, the EQS 53 just blows the competition out of the park when it comes to technology. The| gorgeous hyper screen combined with lounge-y Interior styling inspired by some of the world’s best-designed homes – and this sense of wow & desirability will simply impress your friends and yourself alike. It’s very different in nature to a Porsche Taycan and the closest we would get to a Tesla Model S in performance on our roads. Mercedes also will provide attractively priced service packages, a 30k kms or 2-year service interval, as well as an 8+2 year battery warranty. There’s free of cost charging as well at their own showrooms for the first year! Still, it’s hard to predict – if this will be the world’s best luxury sedan yet – like its fossil-fuelled counterpart – the mighty S-Class, but it definitely is Mercedes’s most powerful and sexiest charge (you get it right) forward in that direction!
Specifications of the EQS 53 4MATIC+
Engine/Motor – 2 PSM Motors
Power – 761bhp
Torque – 1020Nm
Range – 589 kilometres (Claimed)
Price – Rs 2.45 Crore (ex-showroom, India)
FOR – Cabin design, Exceptionally long-range, Futuristic looks, Augmented sounds
AGAINST – Massive screens can be distracting, Expensive